Military situation in Ukraine war, April 2023
Ukraine crisis has been studied many times on my website, the focus being sometimes on the big picture, sometimes on details. Most recently, January 27, the article “Ukraine crisis: overview of 2022, outlook for 2023” examined the wide perspective and the article of April 3 “Situation Report of Ukraine war, March 2023”, mainly focusing on details.
Pentagon document leaks
The Biden administration is investigating a leak of classified documents that allegedly detail US and NATO plans for the Ukrainian military ahead of its counteroffensive this spring against Russian forces.
The leak took place in early April and the New York Times reported the documents were leaked on Twitter and Telegram and represent a significant breach of US intelligence. The leak of over 100 photographed pages of documents dated between late February and early March and labeled “Secret,” “Top Secret,” and “NOFORN” (not for viewing by foreign nationals) related to the ongoing war in Ukraine. The documents contain a range of intelligence assessments about the war in Ukraine but also sensitive intelligence about countries around the world. The documents depict US and Ukrainian perspectives of what is needed for the counteroffensive but there were no details about when or where Kiev would launch its operation.
Some days later, a 21-year-old US Air National Guardsman has been arrested over a leak of classified military intelligence. Jack Teixeira, who reportedly shared the files in an online gaming chatroom, faces charges under the Espionage Act. The documents he leaked revealed intelligence about the war in Ukraine and US spying on allies. Many experts and analysts, in America and abroad, are suspicious, how does a 21year old person has this kind of access to the top-secret documents. No wonder, different conspiracy theories are spinning around.
When media reported on the first batch of leaked Pentagon briefing slides, they also published pictures of the originals. Then came a second round and those leaks were labeled as new or from a previously unknown source. It is also curious about the selective reporting of a second stash of documents by mainstream media. No pictures of the underlying briefing slides have appeared in this second round of “leaks”.
The leaked documents disclose some very interesting facts
The state of Ukraine’s air defenses. A Pentagon assessment is that Kiev’s stocks of Soviet-made Buk and S-300 missile systems (90% of the country’s air defenses), would be “fully depleted” by Russian forces, in late April. Therefore, Ukrainian forces’ frontline protection would be “completely reduced” by May. Ukraine no longer has an Air Defense capability that can shoot down Russian missiles and combat aircraft flying above 6 km. During the past weeks, the Russians have been using more aerial delivered bombs launched by combat aircraft.
Ukrainian artillery is firing about 7,700 shells per day. Russia is firing more — by some estimates triple that amount, indicating AFU facing a shortage of ammo.
The document highlights apparent major shortfalls within Ukraine’s Armed Forces and warns that Kiev would be able to secure only “modest territorial gains”, if it decided to launch a spring offensive. The document complaints that Kiev does not have the necessary long-range missile capabilities for such strikes.
The United States and its allies are actively preparing the Ukrainian armed forces for a spring counteroffensive planned for April 30, Newsweek magazine reported citing the leaked classified documents from the Pentagon and US intelligence. The documents indicate that the counteroffensive “will be undertaken by Ukraine’s 10th Operational Corps” and be made up of nine brigades which are currently being re-equipped by US and allied forces.” “The total amount of equipment needed for the 9 brigades is 253 tanks, 381 mechanized vehicles, 480 vehicles, 147 artillery pieces and 571 American armored vehicles.”
According to US intelligence, the loss of Artyomovsk (Ukrainian name Bakhmut), which is gradually falling into the hands of Russian forces, “will be a psychological blow” for the Ukrainian army. The morale of Ukrainian soldiers in the city is already reported to be low.
US military experts are concerned about the effectiveness of the Wagner PMCs – a source in the US Department of Defense (DoD) said. DoD recently conducted an in-depth analysis of the activities of the Wagner PMCs and came to the conclusion that no western similar structure can compare with their units. DoD Insiders are concerned about the Wagner PMCs, because it is the most highly organized and combat-ready PMCs in the world, surpassing even the American Blackwater PMCs, the British Aegis Defense Service PMCs, the French Salamandre PMCs.
The news adds to an increasingly bleak picture of the state of Ukraine’s military that has emerged from top-secret intelligence documents that leaked on social media. The documents show that Washington has grave concerns about Kyiv’s dwindling ammunition and air defenses, which could cause it to fall short of its goals for the anticipated spring counteroffensive.
