While the russian offensive marks the stepefore Kyiv and Kharkiv, and that the cities given as in the hands of the Russians, like Kherson and Berdyansk, continue to resist in spite of a very deteriorated situation for the Ukrainian defenders, the Russian armies have, it seems, radically changed strategy to overcome the Ukrainian resistance. Renouncing special operations and heavy use of airborne forces, Russian forces are reportedly engaging in a much more conventional doctrine, with massive attacks carried out by combined arms battalions backed by heavy support artillery and tactical aviation, leading to fears of a very rapid increase in civilian casualties on all fronts.
The initial strategy implemented by the Russian armies was obviously a bitter failure. Expecting the stunned Ukrainian forces following the tactical surprise of a multi-pronged attack, and relying on special forces and airborne operations to decapitate the country's authorities and by massive strikes with short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, the Russian plan hoped to win the decision in just a few days, to the point thatan article by RIA Novosti announcing the total victory of the Russian armies in Ukraine was written on February 19, 5 days before the offensive itself. Unfortunately for the Russian military, and as already mentioned, this plan experienced many setbacks, and even if the armies of the southern front recorded real successes by announcing the capture of the city like Kherson beyond the Dnieper on the third day, and of Berdyansk to the west of Mariupol on the fourth day of the war, the two main offensives to the north targeting Kharkiv, and to the northwest targeting the capital Kyiv, were stopped, without being able to be unblocked.
However, the Russian armies are not yet defeated, far from it. Firstly, they have only committed half of the forces positioned around the country in Ukraine in recent months, and even if the forces engaged have, it seems, suffered numerous losses both in terms of personnel and materials, the Russian army has significant reserves to carry out a second wave of assault, against already heavily tested Ukrainian defenses. This is how huge convoys of forces from Belarus were observed heading towards Kyiv, raising fears of a siege of the Ukrainian capital and therefore of significant civilian casualties. And all the more so since, obviously, the second phase of the Russian military operation in Ukraine will be based on a much more classic doctrine for this army, making massive use of all the firepower of its artillery and its air force to break the Ukrainian resistance.
Indeed, until yesterday, the Russian armies made only limited use of these two major assets at their disposal. Thus, the Russian artillery was particularly measured during the first 5 days of combat, and avoided as much as possible to make use of all its suppressive or destructive firepower. Similarly, Russian air support consisted primarily of close air support missions carried out by Su-25s and Mig-29s, and air superiority missions carried out by Su-27s, Su-30s and Su-35s. 25. The bombing fleet, consisting of Su-34 and Su-22 tactical bombers, and Tu-3MXNUMX long-range bombers, had hardly been seen until yesterday. However, many regiments equipped with these devices had been deployed near the Ukrainian borders prior to the conflict, and we can anticipate that they will now be called upon to increase in power in the hours to come.
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