Despite the fact that in recent weeks the Russian occupation army has been gathering additional forces, it does not have any offensive resources, therefore, it will not be able to break through the defense line of the Ukrainian army. The Defense Forces have the prospect of reaching Tokmak by October. Below are two scenarios for the development of the situation.
If the enemy decides to fight to the end, it will be a waste of time and resources. In addition, he will be surrounded. If the occupier surrenders these positions and the Ukrainian army moves on, by the end of 2023 it will be able to reach either Melitopol or the coast of the Azov Sea. Then the story with the right bank of the Kherson region may repeat itself – the enemy will be forced to “make a difficult decision.” This forecast was voiced by military-political observer of the Information Resistance group Alexander Kovalenko in an exclusive interview with OBOZREVATEL .
– US Secretary of State Antony Blinken named two goals of this state in the context of the war in Ukraine. This is to impede Russia’s strategic success and help Ukraine recover after victory. Previously, the United States stated that it has the ability to track exactly where its weapons are used. In fact, this was a direct hint to Ukraine not to use American weapons on Russian territory. Don’t you see some kind of contradiction here? Judging by the weapons the United States is providing us with, are they ready for Ukraine to win this war?
– All international partners, when they transfer this or that weapon to us, say a very important point: these weapons cannot be used on Russian territory. At the same time, they do not perceive the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, in particular Crimea, as Russian. So the use of these weapons is permitted within these limits. As for the weapons that can be used in Russia, these are weapons that are produced specifically by Ukraine, weapons of our own production. This is on the one hand.
But on the other hand, there is a very interesting point. We produce weapons that include components of foreign origin, foreign technologies, but even in this case, Ukraine can use missiles or something else in the Russian Federation. Thus, our partners can increase the number of combat missions that we can carry out not only in temporarily occupied territories, but also on the territory of the aggressor country.
– So, do you think that under such conditions it is no longer so important for us what kind of means to use on the territory of Russia – allied or our own?
– Yes exactly.
– At the end of last year, General Zaluzhny noted that, according to his then estimates, the volume of Western assistance would not be enough to completely liberate the territory of Ukraine. Do you think that the situation has now changed, that today, based on the announced assistance, Ukraine has the resource for complete de-occupation?
– No, not until the announced assistance does help to liberate all the territories. It will exclusively shape our further offensive actions. For example, if we are talking about operations that will be carried out in 2024, then it will be a completely different nomenclature, and completely different assistance packages. Therefore, for now, today, we can talk about the formation of certain scenarios for the liberation of this or that region, this or that district, or settlement using what is available today.
When we liberate, for example, the temporarily occupied Crimean Peninsula or the Donetsk region and Donetsk, Lugansk region and Lugansk, these will be completely different aid packages, a completely different nomenclature and different volumes.
– And today we can be sure that the West will provide us with such assistance?
– Yes, definitely.
– According to General Budanov, even if Putin and Kim Jong-un agreed on military assistance during the last meeting, in fact North Korea has been doing this for a month and a half. In particular, these are 122 and 152 mm caliber shells, rockets for the Grad MLRS and tank shells. How significant can such assistance be? How can this strengthen the occupying army and can this fact change the balance of power at the front?
“He won’t be able to change the balance of power at the front, because the logistics here are hellish—10 thousand kilometers of transportation distance.” Of course, General Budanov knows much more than me. I use verified data, so I can neither confirm nor deny the fact of ammunition supplies from North Korea to Russia. There is a lot of talk about this, but we have not yet seen a single fact.
Only one photo appeared – allegedly with ammunition with Korean characters on it. But then it turned out that this was Photoshop, and quite primitive at that. Thus, there is no verified fact of supply yet.
If this happens, it will only be with the permission of Xi Jinping. But I don’t think he will take that risk. Because China has problems with Taiwan. If China allows North Korea to send ammunition to Russia, then someone will start sending something to Taiwan from a range that did not exist before.
Another important point. Even if delivery occurs, this process cannot be global or large-scale. Firstly, North Korea has a degraded railway. There are not a large number of wagons, trains, or locomotives that would constantly drive dozens of wagons with ammunition to Russia. No. The last train recorded from North Korea to Russia, besides Kim Jong-in’s armored train, had only three 50-ton freight cars. So you can draw conclusions about what volumes we are talking about.
They will not solve Russia’s problem with ammunition. This may be a purely situational decision. For example, a certain amount of ammunition will travel 10 thousand kilometers, reach the front, and then they will be distributed among several divisions. The problem of these individual divisions will be solved, but not for the entire combat zone.
– The last question is about strengthening the occupying army. According to the Main Intelligence Directorate, Russia is now transferring the 25th Army to the front in the Lugansk region. It also became known that in the north of the Luhansk region the occupiers are forming so-called “Storm-Z” units, which are mainly composed of prisoners. Do you think that before the onset of the so-called “rainy season” the occupier can significantly strengthen his positions and make a breakthrough on some part of the front?
– I think that the Russians have no prospect of breaking through our defense line. Yes, they are forming their 25th army, all these “Storm-Z”, the purpose of which is to throw “meat” at our positions. But they lack offensive potential and functionality, especially in the Lugansk region.
They will organize this whole meat grinder, but there will be no breakthrough due to a shortage of equipment and ammunition. There is a shortage of units with standard equipment and many other problems. They couldn’t do it before, and they won’t do it now.
– What about the Ukrainian Defense Forces? What kind of success can they have over the next month?
– I think that in early October we will be able to reach Tokmak. I have such an optimistic outlook. And then everything will develop according to a scenario that will depend on the behavior of Russians. Either they will hold the defense there until the last drop of blood, or they will flee. If they run, it’s better for them. If they hold the line, they will be surrounded. But this is really a waste of time and resources.
So a breakthrough of the second line of defense this year is possible, but it is not a fact that we will reach the Azov coast. At the same time, if the enemy does not linger in Tokmak, by the end of this year we will be able to reach either the coast of the Azov Sea or Melitopol. Thus, bad weather conditions can meet us already there. But then the artillery will work.
A small section of land controlled by artillery fire – and we will see in the Zaporozhye region a situation similar to the right bank Kherson region, which at a certain moment began to be shot through. The same will happen here. The lack of maneuverability, mobility and the ability to use artillery, safe logistics – all this will lead to the fact that the Russians from Melitopol will have to make not a “gesture of goodwill”, but “make difficult decisions”.