Situation Report on the front lines, late April
Russia has continued ”meat-grinding” tactics on all frontlines and Ukraine has consented to this way of warfare feeding more and more troops into “blackholes”, causing itself very heavy losses. Russia is slowly advancing on all fronts, particularly Donetsk and Krasny Liman directions but the main feature is positional warfare, artillery duels and some scouting operations.
The Bakhmut/Artyomovsk region seems to be the central battlefield of the Ukrainian war, Ukrainian control of the city is down to 10% by late April. Meanwhile, Russian Airborne Force units sealed off Artyomovsk from its northern and southern outskirts, army aviation aircraft and artillery of the southern battlegroup continued providing support to the Wagner assault teams inside the city. However, heavy fighting is ongoing along the entire front line in the Donbass, including in the northern Kupyansk-Svatovo-Kremennaya region. The Russian military is still holding military initiative in the area.
Russian forces have thwarted the Ukrainian army’s attempts to counter-attack in Artyomovsk and some settlements in the Donetsk region. The daily losses of AFU troops have stayed at high level (up to 300-500) in Donetsk area. AFU troops have still the decreasing western part of the city under their control. Russian troops have a full fire control over all highways to and from Bakhmut and retreating AFU troops suffer high losses. Avdeevka is encircled by Russian troops.
A new special feature has been adopted by Russian Forces: strategic strikes on targets behind the front line like command posts, troops and reserves concentrations, equipment accumulations, warehouses of UAVs, ammo depots, fuel depots, ordnance depots etc. The purpose of the strikes is to slow down and block the AFU potential counteroffensive.
There is still a probability that the AFU will launch a counteroffensive in the Bakhmut/Artyomovsk direction in the near future in order to unblock Ukrainian forces there. Obviously, the AFU counteroffensive is carried out in three or four directions, by mid-May, using the corps of 80,000 soldiers, concentrated in the vicinity of Bakhmut area with large amounts of western equipment and material.
Russian drones and missiles have again hit their targets in Ukraine. On April 18, the Ukrainian military deployed in the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk region suffered from the Russian UAV attack. Russian Geranium-2 UAVs struck Ukrainian military facilities in Slavyansk. On the night of April 19, explosions also thundered in in the industrial zone of Kramatorsk and in Druzhkovka in the Donetsk. Russian missiles reportedly hit more Ukrainian military facilities.
April 19, at night, Russian Geranium-2UAVs struck their targets in the Odessa region. According to local reports, at least four explosions thundered on the outskirts of the city of Odessa and in the region. Footage from the Odessa region confirmed that as a result of the strikes, at least one facility was burned down, which was used for accommodation of the Ukrainian military. Moreover, the Shkolny airfield, where a large number of military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is stored, was also struck.
Russian forces also continued airstrikes with heavy bombs on the Ukrainian military positions along the front lines. Russia is using precision-guided munitions based on FAB-500 aerial bombs.
The ongoing Russian strikes on Ukrainian military facilities near the front line are aimed at reducing the military potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine before a possible upcoming Ukrainian offensive.
On April 20, a strange night event over Kiev, something fell down from the sky, was it a meteor, a satellite or something else; perhaps Russia used their latest “energy weapon” to fall down a spy satellite. Besides, Russia made a quite large drone strike during that night in several places in Ukraine, targeting various depots, hangars, warehouses etc.
That day was also very disastrous to AFU because the top daily losses in Donbas area (Bakhmut) amounted up to 500 soldiers and dozens of weapons units, total daily troop losses up to 700 soldiers (Ukrainians and foreign mercenaries). There is no sign of any AFU counteroffensive in Bakhmut area or in other regions. Meanwhile, Russian troops advance every day in Bakhmut area taking over more territories and AFU’s area of control is shrinking under 10% of the city.
On April 21 night, there was a massive Russian drone strike campaign around Ukraine but neither Ukrainian no Russian authorities have informed details of this strike. It is obvious that the aim was to destroy Ukrainian strategic military targets in order to obstruct the possible AFU counteroffensive.
