Thoughts on the current state of the war. First half of the thread is a bit of a catchup for me, having not posted anything last weekend, and then the rest on where things might be heading & what to look for in the coming weeks. Thread. (map below from Nathan) 1/
From the outset the Russian campaign suffered from a diffusion of effort, driven by unachievable (in my view) political objectives. Instead of a center of gravity the Russian effort had numerous competing objectives & 4 military districts executing with poor coordination. 2/
Russian forces ran out of momentum and became combat ineffective on most fronts 3-4 weeks into the war. UKR forces have counter attacked, and made sustained gains for over a week now. 3/
The next decisive battle will be in the Donbas where Russian units are regrouping and attempting to push UKR forces out. That’s the front to watch in the coming weeks. How this battle turns will probably inform Moscow's thinking on prospects in a sustained war. 4/
The Russian retreat from Kyiv (east & west) is likely to involve most if not all of the units. I’m now skeptical they will leave forces behind. Judging by organization/cohesion of the withdrawal I wouldn’t call it a rout, but it represents a significant military defeat. 5/
Ironically the retreat, and rearguard action to cover for it with UKR forces in contact, might be one of the better organized aspects of the Russian campaign in the north, relative to the terribly executed offensives. 6/
But rather than pinning Ukrainian troops in the north, UKR now has the opportunity to reinforce the JFO in the Donbas, and there will be a substantial amount of abandoned equipment captured in the Kyiv area that Russian forces have probably left behind. 7/
A few weeks into the war a battle for Kyiv was looking highly unlikely. Russian forces were stalemated in heavy fighting in towns on the outskirts, couldn't encircle or blockade Kyiv, and they lacked secure supply lines. For weeks they had been dithering & suffering attrition. 8/
Nor is there to be an assault on Odesa in the future. The offensive southwest was overextended, mauled in fighting around Mykolaiv, and suffered a defeat at Voznesensk. Russian forces retreated to set a perimeter around Kherson and seem set to hold there. 9/
UKR forces also made sustained gains around Sumy, and it is hard to see any prospects along that axis for Russian forces. The road to Poltava is supposedly now open. Current situation a bit unclear, but momentum appears on UKR side. 10/
There are indications that Russia deployed separatist units in this area (Trostyanets) in order to shift forces to the Donbas. For over a week Russian forces have been redeploying for a push in the Donbas, depleting forces on several stalled fronts. 11/
Russian units around Kyiv are likely to be redeployed by rail to the Donbas or near Kharkiv. A number of fresh BTGs have been brought in from what was available in the Russian armed forces to reinforce the Donbas campaign. This sets the stage for the next phase of this war. 12/
In the Donbas, Russia has made incremental gains, seizing Izyum. Those offensives were plagued by poor force density & employment, which has characterized much of the campaign. However, withdrawn units are now arriving from other fronts to reinforce the Russian attack. 13/
That said, a large Russian envelopment of UKR forces in the JFO looks unlikely. Rather it will be a slow, costly, and ponderous assault in an effort to push UKR forces out. This is where Russia appears to be concentrating the bulk of its forces and firepower. 14/
Russian forces took weeks to make progress in Izyum, and are still stymied in trying to advance further south. No real advance from Zaporizhia in the past week, but if Mariupol falls it could free up Russian logistics and manpower along the southern axis of advance. 15/
The salient that has developed around Severodonetsk-Lysychansk is where UKR positions appear vulnerable in coming days. Izyum-Kamyanka is an area of heavy fighting where Russian forces are on the offensive, but struggling to make progress. From @HN_Schlottman below: 16/
Although I think it makes sense to frame the next chapter in this war as principally a battle for the Donbas, I would caution against assuming that this bounds Russian aims and Moscow will then declare victory, seeking an early end to the conflict. 17/
UKR has initiative on other fronts and may conduct further offensives in Kherson, Sumy, Kharkiv regions. I suspect there likely to regain territory along these fronts. /18
As always, these are impressions based on very incomplete information. Will follow up with a complementary thread about Russian force availability, conscription, and attrition, which I wanted to post separately. /19
See All
  • Recommended 1 year ago