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The theater of war today: difficulties and strengths of Russia and Ukraine facing a decisive battle

The Russians continue to accumulate forces and there is already talk of an attack device in the Great offensive that they prepare from 170 thousand soldiers to occupy the entire Ukrainian East and South. Absolute priority to victory in the very rich Donbas region to definitively consolidate Russian power in the small republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

One of the best-informed journalists on the war, Yaroslav Trofinov of the Wall Street Journal, reiterates that “the date of the attack the Russians will put it”. Hours, days or weeks, but “when the right time comes”.

World War II-style maneuvers are diffused on the maps. broad gallop of thousands of tanks through the plains that dominate the geography of the east.

Russian military vehicle convoys moving east. Photo: AP

Surrounding maneuvers to isolate and surround the Ukrainians, who have in the east his best brigades, with veterans who have been fighting since 2014 in the low-intensity war for control of the rich Donbas region, where the two small Russophile republics are located; a conflict that has already left 14,000 dead.

The Russians They don’t want to repeat the mistakes that frustrated the first phase of the invasion that began on February 24.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Gen. Alexander Dvornikovwhich has already successfully practiced in Syria and elsewhere the Russian military tradition of massing attacks with powerful artillery shells, missiles and rockets plus aerial bombardment until it achieved the scorched earth and open the way for tanks and infantry.

General Dvornikov asked for more autonomy for the military command, after in the first phase of the invasion they reached the theaters of war too many direct orders from Moscow. Putin granted it.

The recruitment of recent weeks has called many soldiers into service who they retired already in 2012in search of improve material quality human. In the first phase, Ukrainian and Western calculations add up to losses of almost 20,000 dead Russian soldiers.

This recruitment takes even more time. The offensive has already started but preparations are still under way. The railway specialists they are repairing many lines necessary to transport men and means. They have already put the networks sabotaged by the Ukrainians in Kupyuansk, Kharkov, Izium and Svatove.

The Russian advantage

the russians have a big advantage. The Ukrainian east borders on the Russian border. From Rostov-on-Don, the land of the Cossacks, go north a great highway which has become these days the vital artery through which military supplies and reinforcements of soldiers from all over Russia flow south,

A great highway that these days has become the vital artery through which Russian supplies flow south.  Photo: EFE

A great highway that these days has become the vital artery through which Russian supplies flow south. Photo: EFE

The maneuvers draw various tongs who seek to create pockets of Ukrainian troops. From the north descend the columns coming from Kharkov, the second metropolis of Ukraine, and the city of Izium, converted into a strategic axis.

In an easterly direction, from the Russian border, troops advance towards Lugansk and Donetsk. From the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed in 2014, the Russians are moving in the direction of Kherson, Militopol and Berdyansk.

The strategic and tactical movements, according to some experts point out that there will be a great battle around and for the possession of the city of Slovyank as a consequence of the Russian impetus to consolidate the occupation of Donbas.

One tactic that experts evoke is that of isolate and surround pockets of Ukrainian troops to hammer them with aerial and artillery bombardment, but without direct contact until they have been reduced.

the ukrainians they know the terrain much better and they will try to speed up the movements of their battalions as much as possible. The eastern and southern plains favor the russians.

For the Ukrainians it will be more difficult to gather large forces and supplies. They will try to divide the Russians into two parts. They say that Zaporizha, a southern city that the invading troops failed to take, may become the critical point if the Ukrainians manage to surround it and quickly descend, to completely cut the front in two.

A problem for the Russians is the vastness of the Ukrainian plains, that look like the Argentine pampas. Some drawings on the map are not realistic because transplanted to the geographical reality mean up to two thousand kilometers. Much more troops are needed to close those gaps.

A major factor now putting the Russians in a hurry is the arms supplies from the West that bolster the Ukrainians.

Intelligence sources indicate that it reaches a dozen the pace of daily flights west of the country, from which the Russians have withdrawn. There is also a continuous coming and going of trucksvans and smaller vehicles transporting weapons overland from Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, no Russians in sight.

North American President Joe Biden announced shipments of 700 million dollars, which brings US contributions to almost two billion.

is anticipated a leap in quality with more offensive weapons. Like the M17 helicopters capable of attacking Russian armor and other vehicles in the Donbas battles. The Pentagon would be studying consigning intermediate-range artillery with Howitzer howitzers, drones for coastal defense and protection equipment in case of chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.

The Machine of US Assistance to Ukraine is extended depending on the second phase of the war which promises to be decisive. Deputy Defense Minister Kathleen Hicks has met with the directors of eight private companies that build weapons suitable for Ukrainians.

Czech Republic has given soviet tanks that the ukrainians they know how to drive and Slovakia artillery teams. Meanwhile European countries increase shipments of thousands of Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft weapons. Ukrainians demand ammunition of all kinds which is beginning to run out.

The risk of a nuclear bomb

It is known that Ukrainian soldiers are being brought to the West to be trained in the handling of the new weaponry.

The general picture introduces a dramatic element: if the Russians wear out in the initiative of the Great Offensive and the wide spaces of the Ukrainian plains ruin more than one encircling maneuver, the arrival of offensive weapons from the West can lighting Vladimir Putin’s favorite fuse to face the crisis.

Threatening again to enter the battlefield, as a demonstrative effect, a tactical nuclear bomb, to show that he’s willing to take a war he can’t win to a hellish level.

Rome, correspondent


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