New weapons and technical issues
Russia jamming US smart bombs in Ukraine
Russia is jamming US smart bombs in Ukraine, leaked docs say (Politico, April 12, 2023). American officials believe Russian jamming is causing the JDAMs and other American weapons such as guided rockets, to miss their mark. Russian electronic jamming is causing them to miss their targets, according to leaked documents and confirmed by a Defense Department official. In some cases, the weapons were also failing to detonate due to a technical issue, which Ukrainian troops have since addressed.
The Pentagon, in December 2022, began sending Kyiv advanced equipment that could convert unguided air-dropped munitions into precision-guided “smart bombs” that can hit Russian targets with a higher degree of accuracy. The guided bombs can be launched by a variety of aircraft such as bombers and fighters and are called Joint Direct Attack Munitions or JDAMs. The longer-range version being sent to Ukraine is called a JDAM-Extended Range, or JDAM-ER.
But the weapons have experienced higher-than-expected “dud rates” and have missed their targets on the battlefield, according to a leaked slide prepared by the Joint Staff and confirmed by a US official. In some cases, the bomb fuzes were not arming, when they were released, causing the weapon to fail to detonate. The document includes a diagram of the munition and lays out the technical issue the weapons are experiencing as well as the proposed fix.
A larger problem is that Russia is using GPS jamming to interfere with the weapons’ targeting process, according to the leaked report. David T. Pyne, an American scholar of electronic warfare and former US Department of Defense officer, told that the Russian army’s state-of-the-art electronic warfare systems are capable of significantly hampering the planned counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces.
Touching upon the Russian EW systems on the whole, Pyne explained that “what makes them unique is their ability to jam not just enemy communications and radars but also satellite guidance and positioning signal ranges far longer than Western EW jamming systems, reportedly up to ranges of as much as 200-500 kilometers.”
The scholar added that these capabilities help Russian “blind early warning systems and severely disrupt or degrade military command and control systems of potential enemies making it difficult for them to conduct offensive or even defensive operations.”
New combined anti-satellite system
A new report from General Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations for the US Space Force, claims that Russia is interfering with US satellites.
According to the report, Russia has starting to use space weapons in its war against Ukraine. Russian forces have been jamming GPS signals from American satellites that are used by Ukrainian troops. Despite jamming signals from the satellites, Moscow has not yet attempted to destroy any of them and one expert believes it’s because Russia’s space capabilities are not yet completely developed.
Russia is reportedly working on a new integrated anti-satellite system, which combines the previously known platforms of ground-based lasers, Il-76 air-based laser and Mig-31 launched anti-sat missile. The system will consist of the Kontakt missile system based on the MiG-31D fighter-interceptor, the Sokol-Eshelon combat laser on the Il-76 transport aircraft and the Peresvet ground-based laser.
Combination is necessary for greater flexibility and the ability to influence targets with different methods: from laser radiation to missiles. A few days ago, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced the possibility of a “proper response” to the actions of Ukraine and Western countries that are trying to influence Russian civilian communications satellites.
According to RIA Novosti, Russia has developed an electronic warfare system capable of suppressing spacecraft in geostationary orbit, which is approximately 36 thousand kilometers. The source did not disclose details about the new system but said that “the power of its emitters at short range allows not only to suppress but also to permanently disable enemy electronics.”
Russian electronic countermeasure device (ECM) blinds Global Hawk drones over the Black Sea
The US has completely stopped flying its Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft over the Black Sea, following the incident with a US MQ-9 Reaper drone in the Black Sea waters off Russia’s Crimea, in mid-March. According to Flightradar24’s archive of tracks, the last time a US Global Hawk drone flew over the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea was on March 21. Since then, US unmanned surveillance aircraft based in Italy’s Sicily have not entered the airspace over the Black Sea.
Before that, since the launch of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the US military had been making an average of 8-10 reconnaissance flights per month over the sea. From March 21 to April 20, US Global Hawks drones made only three flights from the airbase in Sicily, according to the tracker website. However, these flights have been made within the boundaries of the Romanian airspace at a distance of over 400 kilometers (248 miles) from Crimea — outside the range of drones’ radar systems, which are capable of receiving radar images of an area at a maximum range of 200 kilometers.
