One year and one hundred and twenty-nine days of war have passed. ISW maps show no change in the front line over the past 24 hours. Maybe, incidentally, this is for the best: there is no point in storming Russian positions head-on. All the more so because the Russians had plenty of time to prepare well for such attacks.
It is much more important to force Putin’s generals to move their warehouses and troops closer to the front line and to detect themselves by such movement. And what the AFU is now doing much better than advancing is destroying Russian rear lines. Every now and then there are reports of explosions in Melitopol, Berdyansk and other cities in the south.
This does not lead to success in the short term, but in a couple of months it will definitely affect the combat capabilities of the Russian army. And that is when it will be necessary to attack for real. This is what all the serious military experts are writing about.
Once again I urge everyone not to wait for quick results. There is no need to heat people up with promises of instant victory. There will be no such expectations, and there will be no disappointment that the offensive is progressing so slowly.
I don’t think anyone knows when this war will end. Moreover: even if at some point the front line coincides with the internationally recognized Ukrainian border, it may still be a front line, not just a border between two states.
Agil Rustamzadeh is right: the war can go on as long as Russia still has military potential. And the exhaustion of this potential is a much more reliable guarantee of the end of the war than simply going to the borders of 1991.
When will this potential be exhausted? In the inertial scenario, Russia’s financial capacity to wage war will end in about two years. To what extent will the capacity of its military-industrial complex be enough to make up for the loss of equipment and ammunition on the battlefield? Experts believe that if the equipment retirement continues at the rate it is happening, the shortage of equipment and ammunition will become noticeable by September of this year.
I do not know how true the claims that Russian military factories work three shifts and all their capacities are loaded, but the truth is that all (if any) of Russia’s industrial growth comes at the expense of state defense orders. This “narcotic” pumping of the economy with budget money has a limited effect. And if this growth is not picked up by the rest of the economy, it will very soon be replaced by a deep recession.
In any case, this recession will not happen tomorrow. Nor will it happen in a week or a month. Consequently, even if by the end of the year there is an exit to the borders of 1991, it will only mean that the war will go on at these borders for about a year and a half more.
Putin’s calculation is simple and cynical. His reasoning is as follows: I do not know when I will run out of money for the war. Maybe in a year, maybe in two. But there is one parameter in which I definitely have an advantage over Ukraine: soldiers. My task is to wage war in such a way that Ukraine runs out of them before I do. At some point Zelensky will still sit down with me at the negotiating table. No matter what he says now. And my task is to wait for that moment.
I don’t know whether this is the case in reality. But my conversations with experts, the articles I have found on the subject, and my own reflections lean me in favor of this version. And if this is true, then I am not sure: should the AFU attack at all? Especially without planes and long-range missiles.
After all, it is the Democrats and Biden who need success in Ukraine to show it to their voters during the presidential campaign. If they want success, let them give them F-16s and ATACMS. If not, blame yourself: we will say what we have. The Biden administration is torn apart by contradictions and does not know what it wants: either peace with Putin at the expense of Ukraine or victory over him.
It is the Democrats who have a deadline: an election date, they are the ones who are limited by deadlines. Ukraine has only one criterion: to wage war in such a way as to maintain a combat-ready army within a year or two and not to lose many people.
That is, to stand on the defensive and destroy the manpower and equipment of Putin’s army. And after some time, Putin will simply run out of money for the war. And then to defeat him there will be no need for any planes or long-range missiles..
I know that my reasoning is flawed and if you want, you can pick on every word. But in general my idea is simple: we need to turn the war from a confrontation between soldiers on the battlefield (here Putin has a clear advantage at the expense of numbers) into a war of economies (here he loses by a landslide to a united West).
This will not produce a quick result, but the result will truly be the end of the war, rather than moving the front line to the borders of 1991. So: we must learn to destroy the enemy’s weapons and ammunition faster than he has time to produce them. We need to force Putin to spend all his financial reserves, to leave him without pants. And when this happens (and it is bound to happen), that’s when the victory will come.
It is inevitable, because our cause is just. The enemy will be defeated, and victory will be ours.
Glory to Ukraine!🇺🇦