UA Updates: Static Front, Lessons Not Leant, Skidding Russian MIC, Infrastructure Warfare

There are no big news currently coming from UA. The front has stabilized for now, Russians seem to have just enough troops to hold any Ukrainian breakthroughs past its defenses.

Wagner Group is the only force on Russian side making any progress. They are free from Russian command insanity to manage themselves and aren’t limited by the cost they are paying for their tactical success. Their manpower consists of mercenaries who won’t be counted with Russian Military casualties. A portion of them are contracted convicts, who, as far as Rasputin and friends are concerned, are better not to return from the battlefields anyway. Still, their progress is very slow and limited, and it would take years to take the recognized territories this way. Assuming Wagner Group won’t burn through their available manpower until then. But, since the condition of convicts’ service is half-year contract with payment and pardon at the end of this term, many of the survivors probably wouldn’t renew their contracts. So, new convicts are needed to be contracted this way into Wagner, and the ones that are survived half a year would now enter the civil society, after receiving military training and combat experience, and acquiring new brothers in arms. There is a potential here for creating new organized crime elements. It is also possible those men would be able to acquire weapons of war, using their new knowledge and the civil war chaos in bordering territories. If Russian government would try to change the deal, by extending their contracts or whatever, they could have a mutiny situation on their hands in frontlines and in penal colonies. So, all this trouble for months long head smashing against the most fortified defense line on Ukrainian Army, resulted in few kilometers gains here and there.

Now, I see hear some people who believe that once the Bakhmut defense lines would fall, the rest will soon follow, and the road to the Dnepr would be clear. Yet the thing is, defence lines are not natural obstacles like large rivers or mountains. There are bult by men, and given enough time new defense lines could be build, especially if advances are very slow. The only significant natural obstacle in UA is the Dnepr River, and Russian have abandoned the only beachhead they had on its western side. So, I don’t see any strategic significance of taking Bakhmut by itself. It is only useful as a mean to suck in the UA forces, while preparing and eventually unleashing a deep maneuver operation to flank and surround and cut off those forces.

It seems I was correct in my suspicion of the Surovikin appointment. Leaving for aside his competence as military commander, it seems the corrupt practices of the Russian MoD are still rooted there, even during wartime. The alternative Russian patriotic media is boiling with the news of new orders coming down to the fighting troops. It turns out, the MoD wants to improve its floor-level image in Russian society (~20 approval according to Rybar’s channel survey) by forcing the troops to film themselves before any mission. So, the ground troops as well as the air force is now tasked with taking pretty pictures of themselves. This includes change of clothes etc. Officers and soldiers are now ordered to participate in theatrics, wasting their time and energy on it instead on fighting and winning the actual war. It seems it doesn’t come from Surovikin, but it’s his responsibility to wade off any harmful orders such as these. Yet, being one of the corrupt MoD buddies club, he would be hard pressed to oppose such idiotic and harmful initiatives, if they come from his patrons upstairs.

I admit, this doesn’t seem like something of big importance. And I didn’t give that news much time. But it is interesting to see the “patriotic alternative media”, who are usually supporting MoD’s conduct by trying to rationalize it, suddenly all turning against it. I guess they got too many heated complains from the soldiers and officers on the frontline, to ignore or rationalize it as they usually do.

Another heated criticism from the patriotic alternative media came at the Almaz-Antey’s new “indigenous” quadcopter, built using Chinese components. Their complaint is its high price (higher than the similar Chinese made drones), and that almost all of its components are imported. Well, the thing is, Almaz-Antey is one of the most (if not the most) competent Russian companies of the military industrial complex. Their profile is mostly air-defence systems, and not drones. Yet, now the requirement for drones in Russian Army is enormous. And the traditional manufacturers are either at their full production capacity (like Kronshtadt and ZALA companies), or unable to produce anything real but concept art and models for exhibitions. Moreover, Russia doesn’t produce a wide range of electronic components except for some very specialized ones. The higher price for Russian made military oriented products will obviously be higher than that of Chinese commercial drones. But it may be much simpler to import Chinese electronic components than the whole drones, since not only Chinese private companies but also Chinese government owned MIC isn’t ready to openly supply Russian Military with technology for the war in Ukraine.

Overall, the situation at present is at stand still, while both sides are trying to shell, rocket or strike at infrastructure. Russians are continuing to degrade Ukrainian electrical distribution network and other energy related facilities, while UA is targeting Russian ones, as well as continuing to indiscriminately shell civilian targets in captured and Russian proper territories. UA is still bringing reinforcements and replacement troops towards border areas, seemingly trying to find a weak spot in Russian defences to achieve another breakthrough, similar to Kharkov or Kherson. I suspect Russian are also preparing their troops for some deep offensive operation, if they would be able to build enough reserves while holding off the Ukrainian offensive initiatives.


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