Rostislav Ischenko: The time has come
I do not know whether the militia will reach Kiev on its own or whether Putin will still have to send an army to Ukraine. I do not know whether the offensive will begin tomorrow or in a week. It seems to me the most reasonable to deliver the main blow to Kharkov.
The main forces and the most combat-ready parts of the junta are in the south - they tried to break through the encirclement of the southern group, encircle Donetsk and cut the territory of Novorossia in two, and Kiev is relatively weak in the Kharkov direction, but I am not sure that it will hit because I do not own the operational situation in the theater of operations. I only understand that the militia has the strength to only one strike, and there is no room for error in choosing a direction.
One thing I can say for sure: from a strategic and geopolitical point of view, the time for an attack on the junta has come, and if this moment is missed, then after three or four (or maybe two) weeks the situation may deteriorate again - the window of opportunity is never open for long .
What do we have for today?
1. The junta is able to continue offensive actions only on certain sectors, with a narrow front and limited goals, its forces are exhausted, and the effect of semi-disruptive, but still ongoing mobilization will manifest itself not earlier than in two or four weeks.
2. The downed Boeing is already playing against the junta, and in a week or two the informational effect of the release of evidence of a deliberate terrorist act organized by Kiev will reach its peak.
3. Contradictions within the junta intensified, and the smartest think about whom to shift responsibility and how to escape, and the most stupid - how to seize power for even half an hour.
4. The militia, due to trophies from the southern boiler, doubled the number of armored vehicles in their units.
5. Europe is experiencing the effect of unexpected Russian sanctions. In the EU, it will be extremely difficult to make a decision about the next turn of the confrontation with Russia.
6. In the "patients" of Kolomoisky territories of the South-East (in Zaporizhia, Odessa, Kharkov, even in Dnepropetrovsk), partisan activity begins to manifest itself.
7. On the other hand, the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk is such that the population is unlikely to be able to tolerate the situation of a humanitarian catastrophe. Perhaps people will not come out against the militia, but civilian casualties will be so high that even in the case of the most brilliant victory, the Russians will blame their power for a long time, that in front of her thousands would kill Russians, and she wouldn’t help (and to end).
8. On the geopolitical playing field, the United States will not be in a state of frustration either. If the moment is missed, they will again find arguments for the EU, pump up the junta financially and technically and transfer the war to the positional stage. If the junta manages to survive the winter, then by spring there will be no one to free (the junta will not kill anyone, they will die out).
From 11 and until about August 25 (possibly until the end of the month), a unique situation develops when both the situation on the fronts of the Southeast and the general geopolitical situation favor the beginning of the defeat of the junta.
Further events may develop in different ways. The front can collapse almost instantly, the army after the first significant defeat can simply disappear from the battlefield (and partly even go to Kiev). But theoretically, the junta has the ability to temporarily stabilize the front and provide an organized departure. While retreating, she can resist on three frontiers, hoping to exhaust the militia and gain time for a change in her favor of the international situation, or, finally, for an acceptable peace. These frontiers, with some degree of conditionality: Kharkiv (the junta will try to retain the first capital and the center of another region of the South-East, do not allow the Kharkiv People’s Republic to take place), Poltava ) and Kiev (an attempt to gain a foothold on the right bank of the Dnieper and Desna and retain the capital).
In the latter case, if the junta succeeds in preserving at least the conditional combat capability of the army and ensuring organized departure, all of the Left Bank is expected to die and be destroyed.
First, “in war, as in war,” and, even though the militia are not Hunt punitive, but fighting in the city involves destruction, and Kharkov, for example, cannot be circumvented, it can only be taken.
Secondly, the junta itself will try to destroy everything that can and will succeed, leaving the militia to burn out the scorched earth (in retaliation for its defeat) and blaming it on the militia — the blame for the humanitarian catastrophe throughout Ukraine. This will confirm the version of the junta that death and destruction occur where the militia comes. It is unlikely that the junta will help, but after all, Goebbels also lied to the end.
Thus, today the situation is such that it is necessary to attack, but the quick defeat of the junta, due to the immediate collapse of the front, is not guaranteed. The shaft of the civil war can return to its roots.
This will certainly satisfy the legitimate revenge of many anti-fascists, especially the citizens of the DPR / LPR who survived Stalingrad and the blockade of Leningrad in one bottle, but will drastically worsen the possibilities of a post-war settlement, regardless of whether then trimmed boundaries) or not.
Correct the situation and help the junta to collapse quickly could enter the Russian army through Sumy and Chernigov to Kiev, and from the sea - to Odessa, and from there - to Kherson, Nikolaev, Transnistria. This option leads to a lightning military victory, but its political effect is unpredictable.
It is not clear how Europe has been taught by the tough Russian response to sanctions in order to come to terms with this development of events. It is also unclear how ready she will be to abandon her original version with Boeing and unconditionally accept the evidence of the guilt of Ukraine (for the EU, this will be a significant loss of face).
Nevertheless, there is not much choice. Without using the moment, you can not get the next one. The militia cannot guarantee a quick victory on its own. The prolongation of the conflict and the further spread of bloodshed on the entire Left Bank or even on most of the territory of Ukraine leads to potentially large political costs. The introduction of troops, although it does not guarantee political problems, at least provides for further senseless sacrifices and destruction for which the agonizing junta is not stingy and, in the medium term (though not immediately), has good chances of being post-factum approved by Europe. Especially if the Poles, Hungarians and Romanians will get on their piece of cake.
Let's see how events will develop further. Putin constantly surprises the “city and the world” by finding the third option among the two possible, but the time to make a responsible decision (whatever that decision may be) has come.
- Rostislav Ischenko, President of the Center for Systems Analysis and Forecasting
Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest news and the most important events of the day.