Cold weather will help Putin, so Ukraine must take decisive action now

On paper David of Ukraine is circling around Goliath of Russia.

At the beginning of the war, Ukrainian defenders worshiped “St. The Javelin, “the US-supplied, shoulder-fired, tank-killing missile that turned hundreds of Russian tanks into a smoldering pile of roadside rubble.

In the current stage of the war, it is America’s HIMARS shoot-and-scoot precision rocket artillery system that has helped Ukraine overcome Russia’s numerical advantage, moving ammunition depots far behind the front lines, fatal Accurate GPS-guided escape forced Russian guns to hide. artillery fire.

In a brutal battle of more than five months, the plucky Ukrainians repelled a Russian attempt to capture the capital Kyiv and depose President Volodymyr Zelensky, inflicting morale-breaking casualties on Russia’s massive military force, and the former The putative superpower fought to a virtual standoff in , where Russian forces are paying heavily for every few meters they take.

Outside experts say the war is now at a turning point, with only a few months of warm weather before battle lines freeze and pressure mounts on Ukraine’s European allies who rely on Russian gas to protect their people from the cold. We do.

“I don’t want to sound like a ‘Game of Thrones’ character, but yes, winter is coming,” Richard Moore, Britain’s top spymaster, told the Aspen Security Forum last month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on 24 February.
Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo/AP

To keep military, economic, and political support flowing, Zelensky needs a dramatic battlefield victory to show America and the world that the war is worth winning.

“It is important that I think for the Ukrainians themselves that they demonstrate their ability to attack back, and I think it will be very important for their continued high morale,” Moore said. “I also think, to be honest, it will be an important reminder to the rest of Europe that this is a win-win campaign by the Ukrainians because we are about to go into a very tough winter.”

It seems Putin is relying on a “winter strategy” that as European countries face higher prices for heating their homes, Western resolve will weaken, and Ukraine should cut a deal on Moscow’s terms. will be forced to do.

But Russian losses have been staggering, with estimates of the war dead at 15,000 to 40,000. “We see Russia failing on the battlefield, paying a high price for little gain, and suffering domestic failures,” said a senior military official. told reporters at the Pentagon briefing. “When you look at the number of people they’ve lost, it’s impossible to believe that they haven’t needed to figure out ways to replace them if they want to continue going toe-to-toe with the Ukrainians. “

That said, the Russian president has a high pain threshold, especially because he is not one to feel pain.

President Volodymyr Zelensky
President Volodymyr Zelensky talks to reporters during a visit to the Black Sea port of Chernomorsk.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

“Vladimir Putin has no problem fielding his troops,” said former CIA chief Steve Hall, now a CNN analyst. “There is a long Russian history of using only poorly armed soldiers, poorly trained soldiers, essentially for cannon fodder.”

While Ukrainian troops armed with deadly precision HIMARS rocket launchers fight the Russians in the eastern Donbass region to a virtual standoff, Zelensky has made no secret of his plan to liberate the southern province of Kherson, a city of 300,000 Which had fallen early for the Russians. Feather.

This has forced Russia to redeploy its already stretched forces from the east to fortify the southern flanks against Ukrainian retaliation expected in the coming weeks.

“If President Zelensky gets his way and he can move into the area to generate several million new combat forces that complement and complement the resistance forces going against the Russians,” retired Lieutenant General Mark Hartling said, A former commander of the US military in Europe, then “you’re going to see a second front, and it’s going to put the Russians on the horns of a dilemma, almost at the same time that there’s an inflection point in logistics.”

Ukraine is already cutting supply lines between Kherson and Crimea, which Russia illegally occupied in 2014, removing bridges and rail lines, and firing a large contingent of Russia’s 49th Army. Was isolated on the west bank of the Dnipro River.

8/5.  Invasion Of Ukraine As Map
Map of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as of August 5, 2022.
New York Post Composite

Retired General David Petraeus said, “How this war is turning is, in fact, a competition to see who can generate the fastest capable forces.” “Ukraine not only has the arsenal of democracy. It has the arsenal of democracy.”

In its 17th consignment of weapons and munitions to Ukraine, the Pentagon this month announced $550 million worth of ammunition for HIMARS and other artillery systems, bringing total US military aid since the start of the war to nearly $9 billion.

“They are demonstrating the enormous potential now that they have multiple-launch rocket systems, massive amounts of heavy artillery and other capabilities,” Petraeus said. “And they’re putting them to great use, taking up gunpowder storage sites, fuel depots, Russian headquarters, and then forcing them to pull back from the front lines to make it more difficult to support Russian troops.” Yes, in front.”

Ukrainian Troops Open Javelin Anti-Tank Missiles
Ukrainian soldiers unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles that had been sent as aid from the US at an airport outside Kyiv.
Ephraim Lukatsky/AP
Forensic Experts Inspect The Bodies Of Dead Russian Soldiers During An Identification Process In Kharkiv, Eastern Ukraine.
Forensic experts inspect the bodies of dead Russian soldiers during an identification process in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine.
Bernat Armangu / AP

The question is how much progress Ukraine can make before the ground freezes and the Russian military can dig in for the winter.

“The coming few months ahead will show us whether the Ukrainians can actually employ these capabilities to extreme effect and at least begin to withdraw the Russians to the south,” Petraeus said, “and perhaps take advantage of other locations.” Where even in the south the Russians had to dilute their forces to resettle the defenders.”

reprinted with permission from Washington Examiner,

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