Russia Regains Initiative, Western Tanks - Russian Invasion DOCUMENTARY

Russia Regains Initiative, Western Tanks - Russian Invasion DOCUMENTARY

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Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine  continues. In the second half of 2022,   Ukraine regained the strategic initiative  on the battlefield, liberating the Kharkiv   oblast and the right bank of Dnipro. Still, the  narrowing of the frontline and mobilization have   allowed Russia to stabilize the situation on the  ground and regain initiative to a certain extent.   Russia has been attacking on the Donbas front  for months and has achieved some success,   despite a grinding pace and heavy losses.  Meanwhile, Ukraine hopes that increased   hardware support from the West will allow it to  recapture momentum and start the much-expected   counter-offensive. We are going to talk about this  and other updates from the second half of January  We’d also like to highlight another video if  you’re interested in the wars of the modern era,   which is hosted by the hidden gem of the  documentary world and our sponsor, MagellanTV.

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Before discussing the most active front in  Donbas, let’s look at the situation elsewhere   on the battlefield. The status quo persisted on  the Kherson front along Dnipro. In this period,   we have not seen any information on engagement  in areas like the Kinburn Spit or in Potomkinsky   Island, where according to the Ukrainian command,  battles took place earlier. The only confirmed   engagement in this period between Ukraine and  Russia occurred on January 25, when a small   Ukrainian unit landed near Korsunka and Dnipryani.  Ukrainian military intelligence claimed this was a  

successful raid in which several Russian soldiers  were killed and an armoured vehicle destroyed.   In contrast, Russian sources stated that the  Ukrainian unit was eliminated. We can assume   that these attacks aim to fix Russian forces  along the left bank of Dnipro, preventing   them from being deployed elsewhere. There were  no other notable developments on this front.  Most of the actions on the North Luhansk front  took place in the Kreminna section. As of late   January, the situation is still covered with the  fog of war, as sides are reportedly fighting for   control of the forest area near Kreminna. There  are reports that Russia is deploying more forces   to this section, the size of which may indicate  that they plan to launch an attack from there.  

The Institute for the Study of War assesses  that Luhansk Oblast is the most likely axis   of a major Russian offensive, which Bloomberg  reported based on information allegedly provided   by anonymous Russian sources. Elsewhere on the  North Luhansk front, heavy battles continued in   and around Novoselivske, Chornopopivka, and Spirne  without significant changes on the battlefield.  After months of lull, there has been some  notable action on the Zaporizhia front, and,   despite expectations, it was the Russian army  which conducted offensive operations in several   sections. It is reported that Russia has been  attacking with small assault groups of 10-15   people without much artillery or armoured support.  On January 20, the 123rd Motorized Regiment of DPR   separatists attacked towards the town of Orikhiv  and reportedly captured the town of Mali Scherbaky   in the no man’s land. Other sources claim that the  Ukrainian army later reclaimed the lost territory.  

A few days later, the Russian 40th and 155th  Naval Infantry Brigades and elements of Russian   special forces launched an attack on Vuhledar at  the junction of the Zaporizhia and Donbas fronts.   The 72nd Mechanized Brigade, which defended  the capital Kyiv at the beginning of the war,   inflicted heavy losses on Russian attackers,  who reportedly managed to make minimal gains   to the southeast of Vuhledar. At this point, it  looks like the attack on the Orikhiv section was   more of a probing attack to find weaknesses in  Ukrainian defences, while the Vuhledar attack   may be a Russian attempt at something bigger. The Donbas front continued to be the hottest   area of the war. Russia suffered significant  losses, but achieved further gains toward Bakhmut.   Klishchiivka to the Southwest and Blahodatne to  the Northeast of Bakhmut were the main targets   of Russian attacks on the Donbas front in this  period. On January 17, Wagner groups entered the  

outskirts of Klishchiivka and completed  the capture of this town within a week.   This has allowed them to develop their  success towards Ivanivske. The fall of   Ivanivske would cut one of the last remaining  supply lines on the T0504 highway to Bakhmut.   The next logical target for Russia in  this axis would be Chasiv Yar on the   O0506 highway. If Russia achieves this  goal, all supply lines to Bakhmut from   the west would be cut, forcing the Ukrainian  army to retreat from Bakhmut, as their supply   line from the north - the T0513 highway is  also under a grave threat at this point.  

