Rostislav Ischenko: Will Novorossia go from defense to attack?
Weigh forces - our own and punitive
The Kiev regime has practically exhausted its resources - this is evidenced by the situation that has developed today on the front lines in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Vigorous actions on his part bear the character of the last desperate attempt to snatch a tactical victory, regardless of losses and possible strategic consequences. So in November 1942 of the year, on the eve of his own environment, Friedrich Paulus threw in the attack of the last forces of the 6 Army (arriving recruits went into battle directly from the wheels) in order to still fully occupy the line of the Volga River in Stalingrad.
Even the pause, which Poroshenko tried to take, declaring a truce that had not yet begun to act, was needed solely for the regrouping of forces and the urgent preparation of recruits. Their quality is evidenced by the fact that Kiev has increased the age of being in the reserve (that is, the possibility of being called up for active service) to 60 years for soldiers and to 65 for officers. In addition, he tried to send to the front two hundred officers of the military space agency (this is a priori people who never held a machine gun in their hands, that is, "cannon fodder"). There were also hastily formed new illegal battalions like the “Right Sector” battalion of the name of Alexander Muzychko, the creation of which Yarosh announced in due time with pomp. The massive attacks of Kiev troops on the positions of the militias brought a small advance, which had not only strategic, but even tactical significance, but was accompanied by heavy losses in personnel and equipment.
Rumors of a possible appearance on the front of thousands of mercenaries from various PMCs are no more than a clumsy attempt at psychological pressure. Such a number of hired infantry can not be hidden, and this leads to the internationalization of the conflict. Yes, mercenaries and do not like to pretend to be living targets. They can fight and fight as specialists: headquarters, snipers, possibly pilots and crews of individual armored vehicles.
About the lack of qualified drivers, gunners and commanders tanks, as well as tank units is evidenced by the fact that Kiev has never tried to use its overwhelming superiority in tanks (the ability to exhibit at least a thousand serviceable combat vehicles) and air supremacy. After all, he could easily organize a deep breakthrough of a large tank formation, capable within a few hours, a maximum of days, of dissecting the territory of the DPR / LPR, reaching the border and further splitting the militias into separate isolated groups, which even the not very professional infantry of the National Guard could handle . I think it is clear to any observer that neither now, nor even two or three months ago, the militia could not oppose anything adequate to a tank ram of 150-200 vehicles with the support of 1500-2000 infantry, which also relies on the support of long-range artillery and covered from the air, even 3-4 helicopters and attack aircraft, which could simultaneously conduct reconnaissance in the interests of the advancing group.
Let me remind you that the distance from the front line to the border, as well as to the main political centers of resistance (Donetsk and Lugansk) is 200-500 kilometers (one, maximum two tank refueling). In addition, the tanks are designed to make off-road crossings, and the militia controls the roads, relying on settlements. That is, the rejection of the massive use of armored vehicles is caused not by the fear of a negative reaction of the international community (to artillery, “hail” and assault strikes aviation it does not respond) and is not afraid to introduce armored vehicles into areas of urban development. Firstly, they still introduce it, only in small groups, which are much more difficult to count on success than convoys of hundreds of military vehicles with appropriate support, and secondly, the region has enough open steppe spaces, as if specially designed for deep maneuver by large tank and motorized connections.
The only reasonable reason for the use of armored vehicles by exceptionally small groups can only be the lack of a sufficient number of trained crews. As well as lower and middle-level officers who would be able to exercise command of tank units in the battalion-company link directly on the battlefield. It is not enough to have a technique - you need to have people who can use it.
This means that the overwhelming advantage of Kiev in technology has almost become a fiction. At present, only a couple of dozen helicopters and attack aircraft still able to rise into the air are able to provide the punishers with an advantage on the battlefield. And then in one or two local cases, and not along the entire front line. At the same time, we note the constant increase in the work of the air defense of the militia, which quite successfully displaces the aircraft of the punitive forces from the battlefield - they began to fly much less and much higher than before, and they try to replace the air strikes with massive shelling.
Finally, it should be noted that the number of armored vehicles captured from the enemy in battle, as well as at storage bases and in surrendered garrisons (including heavy ones) held by the militia, significantly increased compared with the first six BMDs surrendered by paratroopers in April. Today, we can confidently talk about at least ten tanks (maybe more, we are talking only about vehicles, the movement of which was clearly recorded), as well as dozens of units of infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers of various modifications. Armed with the militia also recorded mortars, artillery guns and at least two installations of volley fire "Grad".
