Final show of Ukraine war is underway

The last act of the present “setup” of Ukraine war is on and the final curtain will highly likely fall down by the summer 2023 … but WWIII is yet looming. How so? Let’s analyze the current situation in relevant details.

Latest military situation on the frontlines

Russian forces (RF) have been on the active move all the time on different frontlines in 2023. RF delivered a massive retaliatory strike on key Ukrainian military sites with precision weapons, including Kinzhal hypersonic missiles on March 9 and all the designated targets were struck, the Defense Ministry’s spokesman General Konashenkov stressed. The strike disrupted the deployment of reserves and the railway carriages of foreign-made weapons for the Ukrainian military. The strike destroyed the bases of unmanned aerial vehicles, disrupted the deployment of reserves and the railway carriages of foreign-made armaments and knocked out the capacities for the repair of military hardware and the production of ammunition.

The initiative of operations has been by Russian troops, who are active along the whole frontline, from north to south. RF have continued the winter offensive on multiple fronts. Operationally Russian forces have been divided into four army corps: in the north (Kupyansk direction) the “Zapad” Group of Forces, in the north-east (Krasny Liman direction) the “Tsentr” Group of Forces, in Donetsk direction the “Yug” Group of Forces, in South Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Kherson directions, the “Vostok” Group of Forces

Kupyansk direction

This frontline has been stable, just Ukrainian commando and scouting groups making single strikes as well as artillery duels. Russian forces have destroyed daily about 30-50 Ukrainian troops and 3-5 items of military hardware over past few weeks. RF have not made any large-scale operations. On the other hand, this region seems to be one of those target regions, where Russia’s “Big Arrow offensive” might be directed. Two large towns, north of Kupyansk, are Sumy and Kharkov and their destiny will be crucial on this theater of operation.

Krasny Liman direction

This operational region has been active for the whole first quarter of 2023. Russian forces have eliminated daily about 100-150 Ukrainian troops and 8-15 items of equipment in the Krasny Liman area over the past three months. Russian troops have advanced in Serebryansky forest (Kremensky forest) in fierce battles and fighting is expanding to Oskil-river direction. No doubt, this region will be one of those centers of gravity in terms of action. Both this and Donetsk directions are decisive to the destiny of Seversk region.

Donetsk direction

On this theater of operation, the fiercest fighting has been seen in Bakhmut-Soledar region, where Soledar has already fallen to RF in January. Here AFU is suffering its biggest losses, even a battalion per day (some day even more) as well as huge material losses. Thus far, AFU has been feeding more and more new troops instead of losses but the decisive question is “How long AFU is willing to this meat-grinding?” There has been much speculation, when Bakhmut will fall or when AFU decides to withdraw troops from there. Another hot spot in this direction is Avdiivka region.

It appears now that AFU is planning and preparing a possible counter-offensive just on this theater, although the odds are against it and foresee crushing losses to AFU. If realized, this AFU offensive may be a crucial defeat in this war and entail total collapses in numerous places of the frontlines, thus speeding up the end of the hostilities.

Southern Donetsk and Zaporozhye directions

In the southern Donetsk and Zaporozhye directions, the frontline has been stable except two hot spots Vuhledar/Ugledar and Marinka, where fierce fighting has taken place. Along frontline has been artillery duels. Both sides have prepared possible offensives later in the spring time. Losses of both sides have been at low level, except the hot spots.

Kherson direction

After the last autumn withdrawal of RF to the east side of Dnieper River, this Kherson region has been quite calm, just artillery duels. However, during last couple of weeks, RF has activated the use of artillery and rocket forces and induced heavy losses to AFU, both troop losses but especially vehicles and other equipment losses. One reason may be Transnistrian events, the other obviously that RF is planning to return to Kherson later in the spring and is now trying to “soft down” AFU fighting capability in this direction.