Wagner units completed the capture of Blahodatne  on this highway on January 29. As of late January,   the 110th Territorial Defense Brigade has been  repelling Wagner attacks on Krasna Hora on the M03   and T0513 highway junction, vitally important for  the Ukrainian control over Bakhmut. Russia also   occupied Krasnopolivka and succeeded in taking the  fighting into the suburbs of Bakhmut once again.  What would the possible fall of Bakhmut mean for  the war in Ukraine? It would not be a strategic   disaster for the defenders, but it would cause  a vital road junction to be captured by Russia   and would enable the Russian push north  towards Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Siversk,   along with putting pressure on the Ukrainian  units on the North Luhansk front from the south.  

It would also boost morale for Russia as their  first significant victory since the capture   of Lysychansk back in July. It is reported  that Ukraine’s allies have been recommending   that they withdraw from Bakhmut to preserve  Ukrainian forces, which can be used elsewhere.   But while that may be a sound recommendation,  it is unlikely that Russia will stop in Bakhmut,   as they will look to develop  their success towards the north.  Deterioration of the situation in this area  has prompted Ukraine’s allies to make quicker   decisions on sending more weapons to Ukraine.  Most importantly, after weeks of negotiations and   stalling, Western countries have finally agreed  to deliver tanks to Ukraine. Initially, the United   States was reluctant to supply Abrams tanks since  they believed that learning to operate them would   take a lot of time, while their maintenance would  be another issue. Thus, it was widely considered  

that German-made Leopard tanks would be the best  option for Ukraine as many European countries   already have them, and their maintenance would not  constitute a problem. However, despite calls from   the United States, Britain, Poland and several  other European countries, Germany was reluctant to   be the first to pledge tanks to Ukraine, fearing  retaliation from Russia, while also implicitly   conveying a message that it would be ready to  take this step if the United States does it first.   Moreover, Germany did not allow other countries  with Leopard tanks to supply them to Ukraine.   Even at the January 20 meeting of Ukraine’s  allies in Ramstein, where they discussed further   military assistance to Kyiv, the agreement on  Leopard was not reached. But the ice finally  

broke on January 25, when the German chancellor  Scholtz agreed to supply 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks   to Ukraine after a signal of intentions from  the United States to send Abrams tanks too.   Leopard 2A6 is the penultimate variation of this  main battle tank. Germany also allowed other   countries to send Leopards to Ukraine. This had  the effect of floodgates getting opened. Portugal   pledged to send 4 Leopard 2A6s to Ukraine. Spain’s  Defense Minister confirmed plans to send Leopard  

2s to Ukraine. Canada pledged 4 Leopard A4s,  while Norway, Netherlands and Poland also directly   or indirectly through media informed about  their intentions to send Leopards to Ukraine.   According to Zelensky, by late January, 12  countries pledged to send tanks to Ukraine.  

Reports indicate that Ukraine will receive  almost 100 Leopard 2s of different modifications.   But other tanks have been  pledged to Ukraine as well.   According to the Algerian portal Menadefense,  Morocco has sent nearly 20 T-72B tanks to Ukraine.   Morocco then officially refuted this claim, and  stated that these tanks were sent to Czechia   for modernization, which sent them to Kyiv  without Morocco’s permission. On January 23,  

French president Macron pledged to send Leclerc  tanks to Ukraine. On January 25, the United States   agreed to send 31 Abrams tanks with 8 M88 recovery  vehicles, which should help with the maintenance   of Abrams tanks. 2 days later, Poland pledged  30 modernized PT-91 tanks. According to the   Ukrainian ambassador to France, Ukraine will  receive 321 main battle tanks from its allies.   The West has also made other pledges of support to  Ukraine. On January 17, British Defense Secretary   Ben Wallace informed that 20k Ukrainian soldiers  would be trained in the UK in 2023. Along with   that, the Netherlands announced its intention to  send a Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine,   while the EU sent its first package of financial  assistance worth 3 billion euros to Ukraine.  

On January 18, Canada gave 200 Roshel Senator  vehicles. The following day was particularly   notable for all the pledges made to Ukraine.  Estonia promised military aid worth over 1%   of its GDP to Ukraine, including their 155-mm  howitzers, grenade launchers, and ammunition.  

