Robin Horsfall. Former SAS Soldier. Writer, Veterans Campaigner and Public Speaker. University of Surrey, United Kingdom.
No one receives a valid evaluation of the battlefield in Ukraine by assessing and reporting every strike or retreat down to the village level. In war it is often necessary to withdraw to extend the enemy’s advance and supply lines. This might be forced by the weight of an advance or deliberate tactical movement. What seems accidental is often planned with a tactical or even strategic purpose in mind.
A General must conserve his forces and use them effectively. He must choose his time and place to gain advantage. He must see the whole battlefield. A small defeat here and there will have little effect on the big picture.
Right now the Russian advances in the east are taking some territory and towns but at what cost? It is one thing to take ground and another to hold it. The media have a habit of enlarging the map when reporting on minor advances which on a national map would appear insignificant. 24 hour news requires 24 hour drivel full of opposing and insignificant opinions. Try not to be taken in.
In the east Putin hopes to smash Ukrainian morale with the destruction of towns and control of supply routes. His casualties and material losses will get harder to replace. Ukraine used to make his missiles and Taiwan (an American ally) used to make his microchips.
Putin hopes that Zelensky will blink first and sue for peace. He won’t! 80% of Ukrainians have rejected this option, so the fight is on for the next six months. The battlefield is fluid, it will move and bend on land and on the sea. It is wiser to report on weekly or even monthly changes rather than daily ones.
Step back from Donetsk and extend your view outwards as far as the Baltic and Mediterranean. Include Turkey and Lithuania in your picture, consider the build up of supplies in Poland, listen to the sabre rattling of Belarus. These are the best indications of how the battle is going. For now Putin is forcing his hand, he has to. Ukraine will absorb the pressure today in the knowledge that tomorrow victory will come.
Who Dares Shares.