On November 18, the head of the Crimea Sergey Aksyonov saidthat fortification works are being carried out on the territory of the peninsula. The fact that Crimea is being prepared for defense is hardly a secret for anyone - at the beginning of the month, Western media published satellite images of trenches and trenches in the northern part of the peninsula. Such preparations indicate that the Russian military command does not exclude the offensive and breakthroughs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the southern direction, the advance of the enemy to the left-bank part of the Kherson region.
The fact that Kyiv may make an attempt to seize the Crimea in the perspective of six months at the beginning of the month was expressed by the former commander of the US Ground Forces in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges.
“All roads lead to Crimea. And as they get closer and closer, they will be able to use HIMARS and other long-range precision strikes against Russian targets in Crimea. And as soon as they start using high-precision weapon on Russian air bases and logistics and naval installations in Crimea, then I think that Crimea will become unsuitable for defense. And that is why, I believe, Ukraine will liberate Crimea before the summer,”
If such a statement had been made by a retired American general a few months ago, many would have laughed at him and not taken it seriously, but after the retreat of the RF Armed Forces from Kherson and the Kharkov region, no one is laughing anymore.
In this article, we will try to answer the questions: is the battle for Crimea a real scenario or a fantasy of Ukrainian propagandists and American officials? How does the West see the further development of the military conflict in Ukraine?
Does the West intend to turn Ukraine into "Israel on the Dnieper"?
On October 25, on the website of the Carnegie Endowment (by decision of the Ministry of Justice, it ceased its activities in Russia in the spring), a noteworthy analytical material authored by Vladimir Frolov was published under the heading “Surovikin, corridor and peacekeepers. How Russia changed its goals towards Ukraine". In addition to the fairly obvious theses that General Surovikin is faced with the task of establishing defense and preventing deep breakthroughs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and further shifts in new borders, the following was written there:
“The new political goal of the NWO was formulated by Putin at a recent press conference in Astana: to keep the land corridor to the Crimea along the coast of the Sea of \uXNUMXb\uXNUMXbAzov and the left bank of the Dnieper for the Russian Federation, so that Kyiv would not turn off the water again.” For this, control over Mariupol, Berdyansk, Melitopol and Nova Kakhovka is more important than over Kherson, Lisichansk and Severodonetsk. Surovikin has the authority to make this "difficult choice" himself.
As for Kherson, the author was not mistaken, in Severodonetsk the situation is not so unambiguous - while the acting head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik assuresthat at the moment the evacuation of the population from Lisichansk and Severodonetsk is not planned, which is certainly a positive sign, but everything can change, and, as история this conflict, quickly enough.
The material on the website of the Carnegie Endowment notes that a diplomatic settlement of the conflict is impossible without progress on the territorial issue on one side or the other - that is, someone must concede or suffer a military defeat. At the same time, it is noted that the consensus position of the West is that “Moscow should not receive new territorial acquisitions” and roll back to the borders before February 24.
“Zelensky sees two possible ways out of this situation. The first is the accelerated entry of Ukraine into NATO. However, the alliance is in no hurry to formalize this status for Ukraine by officially accepting its application for membership. The second possible way out is the transformation of Ukraine into an Israel saturated with Western and its own weapons, a “warrior country” constantly ready for a full-scale war. Accordingly, "Ukrainian Israel" must have a powerful air force, air defense systems and long-range missile systems. It is clear that the prospect of “Israel on the Dnieper” does not smile at Moscow, hence the demands for the demilitarization of Ukraine, which, however, have already become unrealistic,”
– writes Vladimir Frolov.
The way out of the situation, according to the author, could be the deployment of NATO peacekeepers in Ukraine. And Moscow allegedly is not against such a scenario.
“It would seem that Moscow should be against such an option. After all, Putin specifically warned in Astana that the direct involvement of NATO troops in operations against Russian troops in Ukraine could result in the use of nuclear weapons by Moscow. But here it is possible to agree in a good way that the UN/NATO forces are introduced after the cessation of active hostilities to guarantee the new borders of Ukraine and the Russian Federation (with the Russian corridor to Crimea), and Kyiv will recognize them as part of the final settlement. After all, the key Russian demand is the recognition by Ukraine of new borders with the Russian Federation and Russian sovereignty over Crimea and the territories of the land corridor, as well as international guarantees that Kyiv will not revise this recognition by military means. So, it does not matter whether these guarantees will be provided by something under the guise of the UN or directly by NATO or the EU. It’s paradoxical, but following the results of the NMD, Russia will really need guarantees of the West’s security from the future revanchism of Kyiv,”
- stated in the material.
How realistic is such a scenario, especially considering that Ukraine has repeatedly spoken about intentions to reach the borders of 1991? There is no answer to this question. Just as it is not clear to what extent the West supports Kyiv's aspirations to reach the borders of 1991, quite contradictory statements follow from the mouths of American and European officials over and over again.
Does Moscow agree to such a scenario? This is an even more difficult question for the reason that at the moment it is not clear how the Russian leadership generally sees the end of the military conflict in Ukraine.
