The expert expects 100,000 soldiers to die
That’s why winter could turn out to be a defeat for Putin
The first winter of war is just around the corner in Ukraine. Now the soldiers fight not only against the enemy, but also against the cold. Experts see defenders as an advantage.
Destroyed Russian tanks are on display in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
The lower the temperature, the more important equipment becomes for the soldiers on the front lines. More clothing, more food, more spare parts, more fuel are all in demand. In recent weeks there have been repeated reports that the Russian military He has trouble supplying his troops with supplies. Russian soldiers had to stock up on helmets, bulletproof vests and even bandages at their own expense. Ukrainian troops, on the other hand, are relatively well-equipped, they say.
As history shows, the defender has a strategic advantage in winter: for example, Hitler’s Wehrmacht attack on Russia failed in December 1941, not because of the cold. Russian President Vladimir Putin, 70, and his troops face tough months ahead, according to experts. Military and Ukraine expert Thomas C. Theiner, for example, expects 100,000 Russian soldiers to have died, he writes on Twitter.
Bad logistics, frozen sites
Diner gives seven reasons why Putin’s troops will be out of luck in the winter:
- Lack of winter clothing: The Russian government does not provide its soldiers with adequate equipment against the impending cold. Videos of men who have been called up for military service showing off their equipment are going viral on the internet. So they must go into battle with paintball masks and unlined rubber boots. According to Tyner, inadequate equipment can cause many soldiers to die of hypothermia.
- Bad Logistics: This point also freezes the Russian players. Because there is a shortage of hot food, tea, heating supplies and sleeping bags at the front.
- No shelters and trenches: At night, temperatures in Ukraine can drop below zero. Russian soldiers sometimes had to spend the night outside. The lowest point of winter temperature is reached only in January.
- Frozen Ground: When temperatures drop below freezing, new trenches and shelters cannot be dug. Then the Russian troops had to spend the night on the cold ground. Here too the conclusion: many are likely to die of hypothermia.
- Fire is dangerous: When Russian soldiers light fires to fight the cold, they open themselves to the knives of the Ukrainian army. The smoke will reveal their location. Drone strikes and artillery strikes will result.
- Artillery is more effective on frozen ground: shells don’t dig into the ground before exploding. Therefore, more fragments will fly in the air; So artillery fire is very dangerous.
- No protection from artillery fire: the frozen ground prevents trenches from being dug.
“Putin knows that and certainly wants to intervene in the war in the spring,” Diner continues. Winter will help Ukraine liberate large areas.
“The Russians will not rest”: Zelensky prepares Ukrainians for a tough winter(01:03)
“Rasputitsa” makes it difficult to progress
as “NZZ” writes, the so-called “rasputitsa” phenomenon can get in the way of Ukrainian progress, at least in the southern Kherson region, where temperatures are relatively mild. “Rasputisa” can be translated as “mud time”. This is a stage where the soil is softened. It is very difficult to advance with tanks and heavy military equipment.
Carlo Masala, a political scientist at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, told “NZZ”: “The cold is a smaller problem than the mud.” Military vehicles should use footpaths during muddy season. However, on roads, vehicles are more visible, their routes more predictable, and therefore easier targets for enemy attacks. This situation should make it easier for Russian troops to dig into the occupied territories.
According to meteorologists, a warm winter is expected. However, the corresponding model calculations are subject to very large uncertainties. (no)
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