Country-wide air strikes in Ukraine

Russian Forces have launched some massive air strikes in the following way in 2023:

On 10 February, Russian Forces launched a massive attack, using high-precision long-range air-, sea-, and ground-based armament, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, against the crucial power facilities that operated Ukraine’s defense industrial complex and transport system. Russian authorities said that all the assigned targets have been neutralized. The operation of energy-intensive facilities of the defense industrial complex has been halted. In addition, the railway redeployment of foreign armament, munitions and reserves to the operations areas has been blocked.

On 16 February, Russian Forces launched a concentrated missile attack, using high-precision long-range air- and sea-based armament, against the enterprises that provided the AFU with fuel and munitions. Russian authorities said that all the assigned targets have been neutralized. The attack has resulted in the interruption of fuel supplies to the AFU groups, considerable reduction of capabilities in producing explosive substances, powders and solid propellants.

On 9 March, in response to the terrorist acts in the Bryansk region organized by the Kiev regime on 2 March this year, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation carried out a massive retaliatory strike. High-precision, long-range air-, sea- and land-based weapons, including the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system, hit key elements of Ukraine’s military infrastructure, defense and industrial complex enterprises, as well as energy facilities that support them. All the assigned targets have been neutralized. The strike destroyed unmanned drone strike sites, disrupted the movement of reserves and railway transport of foreign weapons and impeded military repair and ammunition production facilities.

Russia has fired 81 missiles of various types over Ukraine on the night of 8-9 March, with Ukrainian Air Defense alleging to shoot down 34 out of the 48 cruise missiles. 81 missiles of various types were launched:  28 launches of Kh-101/Kh-555 air-launched cruise missiles; 20 launches of Kalibr sea-launched cruise missiles; 6 launches of Kh-22 air-launched cruise missiles; 6 launches of Kh-47 Kinzhal air-launched cruise missiles; 8 launches of guided air missiles: two Kh-31P and six X-59; 13 launches of S-300 anti-aircraft guided missiles. In addition, 8 Shahed-136/131 attack UAVs were launched.

Kinzahl Kh-47M2

It is worth to underline that this was the first time, when Russian Air Forces used as many as six Kinzal-missiles in one-day strike during the entire Special Military Operation in Ukraine. Using hypersonic missiles in such quantities, is clearly a strong message from Russia to the NATO. Russia is capable and willing to eliminate any target, any time when seeing it necessary in this operation. Furthermore, Russia will utilize its Air Forces in massive way, when the final act is going.

I have studied hypersonic missiles in my article “Overview of hypersonic weapons, autumn 2021, October 28, 2021.

Kinzhal (Kh-47M2) hypersonic air-launched missile system, is based on the Iskander ballistic missile and represents the first successful adaptation of a ballistic missile for airborne carry. Its top speed is of Mach 10 or over 12,000 km/h and its combat range is about 2000 km.

Now Kinzhal’s carrier is the MiG-31K all-weather interceptor fighter, in the future that role could also be undertaken by the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter as well as the strategic bomber TU-22M3 as a carrier.  The first Kinzhals entered limited-scale service in December 2017. The serial production of Kinzhal missiles have been obviously started since 2020.

In the picture, Mig-31 fighter with hypersonic Kinzal-missile.

Strikes, on March 9, were directed to several regions in Ukraine:

Kyiv and Kyiv region, Sumy, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Vinnitsa, Odessa and Nikolaev regions.

Other activities

Transnistrian Special Service foils assassination attempt on republic’s top officials, which was prepared under orders from the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). In addition, grenade launchers were fired at an ammunition depot near the village of Kolbasna, which serves as a storage facility for roughly 20,000 tons of ammunition removed from European countries after Soviet troops withdrew. That warehouse has been a main target of anticipated AFU offensive during last couple of weeks.