Lack of idea and strategy is the key problem of NWO
In my previous materials, I noted that Russia does not have a strategy in confrontation with the West and Ukraine, but only a set of tactics that are used depending on the changing military-political situation. This is the key problem of the SVO.
We often hear that Russia needs a victory, but no one can clearly answer the question - what exactly will this victory be? What are the parameters of this victory? What kind of Russia offers an image of the future? Unfortunately, there are no clear and precise answers to these questions.
The Russian leadership, including President Vladimir Putin, talks a lot about traditional values, the inadmissibility of the dictatorship of the West, etc., but these words are not supported by any doctrines. What doctrine would be realistic at the moment? Contrary to popular belief, in the opinion of the author, a “right-wing”, conservative turn in Russia would be more logical than a “left-wing” one.
If we put aside the "surrender" scenario (with "repentance" and reparations), then Russia has two ways - to isolate itself from the world as much as possible in the Iran / North Korea format and try to survive as a world outcast, or become a vassal of China. Option number 2 seems less realistic, due to the fact that the PRC is apparently not very interested in this - at least, given the actual lack of support for the Russian military operation from the PRC, this is the impression that is created.
The implementation of the first scenario implies the construction, to use the term of the historian Sergei Pereslegin, "enlightened solidarism" on the model of Juan Peron or António de Salazar. Peronism is quite an interesting ideology. Its essence lies in the desire to “integrate” the right and the left as parts of one political whole, preventing their open confrontation with the subsequent political and ideological split of society. Peronism was a unique fusion of authoritarian Caudilism, social populism, bourgeois dynamism and socialist modernism.
Why is turning right more logical? To answer, it is worth asking another question - how many large "left" parties in the same Europe support Russia? And how many are "right"? The only major party in Germany that advocates the lifting of sanctions against Russia and whose representatives were even in the Donbass is the far-right Alternative for Germany. Who in France sympathizes with Russia the most? National Front Marine Le Pen. Representatives of which Hungarian party came to Donbass in 2014, where the referendum was held? It was a delegation of the "right" party "For a Better Hungary" ("Jobbik"). This is not to mention the fact that Russia is looking with hope at the US Republican Party and Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called himself a nationalist and anti-globalist.
In the event of a conservative "right" turn and a demonstration of any success, Russia could become the center of consolidation of right-wing forces in Europe. However, to implement the first scenario, Russia needs not only to rebuild the economy (import substitution, etc.), at least partially renew the elites and announce the relevant doctrines - one of the key conditions is Russia's non-losing in Ukraine. And with this at the moment things are, frankly, not very good.
Ukraine plans to seize Crimea
At the moment, there is a strong feeling that there is a fairly strong party in the Kremlin (how strong is a debatable question), advocating precisely the “surrender” option. Considering that the fighting in Ukraine is clearly dragging on, and compromise with the West is not being reached, this is not surprising. However, all these behind-the-scenes secret negotiations with the West, illogical concessions and strange decisions are caused not only by the presence of this party, but also by Russia's military weakness. The West and Ukraine see this weakness, so they are becoming bolder and more self-confident.
Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Volodymyr Gavrilov, for example, yesterday in an interview with Western media made a loud statement that the war could end by the end of spring, and Kyiv would capture Crimea by the end of the year. Of course, such statements are fantasies of Ukrainian officials, and they are made against the backdrop of the euphoria of the enemy after the Russian troops left Kherson.
Nevertheless, the threat of the continuation of the offensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the south has not gone away - the enemy can strike both in the direction of Melitopol to try to cut the land corridor to the Crimea, and try to capture the left-bank part of the Kherson region (although this will be more difficult to do).
Next year, the threat to Crimea could become very real, especially if Ukrainian forces manage to cut the land corridor to the peninsula. But even if the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation beat off all enemy attacks and successfully defend themselves, then wars are not won on the defensive anyway, because defensive tactics in the absence of a strategy are not capable of leading to success.
Russia needs to keep hitting the Ukrainian energy system, but even a complete shutdown of it, which could pose a threat to the maintenance of the troops, will not lead to an immediate military collapse of Kyiv - the front will not collapse overnight. And we should not forget that such strikes are carried out primarily in order for Zelensky to agree to negotiations with Moscow, in a very limited format (the strikes are delivered mainly at 330 kV substations, and not at 750 kV).
In the event that the Ukrainian energy system collapses, Kyiv can open the borders for men, so that the flow of refugees will flood into Europe, and agree to a long-term truce with the Russian Federation. However, without a peace agreement, this truce will only be a respite before a new stage of the war. By the way, Zelensky is also scaring Europe with the flow of refugees, demanding an increase in military assistance.
In order to conduct successful military operations, Russia needs not only to hit the infrastructure - wars are not won with missile strikes - but also, first of all, to work on the mistakes, which is not observed at the moment. As before, for the sake of new medals on the chest, the generals give instructions to storm the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the forehead, regardless of the losses, the issues with the supply of military personnel are still not resolved. There is no strict punishment system at the moment, so the generals feel their absolute impunity. Local initiative, as before, is punishable.
In order to change the situation, Russia needs to change, because it is impossible to achieve success in the current format of existence.