Analiza poteka vojne v Ukrajini v prihodnji zimi

Michael Kofman, Director of the Russia Studies Program at the CNA Corporation (sicer rojen v Kijevu), eden bolj izpostavljenih vojaških analitikov ruske vojaške agresije v Ukrajini in kritikov ruske vojske, o prihodnjih mesecih vojne v Ukrajini:

A few thoughts on the current course of the war, and some impressions after a recent visit to Ukraine with several colleagues from the mil analysis community, including areas near the front in Kherson. /1

The general sense one gets is that Ukraine is winning the war & morale is high, but like any military operation, you see friction up close that you can’t from a distance. A fair bit of the UA effort is ground up, based on horizontal linkages, volunteers, apps, etc. 2/

Russia’s military appears at its most vulnerable going into the winter, but UA has seen some modest impact from RU mobilization. Troops are being deployed to try and stabilize Russian lines, and increase force density relative to terrain. 3/

The situation in Kherson is clear as mud. Russian forces seemed to withdraw from some parts, evacuated, and drew down, but also reinforced with mobilized personnel. The fighting there is difficult. Despite constrained supply, Russian forces do not appear to be out of ammo. 4/

I think this is a fog of war issue right now, with contradictory indicators, but to me the preponderance of evidence points to a Russian decision to steadily retreat from the right river bank and avoid being cut off there, while also trying to exact a high cost. 5/

UA folks I spoke to seemed optimistic they can press Russia out of Kherson (west of the river) by the end of the year. There are outstanding questions about the Khakovka dam, and whether RU might sabotage it upon withdrawal. This issue is more salient than talk of RDDs. 6/

Still, it remains unclear whether RU intends to fight for Kherson city, perhaps using more expendable or mobilized units while preserving better troops. I’m skeptical RU will abandon all positions on that side without being forcibly pressed out, but could be wrong on this. 7/

Forcing a Russian retreat from Kherson’s right bank will bring UA systems within range of some ground lines of communication from Crimea. But, it will also give RU forces a large natural barrier, less terrain to defend, and a higher force density to terrain ratio. 8/

Overall, it seems unlikely that the war will die down over the winter, even if some months make offensive operations challenging. UA will likely leverage its advantage in range and precision to attrit the Russian military over this period. 9/

Strikes across Ukraine are leading to blackouts and electricity conservation. UA is resolving these blackouts quickly, and if anything the bombardment campaign bolsters resolve, but over time the challenges from these strikes could mount, straining equipment and ADS ammo. 10/

I’ve been dismissive of the Belarus vector, despite recent RU deployments there. But the situation merits tracking over the coming months if numbers of Russian troops grow and they are provided heavy equipment. 11/

Mobilization, and its potential downstream effect 3-4 months from now introduces a degree of uncertainty. It could extend the war, or make future UA offensives more costly, but I think UA is preparing for a range of possibilities depending on what mobilization yields. 12/

On mobilization I largely hold to the thoughts in this earlier thread. It seems RU is taking a staggered approach, throwing some mobilized personnel with little training to stabilize lines, but holding many back to reconstitute units or form reserves. 13/

RU strategy appears to be focused on defense over the winter, hoping that mobilization can rebuild their forces. If the pressure lets up they will use the time to get more equipment out of storage (including from Belarus) & potentially ammo from sources like DPRK. 14/

In the east RU forces appear desperate to hold the Troitske-Svatove-Kreminna line and are trying to dig in for the winter. Here a UA breakout could prove significant. In general it seems RU approach is to try and fix a defensible line and hope to maintain over the winter. 15/

UA objectives are likely to prevent Russian force reconstitution over the winter, generate additional forces in the interim (which requires more equipment), and acquire air defenses to reduce the threat from the Russian strike campaign against critical infrastructure. 16/

Vir: Michael Kofman, Twitter

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