A base of Ukrainian submariners on the island of Maisky, in the vicinity of city of Nikolaev, where UK military instructors had been preparing underwater drones for attacks on Russia’s military ships, has been destroyed by the Russian military. British instructors had been sent there to train how to use underwater drones but the Russian rocket force and artillery hit the target on February 25. The explosion was very powerful and was “detonating for a long time,” which means that the local ammunition warehouse had been completely destroyed and many premises of the base had been flooded. The underwater drones had been being prepared for an operation related to alleged Kiev’s attack on Transnistria. These were to attack Russian ships in the Black Sea near Odessa and at the base in Sevastopol during an attack on Transnistria.

There is plenty of photo and video material of a massive array of US military equipment staged on the docks of the Port of Gdynia in Poland. Similar pictures also from German ports. In addition to already known material, new shipments include some interesting new weapons like JDAM-ER gliding bombs. Is this a bluff or is the United States and its NATO allies ramping up to support a Ukrainian attempt to retake the Crimea and other territories invaded by Russia? No doubt, Russia’s military intelligence is keeping close track of equipment and troop movements”.

The Ukrainian planned spring offensive is likely to appear to the Russians as a casus belli involving NATO direct participation. The most likely Russian response could be to attack stockpiles and massing areas in Poland and Romania and, almost certainly, airfields supporting the war. Russian strategists have the opinion that Polish forces might also move into Ukraine, perhaps taking Lviv (Lvov) or other prizes, hedging that the Ukrainian offensive might fail or that the Russians are successful in toppling Kyiv’s government.

Riots, tumults and mob violence, which appears to be organized, have been taking place in last few days in Georgia. This seems “misleadingly” resemble a colour revolution, “Maidan 2.0”. Perhaps Mrs. Nuland is organizing a new front against Russia.  

China’s position and recent activities have been exceptionally interesting and relevant also to the Ukrainian crisis. This topic will be studied in my next article on this website.

General Konashenkov, spokesman of Russian Ministry of Defense (RMOD), reported on March 10, 2023. In total, 400 airplanes and 218 helicopters, 3,373 unmanned aerial vehicles, 411 air defense missile systems, 8,249 tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, 1,055 combat vehicles equipped with MLRS, 4,315 field artillery cannons and mortars, as well as 8,830 units of special military equipment have been destroyed during the special military operation.

Strategic view on the current military situation

Based on numerous statements and reports of Biden administration, the purpose of current conflict in Ukraine is going to remain a war of attrition that will bleed the Russian army dry. However, the fact is that the Ukrainian military is drained, the Western supply chains are strained and the NATO stockpiles of critical weapons and ammunition are depleted. The war is transitioning, therefore, into a conflict in which the Russian side will enjoy several critical advantages. 

For those under the impression that the attritional warfare will lead to stalled frontline, peace negotiation process and a compromised settlement, seems to live in illusion. The Russians’ numerical superiority over Ukraine’s force structure alone will ensure that they achieve the victory they’ve been waiting for. Russia does not trust on the West at all and they have no reason, what so ever, to negotiate on anything except dictate an unconditional surrender order to the regime of Ukraine.

The outcome of this war, a defeat for Ukraine and its NATO backers, was totally avoidable. Sensing the weakness of the West – and the fact that they’re woefully overextended – the Russians are going to use all means to break Ukraine and subdue it. The beginning of the end is highly likely happening right now in Bakhmut, where collapse of this frontline causes a domino effect in many other parts of the Ukraine-Russia frontline.

Russian forces have spent months implementing an encirclement of the city. At the start of February, Ukraine’s embattled President Volodymyr Zelensky had insisted that his military would fight to the bitter end in Bakhmut. Yet such heroic declarations from Kiev must have fallen on deaf ears in the field, as reports are now circulating that the Ukrainian defenders are increasingly strained. Further, Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials have repeatedly said over the last few weeks that they will pull forces from Bakhmut, if they believe the situation is getting untenable. 

So far, the Russian plan of bleeding the Ukrainians in Bakhmut dry appears to be working. So, Ukraine will be forced withdrawing its forces from the besieged city. Bakhmut alone is obviously not such important for either side but it lies on the path to the Dnieper River, a heart of trade and transportation, a geo-strategic chokepoint within Ukraine. Thus far, the Ukrainians have been unable to dislodge the Russian forces in the area. Should Bakhmut be taken over by Russian Forces as it seems to be, the real concern in the West must be for the fate of the Dnieper. 

