Russia Lost the Fight for retaking Strategic Initiative: a Long and Bloody War Ahead

The Russian big winter offensive hasn’t happened. The threat on Transnistria grows. Wagner got it’s ammo after Prigozhin’s theatrics featuring “crocodile tears” in social media, but his supply of sacrificial lambs with criminal records is reportedly running low — the MoD now recruiting them directly.

It seems Russian MoD hopped to break the defence lines in a less defended region of Zaporozh’e. If successful, it would allow to circumvent the static Donbass defense line of UA from the southern direction. Yet the initial offensive was stopped at Ugledar with significant losses on Russian side. Russian forces tried again and again to breach through, but due to the incompetence of Russian top military planners and commanders, they retreated each time, after casualties in personnel and military hardware.

Strelkov is expecting Ukrainian counterattack, maybe soon, due to ammo, weapons and equipment shortages on the Russian side, as well as large (and unnecessary) casualties from incompetent frontal assaults. Yet UA is still far from replenishing its losses in armor and artillery, though many new units are created thanks to merciless mobilization efforts. If so, the situation is somewhat similar on both sides — there is still a lot of personnel, but most of them severely lacks training, equipment and weapons to be effective in a mobile combat arms combat.

Farther stagnation of frontline brings importance to opening of other fronts. From Russian side it could be northern and eastern border of UA, but it probably won’t make the situation any better. From Ukrainian side it could be an attack of Russian peacekeeping forces in Transnistria and civil population there (most of them were given Russian citizenship by Russian government), or a stand-off strikes war against Belarus. The first option should bring easy victory and farther humiliation to Russia, as well as discreditation of Rasputin’s government and military. The second option could pressure Belarus to move away from Russia, in order to secure peace in its borders. This is due to the fact that Russian MoD is in no position to protect Belarus from artillery, drone and missile strikes, since it is obviously cannot protect Russian population, infrastructure and bases from such attacks.

Since there is no military solution to the war in sight, the political stability of Russia and UA, as well as the western sponsors of the war, is starting to look more important. In both the West and Russia public opinion of their governments is slowly shifting in negative direction. Yet on both sides there isn’t any viable and sensible alternative to current regimes. Given enough time and suffering that would change.

There is also a possibility of a force majeure that would affect the war in significant way, breaking the status quo. Such possibilities are: major and unexpected political changes in the USA or Russia, new large military conflicts outside of UA and involving the West or Russia, major natural or manmade disaster, other countries entering the RU-UA war, or the use of WMD.

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