Sweden pledged 50 CV90 tracked Infantry Fighting  Vehicles and Archer artillery systems in an aid   package worth 419 million dollars. Denmark donated  19 CEASAR self-propelled howitzers, which it   bought from France. The US announced a military  aid package worth 2.5 billion dollars, which   included 59 Bradley armoured fighting vehicles,  8 Avenger air defence systems, 90 Stryker armored   fighting vehicles, 53 MRAPs, 350 HMMWVs, HARM  missiles, NASAMS missiles, artillery shells,   Excalibur precision-guided projectiles, landmines,  HIMARS munition, anti-tank rockets, night vision   equipment, command vehicles and so on. Later  they signalled their intention to increase the   production of 155-mm artillery shells to help  alleviate Ukraine’s artillery shell shortages.   On January 30, Australia and France also  signed an agreement to produce 155-mm   artillery shells. On January 20, Finland announced  a military aid package worth 400 million euros,   without specifying what it included. The German  defence ministry announced 1 billion euros worth  

of military aid to Ukraine, which included Iveco  VM 90, Iveco ACL 90 military vehicles and Renault   TRM 2000 light utility trucks. On January 26, a  day after a Russian missile hit a Turkish merchant   vessel in Kherson, Turkey pledged to deliver  floating power plants to Ukraine, each capable of   meeting the power needs of one million households.  Also, on this day, Norway stated that it would   train Ukrainian soldiers. On January 27, Belgium  promised 92 million euros worth of military aid,   which included portable anti-aircraft  systems, anti-tank guns and vehicles.   On January 28, Italy and France agreed to deliver  Samp-T air defense systems with Aster missiles   capable of shooting down ballistic missiles.  Finally, on January 31, Reuters reported about the   intention of the United States to provide another  military aid package to Ukraine worth 2.2 billion  

dollars, which is expected to include precision  Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs with a 150   km range. That would be short of Ukrainian  wishes to get ATACMS with a 300-km range,   but it would still have massive implications  on the battlefield. HIMARS have played an   important role in weakening the Russian supply  lines and military infrastructure in Ukraine,   paving the way for the Ukrainian counter-offensive  operations in the second half of 2022. Still,   HIMARS has only an 80 km range, allowing Russians  to be untouched by moving their assets deeper into   occupied areas, while GLSDB would cover almost  all occupied areas, except for parts of Crimea.   This would force Russians to do a better job  of hiding or removing their assets to Russia,   creating significant logistical constraints  for its occupation campaign in Ukraine.  In the described period, Ukraine has  received a massive boost from its allies,   particularly in connection with promises of tank  supplies. Ukraine will get these tanks sometime  

in the spring and summer of 2023, excluding Abrams  tanks, the training for which may take more time.   And since the West has already passed the  threshold of supplying tanks to Ukraine,   it is safe to assume that more will come. This  armoured support will allow Ukraine to regain   the initiative on the battlefield and launch  its expected counter-offensive. Now Ukraine   started sending signals to its allies asking for  F-16 fighters or potentially other Western-made   fighters like French Rafale or Swedish Gripen.  Statements from the West in that regard are   confusing at the moment. On January 30, Polish  Prime Minister Morawiecki stated that Poland  

would be ready to give any aircraft to Ukraine  but only “in full coordination” with its allies.   At a press conference with Macron, Dutch Prime  Minister Rutte expressed that there are no taboos   concerning supplies they can make to Ukraine  to win the war against Russia while adding   that sending warplanes would be a huge step. US  president Biden publicly said “No” to requests   for F-16, but it would not be the first time that  the West initially opposed delivery of certain   types of equipment or vehicles to Ukraine, before  being persuaded by Ukraine. Predictably, Russia   was unhappy with delivering Western-produced  tanks to Ukraine but downplayed their importance.   Putin’s spokesperson, Peskov, stated that Abrams  and Leopard tanks are “quite a failure … in terms   of technological aspects” and that it is wrong to  exaggerate their potential. They have said similar   things about HIMARS and other Western weapons,  which have made a difference on the battlefield. 

On the contrary, there was no information  about weapon supplies to Russia.   Iran is still reluctant to give ballistic  missiles to Russia and has been busy   defending against drone attacks on its  military infrastructure in late January.   We will see if this attack impacted Iran’s arms  deals with Russia in the foreseeable future.  

