DECRYPTION. War in Ukraine: “The Russians will be in an untenable position…” How Western aid will enable a Ukrainian “trap”

DECRYPTION. War in Ukraine: “The Russians will be in an untenable position…” How Western aid will enable a Ukrainian “trap”
DECRYPTION. War in Ukraine: “The Russians will be in an untenable position…” How Western aid will enable a Ukrainian “trap”

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Ukraine, deprived of ammunition, has been calling on its Western allies for help for several months, faced with a surge of Russian forces on the Eastern front who have been encroaching on ground. Faced with this setback, will Western aid arrive too late? For Guillaume Ancel, former officer and author of “Saint-Cyr, à l’école de la Grande Muette”, the situation could quickly reverse in favor of kyiv, Moscow having failed to consolidate the positions it has won.

Ukraine has recognized considerable difficulties on the Eastern Front for several weeks. Is the Ukrainian defense line cracking or is it still holding on? Can the imminent arrival of Western aid reverse this situation or will it come too late?

The Ukrainian defense line still holds. The Ukrainians are under pressure with the Russian army advancing and launching tons of bombing, but they are retreating in an organized manner. With the equipment starting to arrive, and while the Russians have not managed to consolidate their positions, it is almost a trap which is closing on the latter, who do not have the means to invade Ukraine.

The difficulty of the Ukrainian front is that it is 1,000 km long. This is very disadvantageous for the one who attacks. You must be able to concentrate your forces in one place to be able to break through the opposing defense line. But the adversary can quickly mobilize once it understands where this breakthrough attempt will focus. The Ukrainians suffered from this during their offensive last summer and they never managed to break through the Russian lines. There, the Russians find themselves in the same situation. kyiv played its defensive strategy very well.

Furthermore, with the arrival of spring, we find real combat potential. I think the Ukrainians are letting the Russians advance but I would not be surprised if, by the end of May, the situation was reversed. Of course, the Ukrainians do not have the means to wipe out the Russian army either, but they can destabilize it. This is what they managed to do on Kherson where the Russians had at the time had to withdraw because they could not hold out.

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Have the Russians really gained ground in recent months?

The Russians absolutely want a symbolic breakthrough before May 9 (Victory Day, editor’s note), Putin wants to appear triumphant. In reality, they had no significant advances or victories. This offensive carried out since October has been a failure. In 6 months, the Russians have not managed to really break through the front line. There were certainly saliences, but they did not manage to pierce the Ukrainian curtain, nor to penetrate the territory and leave towards kyiv, for example.

Putin puts pressure on his troops to advance at all costs, with enormous costs in materials and men who are decimated but continue to advance. There are three points on the front line where they have advanced. It was mainly around Avdiivka and Bakhmout that they were introduced. But in military terms, this strategy is dangerous because Russian forces do not have the means to consolidate these breakthroughs. With Western aid arriving, the Russians will find themselves in an untenable position as soon as the Ukrainians regain their positions. So for me, these Russian advances are a tactical error. On the ground, we always try to avoid having our units surrounded and besieged by the enemy.

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How can the arrival of Western aid reshuffle the cards on the front?

kyiv will benefit from an influx of American but also European arms and ammunition, so they will have significant stocks. F-16 planes will arrive, which represents a combat platform, since they will be able to carry ammunition. These devices can also try to intercept certain Russian bombs. Ukraine lacks the capabilities to intercept adversary aircraft and glide bombs, which allow Moscow to bomb the front line powerfully and precisely from cover. If the F-16s give kyiv the ability to intercept these bombs, the Russians will have to bomb the front line from much further away.

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There are also ATACMS missiles arriving and which will allow the Ukrainians to carry out deep strikes without the need for aircraft. Faced with the Russian advance on the territory, they will seek to dry up their logistics and therefore destroy their artillery.

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