The areas where Russian defenses may soon be breached have been named
One should not expect a lull at the front in winter, military experts interviewed by Hromadske believe. The situation depends on the weather and can vary greatly at different parts of the front, because it extends for hundreds of kilometers.
There will be no winter paralysis
Russian troops will be vulnerable in the winter: there are already videos showing their poor preparation for the cold. For example, the mobilized Yakuts live in a windblown tent and do not have sleeping bags.
Since there are many boxes of ammunition and various weapons inside this tent, including handheld anti-tank grenade launchers, one can assume the video was shot in a front-line area.
“Providing a soldier is a crucial detail because a person, not a cannon or a tank, is at war. A person must have proper and warm clothes to effectively perform combat missions,” military expert Petro Chernik says.
Russians have problems not only with tents. Mobilized men from the Altai Krai complain that they are provided with old uniforms and the new uniforms with the marking of the military unit are sold in the local military shop. They add that three weeks after the draft they only learned how to apply tourniquets.
And Andrei Kolesnik, a member of the Russian State Duma, suggested that Russian soldiers should be provided with wadded clothes, just like during World War II.
Despite the poor supply, the Russian army should not be underestimated.
“Yes, there are mobiks, but there are many of them. People who face a war learn very quickly. One has to survive somehow. We cannot ignore this threat,” Reserve Lieutenant General Ihor Romanenko says.
Although the Ukrainian army is better supplied, there are unlikely to be any breakthroughs at the front in the coming weeks. The autumn slush and excessive moisture in the soil cause equipment to slip and the mobility of troops to decrease. Even U.S. MaxxPro high-capacity armored vehicles have trouble driving in the Ukrainian mud.
“It could be a mild winter, like at the end of February when the enemy attacked. The soil was relatively muddy, and we saw a tremendous amount of equipment that got stuck in it. If the situation repeats, we will be able to move only on roads where our equipment can be easily hit, as we used to hit the Russians,” military expert Petro Chernik says.
Even under such conditions, “the front will seethe” and counter-battery fighting will continue, he notes.
“If the frost lasts a few weeks, the ground will freeze, and there will be no problems with maneuvering. But this is a fairly individual story, and the situation may vary from front to front,” Chernik stresses.
Breaking through the defenses in the south
After the liberation of Kherson and nearby territories, the Russians continued to fortify their positions south of the Dnipro River. Fleeing from the right bank allowed the Kremlin to redeploy its troops to other directions, particularly Zaporizhzhia. No new fortifications had yet been secured in this direction, as in the Kherson region, where the enemy had built three lines of trenches and pillboxes.
The exception is the defenses near Mariupol: Russians deployed pyramidal anti-tank fortifications, the so-called “dragon teeth,” deep in the rear to prevent the AFU from advancing in the event of a breakthrough.
The southern direction is the most promising for breaking through the Russian army’s defenses, Lieutenant Colonel of the Israel Defense Forces Reserve Aryeh Zayden believes: “The precipitation season in the south ends in late November. It snows. It will be colder. January and February are very windy, dry; temperatures are sub-zero. Equipment can drive safely in the steppe.”
The armed forces continue to hit the positions of the occupants in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. It results in hundreds of wounded invaders, the General Staff reports. The very front line in the south stretches for about 200 km.
“A two-tier defense system was used in the Soviet Union, and now Russians are probably using it as well: two battalions in front and one behind. Each battalion can cover a maximum of four kilometers. Russians don’t have enough forces to hold this entire line closely. The AFU will most likely find a gap in the defense and pass through it and develop their offensive,” Aryeh Zayden says.
He says that the greatest success is the capture of Melitopol, which is now the key transport hub of occupants.
“If Russians surrender the city, it’s the end for them. The entire group is left then without logistics. Hence, it will be destroyed or forced to flee,” Zayden says.
The Lieutenant Colonel notes that it is not necessary to enter Melitopol for a significant advantage. It is enough to keep the logistics arteries near the city under artillery fire: the belt roads and highways that connect west and east.
The railroad route to Melitopol is in AFU’s gun sights: the military damaged the bridge near Chernihivka. Thus, the General Staff now reports the occupants won’t be able to use it.
To support the enemy grouping in the south there is also the Kerch Bridge, the traffic capacity of it has now been halved. However, the logistics from Crimea can be destroyed by completely taking under fire control the roads leading from the peninsula to mainland Ukraine. It can be done, says Reserve Lieutenant General Ihor Romanenko, because the AFU has already attacked facilities much further behind enemy lines: an airfield near Dzhankoy, for example.
“At least for this we have Harpoon and Neptune missiles, which have a sufficient range for this,” Romanenko says.
Breakthrough in Luhansk Oblast
Another promising direction is Svatove-Kreminna, Luhansk Oblast. The armed forces are gradually pushing the occupants out of there. British intelligence reports that Russian troops are becoming increasingly vulnerable in the region, but heavy fighting continues. These may include both artillery duels and clashes with small arms.
