The Russian military has released an update to a month’s worth of its invasion of Ukraine. “The main tasks of the first phase of the operation have been completed. The main combat power of the Ukrainian forces has been significantly reduced, which allows us to focus our main efforts on achieving the main goal – the liberation of Donbass,” he said. . Chief Operating Officer Sergei Rudskoy.
The conflict is fast becoming a massively destructive war of attrition, with dire consequences for the European continent and for the post-Cold War international order.
And the media saw the announcement as a sign that Russia had begun to limit its military operations in the face of unexpected Ukrainian resistance. But Mark Epskobos, national security editor for the US National Interest, pointed out that there is no evidence that Moscow has abandoned the ultimate goals originally set by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24. On the contrary, Rudskoy reiterated on Friday that Russia remains committed to the “denazification” and “disarmament” of Ukraine.
Looking at Rudskoy’s announcement in the context of recent statements made by senior Kremlin officials, the latest announcement assumes not that the Russian military is reducing its targets, but rather that it is repositioning itself in anticipation of a protracted conflict. Therefore, Moscow may have decided that it should consolidate control of the Donbass before resuming ground offensives in the kyiv region and pushing further west.
The action of the Russian army.
After a month of war, no one doubts that the Russian military has underperformed by all standards of field combat. But it is still too early to conclude that Ukraine has won or that Russia has been defeated. The conflict map shows that the line of control in Ukraine is shifting in favor of Russia since February 24, with the invading forces making slow but steady gains in the southern and eastern theaters. As Graham Allison and Amos Yadlin point out in the National Interest, Russia now controls twice as much territory as Ukraine did when the war began.
The writer believes that losses exceeding expectations would stabilize ground forces in the short term, but would not push the Kremlin to change course in Ukraine. Strategic culture and political discourse have historically shown great tolerance for incurring large losses in conflicts that enjoy public support. Putin managed to mobilize the Russian public around the war in Ukraine. The latest opinion polls show that popular support for the conflict has increased, and has not decreased since February 24, and hovers around 70-74 percent. Putin faces internal pressures, not to end the war, but to wage it more fiercely.
The writer added that the performance of the Ukrainian armed forces was much better than Russian and Western observers expected, but the basic strategic fact has not changed: Moscow is convinced that its existential interests are at risk. He has the resources and the political will to see this war come to a bitter end.
What is the position of the West on that? Continued arms shipments to Ukraine would prolong the conflict, even at a high price for Ukrainian citizens, but would not change the outcome. The Kremlin will commit to sending more troops when necessary, so that it can eventually impose the military solution it wants on Ukraine. The West will be unable to do anything to change the outcome without direct military intervention.
Peace talks continue between Moscow and kyiv, without expecting an agreement at the present time. Both sides believe that it is not time for a negotiated settlement. With faltering negotiations and no military breakthrough in the foreseeable future, the conflict quickly turns into a hugely destructive war of attrition, with dire consequences for the European continent and for the international system that was established after the end of the Cold War. .