Military experts analyze that in 2 weeks Ukraine will do something unexpected
Military analyst Agil Rustamzad gave an interview to the New Voice of Ukraine newspaper. Here is the interview content:
A few days ago, Russia declared its new war aimed at controlling the Donbas and southern Ukraine, and establishing a land connection with Moldova’s Transnistria region, which borders Ukraine. How likely are they to succeed in this?
Rustamzade: You know, on March 25, Moscow said it aimed to capture the entire Donetsk and Luhansk turrets. However, a month later, the situation remained unchanged. I suspect the same will happen with their most recently announced plans. While the Kremlin has certain forces and resources in the Donbas, its reserves in the south are not enough to reach Mykolaiv, let alone Odesa and Transnistria. Most likely, it was a purely political statement, in keeping with their traditional diplomacy. The Russian military is incapable of carrying out such a plan.
What about Zaporizhzhia, where they are also going to go?
Rustamzade: Under the current circumstances, with all available forces, Russia can hope for some limited success in the Donbas, capturing one or two medium-sized settlements (at most). We can see that the military forces of Ukraine and Russia are about the same level. Russia still holds the advantage in long-range artillery, but that won’t last.
About Zaporizhzhia – I do not think the Russians will succeed there. The flow of Western weapons to Ukraine is huge. The weapons systems to be equipped will significantly increase the firepower of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) – howitzers and multiple rocket launchers. I think that in two weeks, Ukraine will eliminate the offensive ability of the Russian military, and will switch to offensive operations, not stopping attacks on enemy forces.
Does that mean the Armed Forces of Ukraine need to hold out for another 10-12 days?
Rustamzade: Yes, 10-14 days.
What do you think of Russia’s efforts to encircle the Ukrainian army in the Donbas?
Rustamzade: They (the Russians) planned two sieges there. A large encirclement operation will target the Ukrainian armed forces in the joint operating area, a narrower encirclement will take place in Severodonetsk. In the least favorable cases for Ukraine, the worst-case scenario would be Russia encircling near Severodonetsk. But there is no chance for Moscow to pull out of the larger encirclement and achieve a major victory.
The advantage of anti-tank weapons that Ukraine has is not commensurate with the number of superior long-range artillery pieces of Russia. However, the Ukrainian army destroyed any enemy vehicles that came closer to a position 5 km away. This means that neither side can definitively defeat the other.
In recent weeks, the prediction of a large-scale battle for the Donbas, that has not yet come true. Is it because Russia has changed its tactics, or is it simply a lack of numbers?
Rustamzade: I no longer pay attention to their terrifying scale. How can 100,000 troops launch a massive attack? I have seen their preparation, the way they are deploying their forces step by step. Instead of concentrating on a single breakthrough, they dispersed their forces along six or seven axes of attack.
Is there a military reason behind this approach?
Rustamzade: No. It is contrary to military thinking. Both in the planning and execution of this operation, I was very confused as to how they did it militarily. It could be explained that political motives prevailed over military motives in this war. When leadership suddenly makes new demands, the military will struggle to adapt. It took a month or two to prepare a campaign with 100,000 troops. It is these politically motivated tactical changes that are preventing the Russian military command from properly planning and conducting its operations.
Self-propelled artillery is being supplied to Ukraine by its NATO allies. Are these shipments too late?
Rustamzade: War is unpredictable. If a logistics regiment had problems causing delays, it affected the course of the war.
That would allow the Russians to achieve some tactical success, perhaps capturing a town. But Russia has no human advantage, its superior firepower is powerless against Ukraine’s multi-layered defenses designed to withstand artillery fire.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently said that the war could last until the end of 2023. Do you agree with this statement?
Rustamzade: I assume Johnson was talking about the side-scenario.
In my assessment, if the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) continue to attack Russian forces for a month, Moscow will have nothing left to continue the war in Ukraine. Then what will be Ukraine’s military and political goals – I don’t know. Victory in the campaign would not put an end to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.
Rustamzade: Presumably, Mr. Johnson meant that the war would not end after the Ukrainian army pushed the Russians to the de facto border by February 24, or even to the de facto border of Ukraine around 2014. The war in Ukraine will become a war of position, and it will take a long time to resolve the issues of conflict.