It is indicative that Russia’s pace of drone  attacks and airstrikes on Ukraine has slowed   down significantly in this period, as there  was only one major attack of that kind.   On January 26, Russia launched 55 cruise missiles,  47 of which were shot down, and 24 Shahed drones,   all downed, according to Ukraine. It is  possible to speculate that Russia would need   more Iranian drones to continue its campaign  targeting Ukrainian critical infrastructure.  Belarus is still being discussed as a potential  starting point for another attack on Kyiv.   According to Zerkalo independent media outlet  from Belarus, Russia had sent 14 T-72B3 tanks,   4 Uragan MLRS, 41 artillery units,  dozens of infantry fighting vehicles,   armoured vehicles and engineering  vehicles, 12 combat helicopters,   12 aircraft, 15 Tor-M2 anti-aircraft missile  systems, 4-6k soldiers since October.  

Clearly, these numbers are insufficient  for any significant offensive operation.  There have been no attempts to negotiate  in this period, as both sides are bracing   for their expected offensives. On January 22,  Peskov stated that “there are no conditions   for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine  at the moment, neither de facto nor de jure.”   Three days later, Zelensky expressed that he  was not interested in negotiating with Putin, to   which Peskov responded by saying that Zelensky had  long lost an opportunity to be Putin’s opponent.   So, it is clear that the sides are too far apart  to negotiate, which means the war will continue.  

How will it play out in the foreseeable  future? It is extremely difficult to   predict anything in a war, but we can  speculate based on the information we have.   Kyiv has been vocal about its intention to  liberate all its lands, including Crimea in 2023.   Training of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers in  Europe, a pledge of hundreds of tanks by the West,   and General Zaluzhny’s earlier note that Ukraine  is organizing and holding its strike force in   reserve indicates that Ukraine will attempt  a counter-offensive. In previous videos,   we assumed that the Zaporizhian and North  Luhansk fronts would be where the Ukrainian   army would launch its counter-offensive. On the  Zaporizhian front, taking Melitopol, Tokmak,   and Berdiansk would be a significant blow to  the Russian aspirations of winning in Ukraine.  

This would force Russian forces on the left  bank of Dnipro to retreat to Crimea and cause   critical difficulties for the supply of the  Russian army South and West of Melitopol.  Having said that, one should bear in mind that  it will be far from easy. Russians have erected   fortifications manned by a significant number  of troops in the occupied Zaporizhia oblast,   which has numerous irrigation canals making the  offensive operations more complicated. On the   North Luhansk front, Russia has managed to stop  the Ukrainian offensive short of the P66 highway.   Ukraine will continue putting pressure on this  front to reach another crucial logistical hub in   Starobilsk, creating massive supply difficulties  for Russians fighting north of Luhansk. But there   are risks associated with an offensive in this  axis. Russia has deployed numerous units to this  

front, following the Izium counter-offensive to  stabilize the front. They have reserves in the   rear. Factors like small rivers, high-rise  buildings, and dense forest areas in this   region favour the defensive side. Also, even if  Ukrainians succeed in North Luhansk, they will be  

vulnerable to counter-attacks from the territory  of the Russian Federation. But similar risks were   associated with the Izium counter-offensive, as  the liberation of the Northeast of the country   and reaching the internationally recognized  border with Russia could make Ukrainian units   closest to the borders susceptible to Russian  counter-attacks, which has not happened that much.  One of the Russian military bloggers and a former  member of the separatist force in Donbas, known   for criticizing Putin’s conduct of the war, has  speculated that a counter-offensive on the left   bank of Dnipro would be the most advantageous axis  of advance for the Ukrainian army. Crossing Dnipro  

and establishing a sustainable bridgehead on the  left bank is the most considerable difficulty   associated with this offensive. Since bridges  connecting the liberated and occupied areas of   the Kherson oblast were mostly destroyed during  the Ukrainian counter-offensive, Ukrainians would   have to use pontoon bridges to do that and will  be extensively targeted by the Russian artillery.   If Ukrainians manage to create a bridgehead,  they would have to advance through a steppe area   without much vegetation. On the one hand, this  terrain does not give any cover to the attacking  

side, but on the other hand, it is much more  advantageous for armored maneuvers. Furthermore,   the area between Dnipro and the Crimean isthmus  does not have many settlements, which makes it   difficult for a defending side to establish  strongholds. The distance between a potential   bridgehead and Crimea is relatively short, and if  Ukrainians achieve any surprise they did in the   Izium counter-offensive, their breakthrough  may bring them to Crimea relatively fast.  

