Ukraine war – decisive breakthrough
SitRep, late autumn 2023
Perhaps this picture below, tells more than thousands of words, what is going on in this war right now.
As I have told in my previous articles (Oct.8 and 1, Sept 25), Russian Forces activated on many sectors all along the whole front line. The main purpose is now to force AFU to send strategic reserves on almost every sector at once. It will also force them to hurry up supplies, which will make them more detectable and thus will lead to more taken out HQs and ammo dumps. This will now go on until the sectors will break down.
So, for all who are asking “When will Russian Forces make its offensive” – that has happened since the start of the fall and is happening now every day. The whole idea is “to speed up slowly” along the whole front line in order to minimize own losses but getting breakthrough point and utilize it by force.
Ukraine is running out of servicemen on the battlefields and the commanders of Ukrainian military units are asking for mass mobilization in the whole country. However, replacing half a million killed servicemen is a challenging job in the present-day Ukraine.
Centers of gravity of Russian operations in the autumn 2023 can be seen in the picture below:
October 24-25 revealed a decisive Russian breakthrough in the sector of Avdeevka, when Russian Forces took over the northern part of this city and especially Terrikon hill. General Zaluzhnyi, Command of AFU, has given the order to stop all other offensive operations in all other sectors, except Avdeevka, that must be kept at any price. This order is also confirmed by President Zelensky.
The destiny of Avdeevka is fatal to the AFU and the whole Ukrainian war performance; who will lose the battle of Avdeevka will lose the whole war. This is absolutely the decisive moment.
American double dilemma
The need to arm Kyiv and Israel at the same time is causing increasing concern in the Pentagon, where is a growing concern about the potential need to give away its increasingly scarce ammunition stockpile to support Ukraine and Israel in two separate conflicts, CNN reports, citing US Defense officials.
If Israel launches a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military will create a new and unexpected demand for 155mm artillery ammunition and other weapons at a time, when the United States and its allies and partners have depleted their stockpiles of these weapons after more than 18 months fighting in Ukraine.
It is surprising how quickly Western attention shifted from the war in Ukraine to the war in Israel. Ukraine’s Zelensky is frightened by this reversal and is trying desperately to stay relevant and attract Western attention. The media prefers to focus on the new narrative of Arab hordes sweeping down on Israeli civilians rather than try to come up with excuses for Ukraine’s failure to even breach the first line of the Surovikin defense.
The West is now caught in the trap of trying to sustain two proxy wars without the industrial clout to even fully supply one. The US Congress will act quickly to get military material to Israel. There is wide bipartisan support for that but not so with Ukraine. A growing number of members of Congress, mostly Republican, are questioning the wisdom of sending precious HIMARS, Patriot batteries and tanks to a Ukrainian Army incapable of pushing the Russian backwards.
Desperate position of Ukraine
One visible sign of Zelensky’s panic — he changed his wardrobe. Now, when he appears in public, instead of wearing his Fidel Castro costume (i.e., sporting an Army green t-shirt or sweatshirt and tactical pants) he is now outfitted like a younger, shorter version of Johnny Cash. Black is his new fashion choice.
With Western eyes glued to the Middle East, Russia is on the offensive, pushing Ukrainians back all along the line of contact.
Ukraine can forget about any new mass infusion of weapons from the United States or NATO. Israel is now at the head of the line and gets first choice. One other sign that things are going from bad to worse for Ukraine, even the Institute for the Study of War is admitting that Russia is advancing, because the facts on the battlefields are in sight. Ukraine’s forces have been decimated over the last four months and there is no ready reserve in sight to replace the killed and wounded soldiers.
The head of the intelligence center of the Estonian Defense Forces, Ants Kiviselg, in an interview on national television, said that assault units of at least 25 Russian divisions are participating in offensive operations. Kiviselg said that it is likely that the armed forces of the Russian Federation are targeting the Kupyansk direction in order to take control of the crossing points across the Oskol River. Kiviselg said that the most important events are unfolding not near Kremennaya or Kupyansk, but in the Donetsk direction. The Avdeevka operation has become the most powerful since the beginning of 2023.
Military commentator Stephen Bryan of the Center for Security Policy and the Yorktown Institute, believes that the loss of Avdeevka by the Ukrainians is only a matter of time. And this will be the third Russian victory in the Northern Military District zone since the beginning of the year after the capture of Bakhmut and the repulsion of the Ukrainian “counter-offensive” in Zaporozhye.
The loss of initiative in Zaporozhye, and then the loss of Avdeevka, are signs that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are experiencing a colossal lack of personnel and are simply unable to maintain the initiative along the entire length of the almost 1,000-kilometer line of combat contact, says Brian.
The Kiev regime is making frantic efforts to try to increase its mobilization base. Ukraine is blackmailing European countries (in particular, Poland) in order to repatriate Ukrainians of military age. It is unknown how many Ukrainian men managed to escape the country. In any case, Poland and other European countries completely refused to repatriate “cannon fodder” for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Even NATO mercenaries in the Northern Military District zone have been practically exterminated: their influx has completely stopped.
The Estonian intelligence officer is confident that the worsening problems of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have put the Kiev command in front of the so-called “operational dilemma.” Either continue to defend the Donetsk, Kupyansk and Krasnolimansky directions, or continue useless attempts to cut the “land bridge” to Crimea, for which the counter-offensive was launched in early June in the Orekhovsky and Vremyevsky sectors.
Views and trends – what now?
American military expert Scott Ritter and others see the future of AFU very dismal, even hopeless. Scott Ritter even forecasts that “The Ukrainian army will not exist in 12 months… Ukrainian forces face imminent collapse”
International media has started to warn their audience (and also Ukraine) on coming “harsh winter”.
The British think tank RUSI (The Royal United Services Institute is the world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defense and security think tank) recently published an important report:
Ukraine Must Prepare for a Hard Winter , Dr Jack Watling, 19 October 2023
RUSI Report gives a rather realistic overview of the situation, although the British bias is clearly seen in the report.
Another interesting article is “Ukrainian People Must Begin to Question Their Future” by Rich Berdan (a freelance writer of Detroit, Michigan) in Modern Diplomacy, October 12, 2023. Berdan firstly criticizes two western politicians by saying “Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is the warring hawk and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the elitist on the global stage.”
He comes to conclusion that “Russia does not lose this war and will sacrifice all to do what it takes. They have demonstrated this drive and disposition to die in the past against a far great enemy in Nazi Germany. The West does not have near this motivation to sacrifice for what once was eastern Ukraine and the Crimea. Are we really prepared to go “as long as it takes” to see Ukraine completely destroyed?”
As to the reconstructing and restoring the whole Ukrainian society after the war, or what may be left of it then, will be a “forever project”. With Western countries in recession and budgets tightening, recovery costs will undoubtedly rise to very high levels and will take decades to complete. If at all the West really gives the Kyiv regime money for restoration. After all, the military failures of the Ukrainian Armed Forces demonstrated to the West that Ukraine cannot endlessly depend on Western assistance.
Now, having two crises at hand in Ukraine and in Israel (Middle East as a whole), one can start thinking, with good reason, is it altogether possible to avoid all-out war. Professor Jeffrey Sachs, interviewed by Judge Napolitano, has important things to say.
Judge Napolitano – Judging Freedom, October 21, 2023