US air reconnaissance aircraft, including $140 million worth of strategic RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs, have again frequented the Black Sea, flying in from the Balkans and the Mediterranean Sea to monitor Russia’s border areas. But their activity significantly decreased after the MQ-9 Reaper UAV of the US Armed Forces, worth $30 million, crashed into the waters near Crimea on March 14, after intercepted by the Su-27 of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Now American reconnaissance aircraft, manned aircraft and drones fly along the 43rd parallel and can “look” as far as Sevastopol, which has drastically reduced the US intelligence capabilities on the peninsula. The all-weather synthetic aperture radar of the RQ-4 Global Hawk drones provides a radar image of the terrain with a resolution of 1 meter at a distance of 200 km. Thus, now everything that is located north of the South Coast is no longer available for US air reconnaissance.
Gliding high-explosive bombs
The Ukrainian command may launch a large-scale counteroffensive against Russian forces in the near future. Russian command has an extensive arsenal of weapons and ammunition at its disposal to stop numerous columns of armored vehicles of the AFU. However, it is worth paying attention to the extensive range of aviation weapons.
The destruction of the advancing tank and mechanized brigades of the AFU can be carried out with the help of gliding bombs, dropping them 50-70 km from the targets. Moreover, without entering the affected area, accompanying the columns of the air defense systems and before the strikes of the Russian MLRS.
The Russian Aerospace Forces are equipped with FAB-500 and FAB-1500 high-explosive bombs, which are now used with planning and correction modules (MPK), which turn free-falling unguided munitions into precision weapons. These aerial bombs are effective in destroying the enemy’s fortified stationary firing points but are also quite applicable to large concentrations of troops. They leave huge craters and are guaranteed to destroy almost any armored vehicle within a radius of several tens of meters.
ODAB-500P bombs are also available, exploding a few meters from the surface, with burning aerosol cloud hitting targets with a shock wave with high temperature and pressure. The more expensive variants of BetAB-500, KAB-1500, UPAB-500, UPAB-1500 can also come in handy as well as the ODAB-9000 and FAB-9000, which are comparable to tactical nuclear weapons and leave behind a real crater. Russia is preparing to use even more massive bombs as those currently used, Fab-3000 and Fab-9000 with heavy strategic bombers as carriers.
On April 14, the Russian Aerospace Forces launched airstrikes on places of accumulation of personnel and equipment, ammunition depots and fuel and lubricants of the Ukrainian army in the Donbass. Dozens of planning bombs weighing 500-1500 kg hit the objects of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the areas of Artemovsk (Bakhmut), Konstantinovka, Kramatorsk and Slavyansk. These air strikes in part proved the massive impact of those gliding bombs and complicated the planning and carry out of the AFU counteroffensive.
On April 15, The Russian strike on the location of the AFU reserve battalion and the support company of the 65th Lviv mechanized brigade in the village of Orekhovo, Zaporozhye region, was carried out by Su-34 and the FAB-500 planning bomb equipped with new UMPC (controlled with a planning and correction module). Russian defense industry has managed to organize the mass production of planning bombs. Ukrainian air defense is powerless against attacks with these munitions.
Russian Forces are also using thermite shells. Thermite ammunition, also known as incendiary ammunition, is a type of munition that contains an incendiary substance designed to start fires or burn intensely upon impact. The Russian Defense Ministry has shared footage showing the Russian Forces hitting firing positions of the Ukrainian military with thermite shells.
Thermite ammunition is highly effective at destroying targets and when a shell impacts a target, the heat generated by the burning thermite mixture can damage or destroy nearby structures and equipment. Thermite is a mixture of a metal powder and a metal oxide that, when ignited, produces an intense heat that can melt through steel.
Outlook of military situation for next four months (May-August 2023)
Ukrainian long-expected spring counteroffensive still lingers and many kinds of reasons have been given to this delay: bad weather, delays in western supply of equipment and ammo, problems in mobilization by Ukrainians etc. However, Zelensky and his military command have been talking of total mobilization in the context of counteroffensive, indicating even up to 1-2 million new recruits.
Russia Armed Forces have started utilize the new online recruiting system and reportedly mobilizing 400,000 new conscripts this year. Also, Wagner Group is starting new recruiting round this spring.
