Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The Ukraine War: A Stalemate?

By David Rehak - July 19, 2023 at 09:06AM


Quite some time ago, I wrote about the major winter/spring offensive which the Russians appeared to be preparing, according to satellite imagery and other indicators, with a massive build-up of forces in the north and south. But nothing much materialized from that. Even after mobilization and training, most of those troops have not yet been put into front-line action.

I've been wondering what is really going on with this ''stalemate'' in Ukraine with the Russian and Ukrainian militaries. It's like something out of WWI trench warfare. No one is budging, except for a recent modest Russian push towards Kharkiv or Kharkov. I've been in touch with my sources and sources of sources to figure out just exactly why there is no significant progress from the Ukrainian offensive and little movement forward from the Russians in ages, so that I can analyze it from a military standpoint, tactical and operational.

Here's the deal. The Russians have put up a sophisticated and impenetrable series of defensive apparatus along the whole 740 km eastern front in Ukraine, at least 2 or 4 and in some places up to 7 different what I would call ''dug in'' layers of defensive line, including bunkers, trenches, barbed wire, dragon's teeth, minefields, and anti-tank traps. These are making it virtually impossible for the Ukrainians to mount a successful counter-offensive, especially without air superiority.

There are Ukrainian formations of leopard and other tanks blown to bits all over the battlefields.

Ukrainians have taken frighteningly high casualties and Russians have taken increasingly less, a ratio of about 1 to 8 or 10. But the regime in Kiev are continuing to push their forces to enter the meat grinder of no man's land and get slaughtered at the command of London and Washington in a desperate attempt to please their Western masters. Certain of the defensive layers expose the vulnerable underbelly of the tanks to Russian firepower and easy destruction, for example.

However, what this deeply dug-in Russian defense also means is that although the Russians can keep the Ukrainians at bay in this strong defense, the Russian military cannot attack and take new ground either from the east, at least not from their fortified defensive positions. They would need to find or create narrow unmolested terrain soft spots or corridors to maneuver around them. It would also still be possible to mount a Russian offensive from northern Russia or Belarus and possibly the south. I think that with sufficient manpower the northern and southern Russian armies could connect behind the Dnieper River in division, brigade and regiment formations in a combined arms maneuver and completely decapitate the Ukrainian supply lines from the west and attack from the rear, although it might not be completely possible to block or blockade the south-western routes from Odessa, Kherson and the Black Sea.

But objectively speaking, there is no way the Ukrainians have a chance on earth of breaking the eastern defense and re-claiming the Donbas and other eastern oblasts, let alone Crimea, as things stand right now. That's why the Ukrainians are waiting for the F-16s to arrive so as to challenge Russian air support. But even this can't be enough. On the defensive side, as it stands today the Ukrainians have weak air defenses and few fighters and very few bombers, for that matter.

On the offensive side, the Ukrainian military's ability to disrupt the Russian supply and re-supply lines has proven limited, even though the Russians depend heavily on railways and their military planning and execution is therefore very predictable. The Ukrainian generals are constantly trying to detect and exploit “weak spots” in the Russian defensive lines, especially in Zaporizhzhia, but with very little success and at a high cost both in Ukrainian lives and materiel.

If I were a front-line Ukrainian general, I would be begging Zelensky to put an end to the massacre as soon as possible. Russia's long-range precision bombardment of Ukrainian offensives and positions, barracks and encampments is a genocide. Why the Russian military hasn't been ordered to exploit this with significant forward movement and capture more ground is anyone's guess. But there are a number of speculative possible answers to that question.

All this to say that, in lieu of any new developments, there is no indication that the war will be ending anytime soon. I don't see the much-discussed Ukrainian counter-offensive having much success, nor at this time do I see the Russians giving any hint of preparing a new major offensive of their own. So the danger of uncertainty and continued hostility lingers on with no end in sight. What a quagmire, literally and figuratively speaking.

But even if the US/UK/EU intervenes militarily at some point on Ukrainian soil to try to break the “stalemate” and Russia begins to suffer and lose the war, then China would almost certainly have a lot to lose from a Russia defeat since they have become key trade partners and China now depends heavily on Russia. So imagine the Chinese military intervening in the conflict on Russia's side. Then imagine the Arab countries also siding with Russia and of course Israel sides with the West. So we end up with the armageddon scenario of Bible prophecy with Russia and China and most of the Middle East along with Africa, Asia, and South America against the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Europe and Israel. World War III. God forbid!



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