war in Ukraine
Modern weapons systems are hitting Putin hard, but it will take more than a handful of rocket launchers to stop him.
American missile launchers blow up Russian warehouses every day, but Putin’s troops continue to advance. Slowly, imperceptibly, but relentlessly. It takes more than a handful of rocket launchers to stop them.
Ukraine was able to prevent the first attack of the Russian invaders with smart tactics and the right weapons. And of course with the fighting spirit of the troops. Thousands of man-portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles prevented the Russian armed forces from developing air and armor superiority in the first few weeks. On the contrary, they suffered heavy losses, especially along the overstretched supply routes, and were forced to abandon their attempts to capture Kiev and Kharkov.
Today, there is no doubt that the new rocket launchers and howitzers supplied by the West are having an impact on what is happening. The HIMARS system from the United States is distinguished by the fact that it combines precision, high destructive power with the right munitions against long-range point and area targets. The decisive difference compared to modern howitzers is the range, which makes it possible to hit targets far from the front. HIMARS are primarily used to hit munitions dumps to deplete the Russian military’s supplies to fuel its offensive. The stated goal of the Ukrainian government is to get missiles with a longer range, 300 kilometers instead of the current 80 kilometers.
Gaps at the start of the Donbas offensive
But will it be enough? All of these deliveries carry the stigma of being too late and too little. Months earlier, the Kremlin had changed its tactics for all to see and put the artillery in the foreground. If 40 HIMARS had been delivered then rather than later, the Donbass offensive would likely have remained in its infancy. Today, Putin is losing an ammunition dump every day, but will that force him to surrender? It should be remembered that since the beginning of the war, Russian troops have been carrying out similar attacks on Ukrainian objects every day throughout the country. Around 3,000 cruise missiles were launched. It is reported that mostly civilians were killed in the strikes in the west. However, it should not be forgotten that most strikes destroy infrastructure that can be used militarily.
The army is dying
The waiting and hesitancy of the West has fatal consequences, which our politicians try not to mention. Maps and terrain achievements are widely discussed daily. There is silence about the losses of Ukrainian troops. But in the meantime, Ukraine’s armed forces continue to wear out, which means soldiers die. Kiev will not be able to compensate for the loss of well-trained professional soldiers and dedicated volunteers with conscripts and lightning-fast training. And while Western leaders may eventually agree to the delivery of more weapons, the dead will not come back to launch those weapons.
What is happening at the front?
All hopes that the Russian advance would be halted because Putin’s troops could no longer hold out were not justified. After the fall of Lysichansk there was a period of regrouping, but at the same time the pressure on the Ukrainian defenders was maintained. It is the nature of this war that there are no decisive battles. So, the achievements of the Russian troops can always be considered strategically unimportant, insignificant, etc., but it is of no use, they are constantly gnawing at the Ukrainian defense line.
After the fall of Lisichansk, pressure increased on the front between Sloviansk and Bakhmut. Further north, near Kharkiv, Moscow’s armed forces are also making gains. Here, the Ukrainians had already reached the border, the famous image with the border guard was set or not, from there they wanted to invade the Russian positions in order to cut off the attacks of Siverodonetsk and Lisichansk in depth. Instead, the Russians advanced so far that Kharkiv was again within range of their guns.
For weeks, Kiev has been plotting its attack in the south. The liberation of Kherson and the advance of the Crimea were announced, and in case of success, would shake the entire Russian position. Little happened. Ukrainian troops have reached Kherson. Since then, only Kiev’s statements have increased, to a point that lacks realism. There is no sign that the Dnieper has been crossed and the city has actually been liberated. Rather, the fear is that Ukrainian troops are trapped in a dead zone from which they are politically constrained and too weak to make a decisive breakthrough.
Instead, the Russian Defense Minister announced the start of intensive military operations on all fronts.
Putin wants to win
The “London Times”, which is usually well-informed, reports that the US secret services see no signs of a change in strategy by Putin. Putin will continue the war as long as the West does not want to bear these costs. His calculation. Kyiv does not only need military equipment. The systematic destruction of the country will mean that larger parts of civil society will also have to be fed from outside. Just one example. Kiev will not be able to guarantee its own energy supply this winter, so someone will have to pay the gas bill for its 40 million people. The only hope to change Putin’s mind is a series of spectacular actions against symbolic targets, such as the sinking of the “Moscow”. This would include Putin’s pet project, the Crimean bridge. But even that would be an act of desperation. Because no one can predict how a review will turn out. Would Putin stop or massively escalate the war?
Also consider the unimaginable
“I’m a realist, I know the Russians aren’t going to turn around tomorrow and walk across the Russian border,” a senior Pentagon official told The Times. “From a military point of view, the cost to Russia is much higher than it would be without such support from the West.” In his opinion, the West should stop thinking week by week. He should analyze the possible developments of the war and develop a strategy for it. “Until now, the ‘speculators’ have been mostly wrong. No Russian blitzkrieg. No Russian collapse. No stunning results from unprecedented sanctions. It is best to recognize that there are a number of possibilities and think about how we can deal with each one. Individual, rather than trying to predict what will happen next.” By default, it also means looking at what options remain if Putin continues to win on the ground, and the hope that Russian troops will be pushed back decisively does not arise.