Russian troops regroup in eastern Ukraine. Now the offensive in Donbass is planned. An expert expects “even bloodier” battles.
Munich – “If the Russian offensive begins in a coordinated manner, then we will have an artillery bombardment such as we have not seen in Europe since 1945, perhaps with the exception of the Balkan wars.” Franz-Stefan Gady said in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The analyst and research fellow at the British research institute Institute for International Strategic Studies gave an assessment of the escalated Ukraine conflict – in particular how the “next phase of the war” will proceed.
Ukraine war: “Crushing tactical defeat for Russia” – but no collapse
As a result of the peace negotiations in Istanbul, Russian troops had withdrawn from northern Ukraine and from the suburbs of the capital Kyiv. Supposedly, this was a measure to build trust between Russia and Ukraine. However, experts saw strategic calculation behind the troop movement and described the scenario of a major offensive in eastern Ukraine.
Gady, too, now stated: “It was a devastating tactical defeat of the Russian armed forces.” The Russian troops could not have achieved any of their goals and had to suffer high losses. However, it is not a collapse. The withdrawal was “effective” and “well managed”.
Ukraine War: “The Next Phase of the War”
According to the expert, the next phase of the war is now beginning. Russia has been massing troops in eastern Ukraine for days. The Russian units were also able to take Isjum. According to Gady, Izyum could become the “linchpin of the offensive”. From the Ukrainian city you can get to many regions in the east of Ukraine. In addition, the Russian troops were there behind the Ukrainian defense line.
That same offensive is imminent. Russia could benefit from acting quickly before new arms deliveries arrive from Western countries – Germany in particular is still arguing about how to proceed with heavy weapons for Ukraine. Russia is currently targeting fuel depots and transport routes in particular. According to the expert, this is preparation for a ground offensive. The aim is to stop Ukrainian supplies, said Gady der Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Ukraine war: It is now highly likely that there will be a “mechanized war”
According to the expert, there is a high probability that mechanized units will now engage in major battles: “It will become even bloodier, the battles even more violent.” Larger weapon systems can come into their own in this dynamic. “Armored vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, battle tanks, artillery, air support, medium and long-range missiles, anti-aircraft missiles” must now be used effectively. “These are the systems that the Ukrainian military needs now.”
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, as well as representatives of the other governing parties, spoke out in favor of the delivery of heavy weapons. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, however, was cautious. There have been no deliveries yet. The light weapons systems that the Ukrainians have been supplied with so far may often not be really useful in the field.
However, the coordination of the armed forces is also essential for this form of military conflict. So far, Russia has had problems with it. According to the expert, however, Russian troops are designed for this type of war. Should there be a well-coordinated offensive by Russian troops, “then we will have an artillery bombardment such as we have not seen in Europe since 1945, with the possible exception of the Balkan wars. As a human being, you first have to endure that psychologically.”
Ukraine war: encirclement battles and the coordinated withdrawal of the Ukrainians
Nevertheless, Gady does not believe that the Russian troops are capable of the speed required to encircle the Ukrainian troops: “I now consider the idea of a encirclement battle to be outdated.” Russia will now rely on “the massive use of firepower”. However, this is only one aspect of a possible boiler battle. On the other hand, you have to be able to break through enemy positions quickly. This is the only way to paralyze the enemy and ultimately bring him to surrender. In addition, Russia’s advances against Ukrainian positions are vulnerable. According to the expert, the Ukrainians could still start a coordinated retreat: “I think that’s the most likely scenario.” (LP)
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