In recent days, a substantial increase in the manpower of the militia began (the formation of at least three new battalions was announced). Roughly, the militia forces that are on the line of contact with the punishers can be estimated at 7 — 10 thousand people, while considerable forces in the already formed units are in the rear, in reserve. In general, today, the total number of militias can be estimated at 12 — 15 thousands of people, and it is rapidly increasing.
If there are enough specialists to form armored vehicles, artillery systems, and trained commanders in the detachment-battalion (from junior sergeant to major or lieutenant colonel), the militia is able to increase its number at least twice equal in this indicator with punitive. And also to reduce to a minimum the nominal lag in armored vehicles (in reality, in terms of active units, it is even possible to achieve a certain preponderance).
Assessment of the dynamics of ongoing processes:
• increase in the number, combat readiness and equipment of the militia; stagnation of the punitive operation;
• moral decomposition of troops subordinate to Kiev, their heterogeneous composition (national guard, oligarchic battalions, remnants of personnel units, parts of mobilized recruits), causing internal friction, often turning into armed confrontation;
• unwillingness even of Western Ukraine to send men to the conflict zone (acutely manifested since the coffins went from the South-East);
• the inadequacy of the Ukrainian command and internal squabbles in the political leadership of the Maidan government.
All this gives reason to believe that for one or two weeks not only strategic (which is already favorable), but also a tactical situation must be in favor of the militia.
In contrast to the punitive troops, the Donbass fighters have a clear uplift, a desire to dislodge the enemy from their native land as soon as possible and stop violence against their families. Donetsk and Lugansk are not the only cities in the southeast of Ukraine capable of revolt, therefore a successful attack by the army of Novorossia on any large city in the operational rear of the punishers will almost inevitably cause an uprising in it. All this, undoubtedly, is taken into account in the leadership of the Resistance, so that we can confidently predict the transition of the army of the South-East to the offensive during the next two to three weeks. It will be impossible to strongly tighten the start of the counteroffensive, so that Kiev does not have time to gather any additional forces or reinvent another “peaceful” initiative in order to paralyze the actions of the militias. In addition, delaying time will cause misunderstanding and unnecessary suspicions in their own ranks. Therefore, the offensive must begin at the moment of achieving the minimum readiness.
The lack of a serious numerical or technical superiority of the militia dictates the tactics of the initial powerful single strike, which would lead to the defeat of a large group, which would immediately change the balance of forces. At least one more regional center should be liberated, which will join the militia army and allow for a deep flank of the further offensive.
After the first victory, you can predict the beginning of the rapid collapse of both the punitive army and the political structures of Kiev. The offensive itself can develop in two directions: with access to Kiev or Odessa, cutting off the Dnipropetrovsk "principality of Kolomoisky" from communication with the Center and the West of Ukraine. The approach to the Dnieper line and the occupation of Odessa are real within ten to fifteen days from the moment the attack begins. After that, it will be necessary to make an operational pause, the duration of which will depend on how quickly it will be possible to ensure the loyalty of the Chernihiv-Sumy region, as well as eliminate the resistance of Kolomoisky in the Dnipropetrovsk-Zaporozhye region. An important role will be played by the ability to control Kiev at the expense of the internal resource (local anti-fascists).
It should be noted that the relatively small forces of the opposing armies, as well as the habit of both the citizens of Ukraine and external observers to assess control over the territory on the basis of control over regional centers, they should be the primary goal of the offensive. In addition, the attack on large cities is dictated by the fact that they, as places of high concentration of population, have the greatest mobilization potential. But we must understand that the Nazis on the eve of their escape from the respective city may well arrange a massacre of resistance activists, anti-Nazi-minded intellectuals, and even just the Russian population. Therefore, you need to act quickly.
In any case, the duration of the operational pause should be reduced to a minimum. Given the fact that rapid and complete collapse of both the armed forces and the political system of Kiev is assumed, the possibility of pursuing outgoing punishers on the Right Bank by relatively small maneuverable groups, whose task will include the occupation of regional centers and the approval of the new government there, is not excluded. It will establish control over the regions at the expense of the internal resource (the anti-fascist underground and the security forces that traditionally side with the winner). With this scenario, the offensive, without a visible operational pause, can continue to Zbruch. Further, the decision will have to be made depending on the mobilization potential of the liberated regions, the level of resistance of the Nazi detachments remaining in the liberated territories, as well as the international situation and the general political situation inside the country.
The political danger will be represented by possible attempts by Kiev after the beginning of the offensive of the militias to propose new “peace initiatives” in order to pause the fighting, regroup the troops or achieve more or less suitable terms for a truce by involving their Western backers in the negotiation process.
- Rostislav Ischenko, President of the Center for Systems Analysis and Forecasting
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