Do you think Russian President Putin can prolong the war without declaring total mobilization?
Rustamzade: No. Russia has committed all of its active units. At great expense, they can recruit 30,000-50,000 mercenaries from private military companies or some other source. But it will only prolong the death of the Russian army and will not give the Ukrainian army the upper hand.
Can Ukraine push back Russian positions to the south, isolating them from Crimea, or is it too early for that?
Rustamzade: The first thing Ukraine should do after the victory in Donbas is to relieve Mariupol, and drive the Russians out of Kharkiv, so that the people there do not suffer from constant artillery fire. Next, the Ukrainian Armed Forces could advance towards Kherson and from Zaporizhzhia, cutting the Russian formation in half. It all depends on the tactical situation on the field. But clearly the priority is Mariupol, which can even be done concurrently with the activities of Donbas.
How would you describe the situation around Mariupol?
Rustamzade: The Azovs entrenched in the steel mill could not be shaken by the Russian bombardment. It was a large, fortified underground complex. Sure, they could feel the explosions, but their lives weren’t in danger. While they initially had adequate supplies and ammunition, now that they were joined by marines, border guards and civilians, their stockpiles were dwindling.
We cannot be sure, without knowing how much food, water and bullets they have in hand. With supplies cut off, they’ll hold out for two weeks, a month, a month and a half. There is no way to solve the complex problem if their holding conditions are not guaranteed.
In your opinion, how reasonable are the proposals to attack on the Crimean bridge?
Rustamzade: Just as Russia could not capture the Azovstal steel plant, it is difficult to do so with the Crimean Bridge. Structures like these are created with enemy attacks in mind. According to my military experience, it takes at least 12 Su-24 fighters, armed with 500-1,500 kg bombs to take down a conventional railway bridge. And this is much worse than that.
An accurate hit with a 1,500-3,000 kg bomb can damage, but not destroy, the bridge, and Ukraine does not have such powerful bombs or missiles. The AFU couldn’t even seriously damage the bridge let alone destroy it. It was built to withstand fire from armies much more powerful than the Ukrainian army.
How do you look back on the two months of the Russo-Ukrainian war?
Rustamzade: As it stands, we are talking about a strategic failure of Russia. In 60 days, they changed their war goals twice and were unable to accomplish any of them. Much ink has been poured on the shortcomings of Russian forces. I want to mention the weaknesses of the Ukrainian army. As we see in large numbers but I think some of the responsibility is also on the Ukrainian Command which made an inappropriate list of requested weapons. For example, you lack artillery, but are asking for jets and tanks.
I think that the Ukrainian army has conducted the war well, even excellently, but there are still many problems for improvement. Ukraine should focus its demands on weapons that can bring victory on the battlefield, rather than asking to “close the sky” – which essentially means “wage the war for us.” Or ask for tanks: you have about 800 tanks, why do you need an extra 200-300? Tanks are ineffective in modern wars. Instead, you should claim the grenades from day one.
Does Russia have enough missiles to keep hitting Ukrainian cities?
Rustamzade: That’s hard to say, but they’re clearly using them sparingly. The missile attack on Odesa was a tragedy, but we should realize that the Russians are not trying to hit civilian targets, their military targets. Their missile systems are crooked and inaccurate.
They may have launched a cheap, light naval missile at Odesa. Instead, they tried to hit a military target with an air-launched cruise missile that missed. These missiles are Soviet made, how can they be so accurate? They prioritize accuracy, as these missiles are believed to carry nuclear warheads. That’s how I see it, I’m sure they’re aiming for a military target.
So you think they (Russia) are saving rockets now?
Rustamzade: Of course. Recalling the first days of the war – the intensity of Russian missile attacks was significantly reduced. It means they are trying to preserve their stockpile. Another good news – they don’t have the parts to make new ones. Their Kalibr rockets are manufactured using foreign components. Their air-launched cruise missile is entirely of domestic origin, but production halted quite a while ago. The X101 missile is built with modern components, similarly, Russia does not have the components for the Iskander missile.
The lack of parts, the lack of missile production capacity is a boon for Ukraine. Hardly anyone outside the UK or the US is smart enough to know how much Russia has left.
at Blogtuan.info – Source: danviet.vn – Read the original article here