Russia prepares new attack on Ukraine as Western allies approve more weapons

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a ceremony commemorating the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad on February 2 in Volgograd, Russia. (Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Volgograd on Thursday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory over the Nazis at Stalingrad, declaring that “we are again threatened by German Leopard tanks”. .

In recent years, Putin has directly compared the attempt to conquer Ukraine with what the Russians call the Great Patriotic War. “Time and again we are forced to repel attacks by Western groups,” he said.

Also, in a characteristic way, Putin misunderstood the facts. During World War II, the Nazis never operated a tank named after a leopard. Regarding the “collective West” there was no mention of Joseph Stalin’s invasion of Poland 16 days after Adolf Hitler. This was due to the mutually agreed division of Eastern Europe, which culminated in the joint victory parade of German and Soviet forces in Brest. – Litovsk on September 22, 1939.

Putin’s revisionist history says Russia is preparing for a major offensive in Ukraine, which could be the one-year anniversary of the February 24 invasion.

“I think Russia really wants some kind of big retaliation. I don’t think we can provide convincingly positive results for our society.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has suggested the Kremlin could deploy half a million soldiers to launch its first invasion, more than double the original number deployed a year ago.An unnamed source in the Russian military interviewed by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta Sources were skeptical that it would succeed, but confirmed that a massive push was in the offing.minced meat” Moreover, the Ukrainians “have obtained completely accurate information about all our movements from Western intelligence services.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday. (Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

Last month, Russia reorganized its war leadership, appointing General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff and commander of all Ukrainian armed forces, and appointing his predecessor, General Sergei Slovikin, as one of three lieutenants. demoted to.british ministry of defense called The move “demonstrates the increasingly serious situation facing Russia and clearly acknowledges that the campaign falls short of Russia’s strategic objectives”. Along with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, he has so far come under successive attacks from Russian hawks and ultranationalists for the poor performance of the military in Ukraine. Believed to be under significant political pressure to bring Putin some tangible victory in .

But while there are tales of an imminent major attack, there is little visible evidence. Recent satellite footage shows no major new build-up of Russian troops and supplies along the Russian or Belarusian borders. that it may not have flowed in and provided the additional armor and artillery needed for combined arms warfare. Raw meat for the grinder.

An Estonian military analyst who requested anonymity told Yahoo News this week that the rumored Russian attack was likely already underway. “There is some confidence that Russia is still there,” the sources said, adding that unless Russia’s losses approach those experienced during its hasty and humiliating withdrawal from Kharkov, Putin will likely launch another major mobilization effort. He added that he was reluctant to announce the September last year. “I doubt Putin has a good image of America’s position and readiness.” [his] unit.

A Ukrainian military man holds a portrait of his brother-in-law Volodymyr Androschuk

A Ukrainian soldier keeps a portrait of his brother, who was recently killed in a battle with Russian forces near Bakhmut. (Valentin Ogilenko/Reuters)

Now the epicenter of fighting in the country is Bakhmut, a city of lesser strategic importance than symbolic value for both Kyiv and Moscow. Bakhmut now remains in Ukrainian hands, but is under increasingly heavy attack from the Russian army, supported by tens of thousands of newly mobilized Russian conscripts and an unknown number of mercenaries. Many are recently released prisoners. Ex-convict and Russian catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin finances the Wagner Group, Russia’s notorious private military corporation. international criminal organization.

A U.S. official told Yahoo News that Prigozhin had spent billions of dollars to take Bakhmut, and that the oligarchs were using profits from foreign battlefields to support Iran’s Quds Forces before the U.S. assassination in Baghdad. He said he appeared to be distributing into ambitious political roles reminiscent of General Qassem Soleimani. Along with Ramzan Kadyrov, the ruler of the semi-autonomous republic of Chechnya, Prigozhin attacked Gerasimov and Shoigu’s handling of the war candidly on Telegram. He routinely portrays Wagner as the only qualified and brave warrior cadre on the Russian side, an assessment many Russian military bloggers agree with. As a Patron, I am not concerned about Wagner’s devastating loss at Bahmut. In fact, Prigozhin only despises the mercenaries who were captured undefeated in battle for celebrating the revenge murder with the sledgehammer of one of his own employees, a returning prisoner of war.

