The military update on the war in Ukraine: Russians short on men and tactics, is Putin looking for a way out?

Of Andrea Marinelli and Guido Olimpio

The stalled battle, the huge losses, the enormous costs. The Russians seem to be in a race against time. According to some analyzes, the Kremlin is looking for a way out that will allow it to declare victory and place the responsibility for the conflict on the West. Work on a draft agreement in 15 points

The next 10 days of war will be decisive, and the Russians are aware of it. In an analysis published by the Center for European Policy Analysis, former American general Ben Hodges tries to do the count of forces in the field in relation to the advance of Putin’s men and he believes that the Russian General Staff is aware of running against time: the army short of men and ammunition, the unexpected Ukrainian resistance – in addition to causing large losses – has blown the plans and forced to disperse the units. It does not seem that reinforcements are arriving from the motherland: the Pentagon has at least not reported any troop movements – not even Belarusian ones, because Lukashenko would be afraid of internal reactions – while British intelligence supports the opposite. According to London, Moscow is bringing in soldiers from other regionsIncluding the Far East: some units would have left during the night from the base of Tskhinvali, in South Ossetia, and through the Roki tunnel they would have headed first to Russia and then to Ukraine.

The latest news on the war in Ukraine

The weaknesses of the Russian army

Putin said Wednesday that everything is going well

. He counts on the power of his war machine, on the tactics of the choking boa. The Army should not be underestimated. The feeling, however, that the contingent deployed is not sufficient and above all that the great army of 900,000 men is not as massive as it was believed: this would also explain the request for help from the Chinese, the recourse to the Chechens and the appeal to the 16,000 Syrian militiamen (the Americans are cautious about the presence of the latter, they speak of very few cases). Also because, on the other side, the Russians have failed to cut the resistance supply lines and weapons continue to arrive from the Westas Joe Biden announced while President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the American Congress: the opposition cannot last indefinitely, but it is more motivated and so far has not allowed us to achieve significant goals. Among the new weapons that the US could hand over to the Ukrainians there is the so-called drone-kamikaze. The Switchblade – literally, a switchblade – a light weapon, portable in a backpack and composed of a launching tube: the explosive drone can remain in the air for 40 minutes, guided until impact on the target and has a relatively low cost – about 6 thousand dollars – compared to other systems.

The advantages of the Ukrainians

On the field the battle stagnates

. Modern warfare is not suitable for the inexperienced young recruits on which the Russian Army is based: low morale, heavy losses – even if not 13,000 as Kiev declares – and generals are forced to fight at the front, where the resistance would have killed 4. The latest British Defense report explains that Russian forces they are struggling to overcome the challenges posed by the Ukrainian territory and are blocked in their advance. To avoid getting bogged down in rasputitsathe thaw of the fields typical of Ukraine, the Russian columns have moved on the narrow asphalted roads, where a huge logistical problem has arisen and have become an easy target for the ambushes of the resistance, as many videos posted online show. Even the reorganization of the last few days has not given results, e the convoy would always remain 25 kilometers from the capital, which is still not surrounded. The destruction of the bridges by the Ukrainians – London also claims – played a key role in stalling the advance. Indiscretions collected by the Cnn they claim that NATO is sending new anti-aircraft devices mobile (SA 8, SA 10, SA 12, SA 14) to intercept aircraft at higher altitudes. Added to these are the more powerful S300s. Level supplies confirmed by President Biden himself to reiterate broad support.

The British and American analyzes

A pessimistic analysis, the British one, balanced by the Pentagon. Chernihiv in the north, and Mariupol in the south, are isolated but resist the bombs that continue to fall on all the main Ukrainian cities and have also hit Odessa from the sea. Naval formation approached the coast. There is always a risk that Ukrainian troops in the southern sector could be surrounded, at which point they could not bring aid to Kiev. The impact would be very heavy on a military and political level. The Russians did not gain control of the skies, they limited their options and allowed the raid conducted by the Ukrainians on the base of Kherson, a town conquered by the invaders earlier this month. Some helicopters damaged. Always many civilian victims, in Mariupol, Kharkiv and Chernihiv.

The weight of sanctions on the front

For Moscow, Hodges also notes, time does not run only on the military side

: the effects of sanctions are increasing, the country is on the brink of an economic precipice, resentment is increasing at home and there are also signs of dissidence. Keeping in mind the words of the former American general, they can be interpreted better the declarations came from the Kremlin, softer towards Kiev but harsh against the West. Russian troops in Kiev don’t mean we want to invade Ukraine, Vladimir Putin said, speaking of pogroms against the Russians. Unlike in Western countries, we will respect the right to property. To interpret the Tsar’s words, one must listen to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov, who spoke of a close agreement on some points of the agreement: the security of the Russian-speaking populations in eastern Ukraine and its demilitarization, as well as neutrality. Putin’s chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky confirmed that Kiev would be willing to assume a demilitarized neutrality status, like Austria or Sweden, but the size of the Ukrainian army is still being discussed. Lavrov added that the West was not interested in a peaceful solution, as ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said. The United States – Lavrov explained – are decisive on Kiev’s position.

The 15-point peace agreement

The feeling that Russia is looking for a way out that will allow it to declare victory and shift the responsibility for the conflict onto the Western bloc. On the other side of this new iron curtain, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to the press in Brussels, explaining that sending more American soldiers to Europe is a strong message of transatlantic unity. We are very grateful – Stoltenberg said – for your support and for what you are doing in the eastern part of the Alliance. NATO responded in a united way to the invasion of Ukraine, we are strengthening our defense forces: hundreds of thousands of soldiers are in a high state of alert, hundreds of thousands of US soldiers are in Europe and 40 thousand soldiers are under the direct command of NATO, especially on the eastern side of the Alliance. From this context, the news emerged in the early afternoon that the negotiators of Ukraine and Russia are working on a draft agreement for a 15-point peace plan
: among other things, writes the Financial Times which first broke the news, the deal would include a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops if Ukraine declares neutrality and accepts limits on the military. Kiev should then give up joining NATO – as confirmed by Ukrainian President Zelensky – and promise not to host military bases.

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