“After retreating behind Liman, the enemy managed to build a pretty good echeloned defense. The roads also let us down. It’s impossible to drive on caterpillar vehicles, let alone off-road vehicles. Vehicles get stuck, one should pull them out. Moreover, the enemy has sufficient means of destruction: powerful artillery and tanks,” Illya Koldomasov, press officer of the volunteer unit Charter, says.
As soon as the ground in the region freezes, our troops will be able to launch a faster offensive, colonel in reserve Roman Svitan believes.
“The AFU has already liberated Makiivka, Luhansk Oblast. It is a village in the middle between Svatove and Kreminna. One can use it as a convenient bridgehead for a further exit to the east, towards Shchastia and Luhansk.”
A Ukrainian breakthrough from the north of Luhansk Oblast would pose a threat to the enemy group that is storming Bakhmut.
“If it succeeds, we will enter their rear. Russians will have to stop the attack and go on the defensive,” Lieutenant General of the reserve Ihor Romanenko notes.
Suicide bombers go to Bakhmut
The Russians have been trying to capture Bakhmut and the settlements near it for almost four months now. The Donetsk direction is the only one where they are now advancing.
“We’ve been working for three months and have the whole map in targets. I can’t count how many Russians there are. But we also have a lot of shells,” a drone operator with the call sign “Nick” says.
The occupants are bombarding the city with artillery and aviation round the clock. This is the hottest point in the east. The Ukrainian military is repulsing several assaults a day. The Institute for the Study of War has previously called these Russian attacks “senseless,” and videos are circulating online showing the positions of invaders from the private military company Wagner covered with the bodies of the dead.
Constant replenishments of personnel allow Russians to continue their offensive in the region. Wagner continues to recruit from prisons: the number of prisoners in Russia has dropped by 23,000 in just two months.
“We will hold this area; we have good fortifications there. They were built for eight years. It was the second line of defense. Our units there have already been reinforced by the troops that came from the right bank of Kherson Oblast,” Roman Svitan, a colonel in the AFU reserve, says.
Endless Russian assaults on Bakhmut are doomed to failure, Austrian military analyst Tom Cooper says. He says that the enemy strike groups are too small and poorly prepared. They are guided not by the military strategy but Putin’s desire to seize any city in order to create a picture of success on propaganda television.
The Belarusian Gambit
The question of a new attack by Belarus remains open. This time, the military of this unfriendly republic may join the Russian army.
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reports that Russian special services were planning attacks under a foreign flag against the energy infrastructure of Belarus in order to draw it directly into the war.
However, analysts now consider an attack from the north unlikely. Lieutenant Colonel Aryeh Zayden, a reserve officer in the Israel Defense Forces, notes that the enemy does not have a sufficient concentration of forces for this: “For example, to take a city as huge as Kyiv under siege, a force almost equal in size to the one already fighting on the entire territory of Ukraine is needed. One raid will not take the city”.
The training exercises of the units of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 1st Tank Army of the Russian Federation have recently been completed in the territory of Belarus. It does not mean that they will be involved in the attack from the north after the trainings, Lieutenant General of the reserve Ihor Romanenko says: “Most likely they will be transferred to the east or south to perform combat missions there”.
At the same time, Major General Kirill Budanov, the head of SID, pointed out that a potential threat from Belarus remained.
Video above: Mobilized Yakuts are freezing in a tent to patriotic music.
“There will be no winter paralysis”
That’s good to hear, but it was expected. It’s very essential not to let the cockroaches catch their breath.
“The Lieutenant Colonel notes that it is not necessary to enter Melitopol for a significant advantage. It is enough to keep the logistics arteries near the city under artillery fire: the belt roads and highways that connect west and east.”
Good plan! But, I think that Mariupol might be the next focus of the UA forces. This would be another smashing blow to the cockroaches. Of course, keeping the supply lines from Crimea under fire control will also be on the front burner.
It’s interesting that even in cold, freezing weather, the ground is still a combination of slick and sticky. Sounds like a clay-like muck, but if it’s not frozen yet, it must have a high salt content dispersed throughout the soil. Obviously, this slowed down the russians during their first attempt in February, but it didn’t slow Ukrainians down very much.
In American sports, if a “visiting” team has a lot of problems on the field of the team defending it, it’s said that the defenders have a “home-field advantage.” The “visitors” might not know what part of the field is wetter than others, which parts have more traction, or if there’s a sprinkler head that a “player” might trip on or worse, “fumble the ball.”
I think it sounds like someone wants to split the eastern front in half at the middle, which would force the russians to divide the resources into smaller groups, and therefore be harder for their logistics to keep up.
These morons don’t even know how to hide their positions; they make campfires and smoke cigarettes in the trenches, let alone know how to read the terrain.
Yeah, it’s almost as if they’re “begging” to be put out of their misery in being shot, or captured! Either would end their deadly struggle with the cold!
You might even be right about that assumption, Mac!