The Russians’ strategy of attrition is working and their ultimate goal is to hold on to the eastern Russian-speaking portions of Ukraine as well as Crimea in the south. Pushing Ukraine’s forces out of Bakhmut would conceivably allow Russia to race toward the Dnieper and cut the region off from the rest of Ukraine. Russian control over the Dnieper would also prevent the Ukrainians from launching an ill-advised assault on Crimea.

The slow death of the Ukrainian state, in the pre-war formation, is at hand. Whether it happens in a few months or a year, the Russians are not going anywhere. They are going to fight this war the same way they’ve fought every conflict in their history: with lots of heavy artillery and manpower, using brutal force and taking time and now time is on their side. 

Given the losses the Ukrainians have sustained fighting in Bakhmut and other Donbass regions, the battle tanks, promised by the West, will make no difference for Ukraine’s defense, when they finally do arrive.

The troop and material losses that Ukraine’s military has sustained in the vain attempt to maintain control over Bakhmut has resulted in a severe reduction in Ukraine’s offensive capabilities that is unlikely to be restored any time soon. Kiev is plotting an assault on Russian-controlled Crimea (or other regions). Even at full capacity, the Ukrainians would have found taking this hardened, Russian-controlled region tough to take. Under present conditions, any attempt by Ukraine to attack Crimea will result in total disaster for the West.

The Russians now have time on their side. Moscow does not have any reason to negotiate. Ukraine is on the retreat and its forces are unlikely to be able to mount an effective offensive any time soon.

The Russo-Ukrainian war is entering its next critical phase. It is a period in which the West must seriously reassess its commitment, as the Russians are not going to surrender or abandon their mission of crushing the Ukrainian state. While the Zelensky government could have been saved a year ago, the arrogance of Western leaders prevented a deal from moving forward. 

Because the Western side will lose in Ukraine, it just needs to determine how badly it wants to lose.

If these above-mentioned prognostications on the two spring offensives, Ukrainian and Russian, are anywhere near correct – and there is plenty of evidence suggesting both offensives are being prepared – then Europe is on the brink of a great catastrophe.

Let’s hope there are some real reassessments going on right now in the White House and in Brussels. Otherwise, we are truly staring down a third world war that will involve nukes – and it is a war that the US is not going to be able to win without destroying itself first, just as the European great powers did in the First World War.

Two videos and an article

There are two very interesting and important videos available analyzing the current situation, here below, very advisable both videos:

Col. MacGregor: Ukraine has been DESTROYED and there’s nothing left | Redacted with Clayton Morris

Ukrainian president Zelensky just admitted that American troops will be needed to keep Ukraine from total collapse. At the same time NATO announces Ukraine will become a member of the alliance before too long. MacGregor sees that the statements of US (Biden administration) and the UK (Sunak administration) do not give other choice to Russia but to fight and win this war.

Putin just changed EVERYTHING with this move and NATO can’t do anything | Redacted w Clayton Morris

Former UN weapons inspector, US Major Scott Ritter, to explain how Ukraine is on the ropes, no matter what Ukraine or NATO does.

This article explains, why Biden administration is making up fallacious stories regarding the culprits of NS pipeline detonation.

An article in Consortium News “As Bakhmut Falls, US May Turn From Ukraine, Starting With Pipeline Story” March 8, 2023, by Joel Lauria.

The writer refers to recent articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post, regarding new aspects of Nord Stream pipelines detonation. Distancing Begins . . . US officials to begin distancing the U.S. from Ukraine, claiming Washington has limited influence on Kiev, despite years of evidence to the contrary. The piece appears to be preparing the Western public for an abrupt about face in Ukraine because of a litany of Ukrainian operations the US says it opposed.