Poland has started national mobilization in order to increase the number of active conscripts up to 300,000 this year. Besides, Poland has made agreements mainly with the US to deliver a massive amount of all kinds of military equipment and material.
There have been much rumors and speculations of possible “arrangements” between Poland and Ukraine, even some kind of state alliance or union, which would make it possible to get Ukraine as a member of the EU and NATO in fastest possible way. Zelensky visited Poland in early April and reportedly made various deals in order to secure Ukraine’s position regarding the spring offensive, possibly even a draft of union pact with Poland. At the same time, this historical process would materialize the direct open war between NATO and Russia. it remains to be seen, are the western decision makers ready to this kind of direct confrontation.
The leaked Pentagon documents disclose the situation summary, which paints a very dire picture:
The fighting spirit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is allegedly high but growing doubts about Western support may lead to the fact that the spring offensive will be disrupted. The writing is wondering, whether the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is the last chance of Ukraine in the confrontation with the Russian Federation.
If the offensive fails, the forces will not be sufficient for a second strike and it remains an open question, whether another major round of rearmament by Ukraine’s allies will be conducted. Western Europe is experiencing a shortage of supplies. The Biden administration has competing priorities-in the Far East and in the presidential race against a resurgent Trump.
This gives the counteroffensive a “do – or – die” characteristic. Those in Europe and the United States, who have refrained from calling for new negotiations, almost certainly will start speaking out again “Ukrainian territories in exchange for peace”. It seems that the West is already rushing Zelensky: either to attack or to sign peace agreements, which mean the loss of territories and almost certainly the loss of power.
Regarding the possible AFU offensive, a lot of big numbers are being thrown around but based on various sources of data, size ranges may be drafted.
The Ukrainian garrison in Zaporizhye has more than 50,000 troops, including fighters trained in the West and new equipment, including tanks. In the Dnepropetrovsk region, there are also large reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – at least 100-150 thousand people. Note that they are kept away from the front and will be brought into battle on the go. In the vicinity of Bakhmut, there are reportedly AFU troops about 50,000 – 80,000 waiting for the offensive. However, from those troops, AFU sends on daily bases new reinforcements to Bakhmut “meat grinder”, where losses are high deteriorating and weakening further conditions for the spring offensive.
As to the Russian forces (RF), based on last autumn’s partial mobilization, 300,000 reservists and 100,000 volunteers were recruited. Now, RF reportedly have concentrated 113 battalion tactical groups (BTG) in the Zaporozhye direction and 205 BTG in the Donetsk direction. Based on the fact that there can be 600-900 people in one BTG, this is in the range of 190-286 thousand reserve personnel, who are not currently involved in hostilities. Thus far, the majority of newly formed troops have been kept outside the frontlines in the reserve position.
If this overall setup is just about correct, then certainly it means Russia has more than enough reserves to deal with any Ukrainian incursion.
Ukrainian Army spring counteroffensive
All the ongoing speculations and comments on the Ukrainian offensive operations are nothing but part of the information war. Meanwhile, preparations for a large-scale offensive by Ukrainian forces continue on the fronts.
The Ukrainian army will likely launch offensive operations in several directions at once. Most likely, the steppes in the Zaporozhye region will become the main battlefield. It is expected that Ukrainian forces will try to break through towards Melitopol and the Sea of Azov in order to capture the port of Berdyansk and threaten the Crimean Bridge.
At the same time, another attack may threaten the Ugledar direction in order to cut the Mariupol highway and complicate Russian logistics. In the south, Ukrainian forces also increased their activity on the western bank of the Dnieper. They are equipping firing positions with long-range artillery. Crossing the river is a necessary step for a successful offensive on a broad front. The task of the strike from the western bank of the Dnieper is to divert attention and pin down Russian units.
In the Donetsk direction, large-scale offensive actions are unlikely. However, the Ukrainian military will increase the intensity of shelling of the civilian population in the Donetsk urban agglomeration in order to overload Russian air defenses.
The ruins of Bakhmut may become a field for Ukrainian attempt to take revenge. The defeat of tens of thousands of Ukrainian servicemen by Wagner units was a big blow to the Ukrainian military command.
