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Russia just needs to break through this thing, no matter how much the Ukrainian army holds out, it will “break the battle”?

Russian Tactics

The second phase of the Russian military operation in Ukraine underway in Donbass. The question is whether this operation will be more successful and effective than phase one, and whether Ukraine has enough military and weapons to stop Moscow’s advance?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the operation in Donbass was a “very important moment of the whole operation”.

Russia’s goal is very clear and openly stated: To ensure the security of the entire eastern regions, including Donetsk and Luhansk. The second objective was to defeat the remaining resistance forces in the port city of Mariupol to fortify the land corridor connecting Crimea.

To that end, the Russian forces deployed north and east of Kiev have been repositioned and campaigned.

CNN quoted US officials as estimating that Russia has mobilized about 78 combat battalions in eastern Ukraine – possibly as many as 75,000 troops. This number is further increased by the number of troops being assembled in Russia’s border regions.

CNN’s analysis of satellite images, social media videos and statements from both sides shows that the Russians are currently trying to move forward along three axes.

Imagine Donbas as a square: Russian forces were already on three sides – leaving only the west open to Ukrainian reinforcements and retreating if necessary.

From the south and east, Russian advance units have advanced as far as several kilometers this month. To the south, they have advanced deep into the Zaporizhzhia region, neighboring Donetsk. This week, they began shelling the villages inside Zaporizhzhia.

From the north, after capturing the city of Izium at the beginning of the month, Russia has advanced a little.

What is not clear at this stage is whether the Russians are ready for a massive coordinated attack. Reports from Kiev suggest the opposite, but US officials believe Russia is currently conducting “shaping operations… to ensure that it has the logistics and maintenance available”.

Despite this, the ISW assessed that “the Russian military is unlikely to be able to address the root causes – poor coordination, inability to conduct transnational operations, and low morale – that have hindered military operations.” previous attack”.

Donbass war: Russia just needs to break through this thing, no matter how much the Ukrainian army holds out, it will break the battle?  - Photo 2.

Ukraine Tactics

The Ukrainians have shown they are wise tacticians in this conflict when they are ready to give up the battlefield and take advantage of geographical advantages to inflict losses on Russian units.

This week, Ukrainian units withdrew from the town of Kreminna in the Luhansk region in the face of overwhelming fire.

Now, Ukraine must decide whether to place a static defense system, which could result in those units being destroyed or surrounded in the face of artillery attack. Russian rockets and armor.

The alternative is mobile defense – fight and retreat from low-key terrain, counter-attack the Russians when the opponent is back, and then keep your line in the right terrain.

At the same time, the Ukrainians will seek to disrupt Russia’s supply lines – causing embarrassment while challenging Russia’s logistics and morale. According to observers, the morale of some Russian units – redeployed for a second attack in months – may be weakened.

One of Russia’s targets is the city of Sloviansk, but the territory is surrounded by forests, rivers and swamps – difficult to navigate and requires specialized bridging equipment.

In places where the Russians are limited in their direction of movement, such as near Kiev, they are vulnerable to both drones and Ukrainian light anti-tank missiles.

The Ukrainians don’t just play defensively either; In recent days, small units have achieved modest victories east and south of Kharkiv, potentially threatening Russian supply lines. If they can maintain this, the Russians will have to add more units to protect the line.

Even so, Ukrainians also face significant risks. According to CNN, this force is basically fighting in a “cooking pot” that can be closed if the Russians successfully break through in one or more directions.

Ukraine will have to deploy troops intelligently like in Kiev, constantly alert to the danger of encirclement.

Above all, in a race against time, Ukraine needs a constant supply of weapons and ammunition, much of which now comes from outside the country via a supply route vulnerable to interference. They need more anti-tank weapons and mobile air defense systems.

There have been some comments that the Kremlin wants to make clear progress on May 9, when Russia celebrates Victory Day.

At the current rate, this seems unlikely. The more important question is whether the campaign will be extended into the summer, in a grim war of attrition.

The Russian military will have to rotate units, based on limited reserves, to sustain a conflict that has already eroded ground forces. The Kremlin calculation will also be influenced by the effectiveness of Ukraine’s resistance and the ability of Western governments to supply Ukraine with more and better equipment.


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