They drive Izyum with signs of victory: these Ukrainian tank drivers helped recapture the city.
“Nobody, they’re all gone!” Luhansk’s military governor, Sergei Keide, 46, made the sentence after Russian troops pulled out of several towns and villages in eastern Ukraine in the past few days. The invaders had no choice but to leave most of the supplies – tanks, ammunition and other weapons – as the Ukrainian army surprised them with their attack.
According to British intelligence services, the leading units of the Russian army have been massively weakened. Especially in the early stages of the war there were heavy casualties from which the soldiers never recovered. For example, the First Guards Tank Army suffered. According to the British, parts of this division, one of the most valuable in the Russian army, have withdrawn from the Kharkiv region.
“It’s Not Enough Anymore”
Mauro Mantovani (59), a strategist from the ETH Military Academy, said: “The Russian army no longer has any significant reserves that can be deployed at the front. A nationwide recruitment campaign is underway, and 85 provinces, called federal subjects in Russia, are expected to contribute to volunteer associations. A few battalions have been formed this way. , but some more are likely to follow. Mandovani: “But it won’t be enough to regain the initiative in the Ukraine war.”
A general mobilization is not an option for Russian President Vladimir Putin, 69, because it would “unravel his own campaign of allegedly planned special action” and further weaken the ailing economy. In addition: units without combat experience would suffer heavy losses at the front, increasing latent social tensions in Russia.
In the middle of the week, the Russians used rockets to damage a dam in Krivi Rih. “Moscow has few alternatives to long-range shelling to put pressure on Kyiv,” says Mandovani. With precision munitions and no target reconnaissance, the Russians could only shoot at large targets.
It will take a few more months
The military strategist believes that the turning point of the war has definitely been reached with the recent victories of the Ukrainians. However, the war cannot be said to be over yet. Although Mandovani is convinced that Russia will never again achieve its war goals in Ukraine, he is certain that the war will continue for months to come.
“The war is therefore concluded as long as the Ukrainian government and a fighting army continue to exist, but not until the Russians withdraw immediately from all areas.”
Decades of hype
After nearly seven months of war, Mandovani sums up: “The West has overwhelmed the Russian military and may have done so for decades.” Moscow lacks modern armed forces capable of complex operations and mixed warfare. Mandovani’s assessment: “The Russians have strong artillery fire and can fly in a straight line and fire in line – but not much.”
Its aura as a powerful offensive military has been tarnished for decades, as has its commitment to international law. Perhaps in ten years the military will be strong enough to attack and occupy a small neighboring country again, says a military strategist.
What remains is a possible ballistic and nuclear threat, comparable to that of North Korea. But Mandovani is adamant: “We will never see the Russian military seriously challenging NATO.”
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