Still, Wagner and the Russian army are slowly advancing. They captured the salt-mining city of Soledar, just north of Bakhmut on his 16th January, and are advancing south in an attempt to cut off the Ukrainian supply lines that keep the city’s garrisons at war.

Russian forces are also trying to consolidate their ground around Vhleda, south of Donetsk, using multiple rocket systems TOS-1A to bombard the city still firmly in Kyiv’s hands. However, Ukrainian and Russian military sources say the Vuhledar push only resulted in high casualties for Russian forces, confirmed by images of dead bodies and destroyed equipment posted on social media. As Estonian military analysts noted, the last time the Russians got serious for Vuhledar was months ago. It was also a loss. They lost his two naval battalions in his three days. Ukraine, meanwhile, is slowly advancing in Kreminna, north of Bakhmut.

In Luhansk, the only local mobile phone provider has informed subscribers that it will suspend all mobile internet services effective February 11th. Luhansk, along with neighboring Donetsk Oblast, are her two regions in Ukraine and were first occupied by a hodgepodge of Russian warlords, mercenaries, spies and regular troops not long after Crimea was occupied in 2014. The pretext for Putin’s “special military operation” in February was a series of fabricated Ukrainian provocations in Donbass, where the two provinces are collectively known.

“Putin wants to take all Donbass by March 2023,” a Western diplomat told Yahoo News. “And he doesn’t care what the cost is.”

But the price of war is always rising.

President Biden arrives at Philadelphia International Airport on Friday.

President Biden at Philadelphia International Airport on Friday. (Elizabeth Franz/Reuters)

Part of the new American weapons package for Ukraine announced by the Pentagon on Friday is a commission of ground-launched small-caliber bombs, a rocket-launched ground version of the air-launched GBU-39 small-caliber bomb, which was launched by the U.S. Air Force in 2006. It has been used successfully in numerous wars since it was adopted by the Guided by a Global Positioning System, this bomb is highly accurate, operating in all conditions and hitting within 1 yard of her on the designated target.

Ukraine’s lack of long-range fire capability over previously supplied artillery rockets was a capability gap that the Ukrainian military has long lamented. The United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany sent M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) or M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) to Kyiv, but both ammunition has so far been limited to 50 miles or so. increase. This would force Russia to move its fuel and ammunition depots out of bounds, complicating already strained Russian logistics, as well as further complicating Ukraine’s ability to corrode its supply lines. increase.

The introduction of ground-launched small-caliber munitions would reduce the areas for Russian forces to retreat. It has a maximum range of 94 miles, almost double the longest-range ammunition known to be in the Ukrainian arsenal. Russian-occupied Zaporizhia and Kherson, most of Russian-occupied Donbass, and the northern third of Russian-occupied Crimea will be within range if his GLSDB arrives in the spring. right.

One U.S. official said an early problem plaguing artillery supplies to Ukraine was that Ukrainians depleted their ammunition stocks too quickly and fired expensive payloads into low- or medium-value targets. I told Yahoo News that there is. Currently, inventories and logistics dominate the ongoing debate on security assistance over escalating fears against Russia. This is currently the main reason the Biden administration has yet to agree to deploy an Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), the official said, which has a range of 190 miles and would immediately target all Russian military positions in Ukraine. I would put it close. Each ATACMS costs $1 million. It is also no longer manufactured by Lockheed Martin, and international supply is declining.

Ground-launched small-caliber bombs, on the other hand, are “off the shelf” and are currently being mass-produced by Boeing and Saab. Additionally, manufacturers say they are or will eventually be compatible with HIMARS or M270 MLRS, even though the US is reportedly sending another ground launcher to launch them. That’s what I mean.