The Ukrainian military is also accumulating forces in the Kharkiv region, on the Kupyansk and Svatovo fronts. In the case of success in this area, Ukrainians will have the opportunity to surround the Lisichansk-Severodonetsk agglomeration.
In its turn, the Russian military is closely observing enemy maneuvers, destroying Ukrainian military columns and manpower, strengthening defenses and launching massive airstrikes on Ukrainian military positions.
Chances of a counterattack being successful
Many people ask, why not yet AFU or RF big offensive has taken place. I have analyzed Ukrainian crisis many times, here some of the recent important articles:
Ukraine crisis: overview of 2022, outlook for 2023, January 27, 2023
Endgame is going in Ukraine crisis, February 7, 2023
Ukraine crisis escalating – WWIII looming, March 5, 2023
These articles tell that Russian forces have in fact destroyed already two Ukrainian armies, both in the form of troop losses and in equipment losses. Now, the Russian formula is the attrition, meat grinding and slowly but surely annihilate the entire military infrastructure around the whole country so that there will be no military threat from Ukraine for decades.
The current battle situation is now culminating to Bakhmut/Artyomovsk, but why? For the Ukrainians to throw away more lives in the meatgrinder, seems incomprehensible. The Russians are leveraging their superiority in weaponry to deplete the Ukrainian forces stuck in static positions all along the entire contact line, killing 10 Ukrainians for every Russian soldier. At the same time, they are impoverishing the American empire economically and diplomatically.
Bakhmut’s real importance is simply that Zelensky said that holding onto it was crucial —at a time when he figured he could hold it. The question is just optics.
The Western media celebrated that pronouncement and made it a symbol of Ukrainian resistance. In the Western media, stories are more important than realities. Zelensky is an actor and the show must go on. If only because it pays really, really well. If things go badly for him and his regime—well, one of his houses in Beverly Hills awaits, as well as a large manor in Florida.
When it comes to how the situation will evolve on the ground, it is difficult to see any preconditions for a successful advance by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. While US leaders have been encouraging Ukraine to engage in a spring counteroffensive to retake as much territory as possible, the chances that Kiev will be able to do so are slim and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff are aware of this.
According to the military experts, the present military balance on the Ukrainian battlefield overwhelmingly favors Russia which carried out a partial mobilization of military reservists last year.
If Russia launches a spring offensive, it may force the US and its NATO allies to revise their military plans and force Kiev to consider ending the conflict: the longer the West waits to negotiate a peace deal, the worse the terms will likely be for Ukraine. It is extremely unlikely the US Forces will seek to prolong the proxy war past summer knowing that Ukraine has no prospects for victory against Russia and that accordingly they will be looking for a face-saving way out of the conflict.
Some EU nations supporting Ukraine have started to doubt, whether Kiev will be able to recapture large swathes of territory this year. Even a modest advance would likely result in heavy casualties among Ukrainian personnel and require considerable amounts of ammunition and hardware. This, if successful, should set the stage for a deeper counteroffensive in 2024, the sources predicted. To support such a push, Ukraine’s Western backers would need to step up their military production capacity. Further large-scale deliveries could, however, run into political opposition in some countries.
Nevertheless, several European defense officials have told reporters that the counteroffensive, which the Ukrainian leadership has been hyping up for several months now, is likely to get underway by mid-May. Strikes may be expected from multiple directions, potentially including diversionary ones.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal suggested that the counteroffensive may actually begin in the summer. He insisted that Western backers were not putting any pressure on Kiev to force it into action without due preparation. The official also called on the West to provide Ukraine with more artillery, ammunition, middle- and long-range missiles, tanks, and fighter jets.
On the same day, the Washington Post, citing recently leaked classified documents, reported that US intelligence did not hold out much hope as to Ukraine’s ability to make significant territorial gains during the anticipated counteroffensive.
The assessment of the Author is the following:
AFU will make an attempt of counteroffensive in late April – mid May but Russian Forces crush this attempt and will start its own crucial offensive in order to eliminate the entire armed forces of Ukraine as well as the military-industrial infrastructure. All this will take place by mid-summer of this year.
Ukrainian state, as it was before this war, cease to exist and will be divided in parts by several partakers.
I will make a number of updates regarding the military-political and other ramifications of this war in the near future.