Liberation of Crimea would be a massive blow to  Russian morale, preventing them from using Crimea   as the base for their aircraft and the Black  Sea fleet. This scenario is hypothetical and   is associated with significant difficulties, such  as creating a functioning bridgehead and ensuring   an element of surprise. But the Ukrainian  command had shown its ability to do that   in the Izium counter-offensive, conducted when  everyone was expecting a breakthrough in Kherson.  What about Russia? Since December, the Ukrainian  military and political leadership have been   discussing an imminent Russian offensive,  which may start between January and March.   Russia is currently successfully attacking  in Donbas. Capturing Bakhmut would allow them  

to continue their offensive on Sloviansk and  Kramatorsk, along with putting pressure on the   Ukrainians in Kreminna. Russia is also reportedly  gathering troops for a counter-offensive in   Kreminna. Putin may also order another offensive  on Kharkiv due to its proximity to the Russian   border and Belgorod, one of the staging points of  the Russian army, which is advantageous due to its   well-documented problems concerning logistics. For  now, an attack on Kyiv does not seem likely. Thus,  

it is possible to argue that Russia will focus  on advancing to the administrative borders of   Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to sell the capture of  Donbas as a victory to the Russian public. Putin   has already ordered to increase the number of  Russian military personnel to 1.5 million people.   The report of the Finnish military intelligence  claimed that only 25% of Russian soldiers   stationed on the border with Finland before the  war are currently there, showing that Russia is   concentrating its forces on defeating Ukraine  at the expense of defending its own borders.  The Russian airborne troops – VDV, its  naval infantry and Wagner units seem to   be the most capable and best-equipped  ground troops of the Russian army.   Unfortunately for the Russians, the VDV has  lost upward to 50% of its strength since the   beginning of the battle of Kyiv, while the naval  infantry suffered heavy losses around Vuhledar,   and Wagner lost considerable numbers around  Bakhmut. Replacing these losses would be  

difficult. At the same time, Wagner’s  chief Prigozhin continues conflicting   with the Russian establishment on various  topics, including minor issues such as   whether soldiers should be clean-shaven, which  obviously brought Kadyrov into the conversation.  But Ukraine has been experiencing internal  issues too. On January 18, the Minister of   Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrsky and several  other officials died in a helicopter crash, which   was likely accidental. In a separate episode,  Zelensky fired several ministers and heads of   regional administrations, along with banning  government officials from travelling abroad for   personal reasons. He also signed a law earlier  adopted by the Ukrainian parliament, increasing  

criminal liability for military insubordination,  which was supported by the Ukrainian commander in   chief Zaluzhny, but was not universally accepted  by the Ukrainian public. The longer the war goes,   the more internal problems both countries will  probably face. The success of their offensives   depends significantly on internal political  stability, even more so in the case of Ukraine,   since this is the only country in this conflict  which actually faces an existential threat.  The 11th month of the war in Ukraine has  not brought us any closer to its resolution.   Casualties have been mounting for both sides. A  Ukrainian official speaking to Reuters said almost   9k civilians had been killed in Ukraine since  February 2022. The chief of the Norwegian Army,  

Eirik Kristofferson, suggests an even gloomier  number of 30k. He has also claimed that Russia   has lost 180k men dead and wounded, while the  number for Ukraine is closer to 100k. According   to the Oryx blog, the visually confirmed equipment  losses for Russia as of February 1 are 1663 tanks,   3540 vehicles, 225 command posts and communication  stations, 580 artillery pieces and vehicles,   170 multiple rocket launchers, 69 aircraft,  75 helicopters, and 171 drones. For Ukraine,  

these are 453 tanks, 1299 vehicles, 8 command  posts and communication stations, 227 artillery   pieces and vehicles, 37 multiple rocket launchers,  57 aircraft, 29 helicopters, and 69 drones.   Our series will continue in the coming weeks, so  make sure you have subscribed and pressed the bell   button. Recently we have started releasing weekly  patron and youtube member exclusive videos. Join   the ranks of patrons and youtube members via the  link in the description or by pressing the button   under the video to watch these weekly videos,  learn about our schedule, get early access to our   videos, join our private discord, and much more.  Please, consider liking, commenting, and sharing -   it helps immensely. This is the Kings and Generals  channel, and we will catch you on the next one.

2023-02-21 01:06

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