In a non-important but somewhat indicative news articles of the last few days, a few caught my eye. Coinciding with the start of the Ukrainian spring offensive which is intended to push Russia back to the pre-2022 or even pre-2014 borders.
While some claim the offensive is not yet begun, it is obvious to me it already have. The reason it is still isn’t acknowledged by the UA and the West is twofold: firstly it is only in the preparation stage (a very critical stage non the less), and secondly is that it failed to bring any meaningful results so far.
It starts to look as if the Ukrainian spring offensive will have as much “success” as the Russian winter offensive. The latter failed so much that many are convinced it never happened in the first place.
The main goals of Ukrainian spring offensive are clear at this time: to penetrate deeply into Donetsk and Zaporozh’e regions and cut of the Russian land-bridge into Crimea and Kherson regions. If successful, it would serve as a bridgehead in the offensive of Crimean peninsula itself. According to a situation that would develop, the best possible result for the UA-NATO axis would be to start the Crimean offensive right away, not giving time to Russian military to reinforce the peninsula via the vulnerable Crimean bridge and by sea. It would also create a great panic among the civil population in Crimea that would start fleeing into Russia, thus putting all available sea and air transport in evacuation mode instead of the military supply mode.
That being said, the only success UA had for now is pushing away some Russian units on the outskirts of Artemovsk/Bakhmut. The open fields and villages are not a defendable position. As long as Artemovsk itself and its supply lanes remain under Russian control, there is not much meaning to Ukrainian success, barring the usual human tragedy, of course. Much like Russian “big” winter offensive resulted in some fields and villages captured (and then abandoned), not changing the big picture the least.
But this spring offensive must include smaller offensives in other directions in order to redirect and deplete Russian reserves. A head-on, frontal offensive on an entrenched enemy with reserves and operational supply lines is a terrible idea, unless there is an overwhelming fire superiority (which Russians lacked in Artemovsk and other places — hence the results). So the main plan is heavily dependent on Ukrainian military’s ability to:
- inflict significant damage on Russian forces
- break through Russian defence lines
- divert significant reserves and resources into those secondary directions or initiate Russian retreat.
Failing to achieve those, any realistic offensive UA can manage at present would choke up, loosing the momentum and giving Russians time to readjust.
So yes, the “Great Spring Offensive” of the sacrificial Ukrainian Army has already started. But all they have to show for it is the PR footage of misery inflicted on random Russian soldiers. This won’t be enough for the Western patrons who invest their sacred money on the Ukrainian fools.
So I present the first news article:
Ukraine hails gains in Bakhmut as Zelenskiy wins more weapons in Europe
The Western mass-media giving a friendly push for the Ukrainian offensive, trumpeting its initial “success”. This is a part of psychological campaign as countless others in the last years. It hasn’t originated at the Reuters offices, but came from the usual sources like White House State department or whoever is running the anti-Russian PSYOPs in support of this war.
The more important part is there the headline is already talking about new Western weapon supplies. I personally was under impression that the West has already supplied everything it was willing to supply for this spring offensive, and any other weapon supplies would rely on the results of the said offensive. Yet, the header (which is the most important part of any news article, since it is what most of the people read to form their opinion) is talking about future supplies.
The obvious conclusion is that those “long-range drones” are of symbolic nature. It wasn’t a part of weapon supplies earmarked for the offensive, and it’s not the payment for bleeding Russia as a result of a successful offensive. This was only intended to create a favorable image of the ongoing offensive, the major part of it which is yet to start.
And no less interesting is the discrepancy of the “more weapons from Europe” and the actual “(some) [edit: actually, “hundreds”] long-range [edit: “suicide”] drones from UK”. As always, the UK of the UK-Poland-UA anti-Russian axis is putting the cart before the horses in order to push the rest of more reluctant Western countries for more aggressive and ever-escalating measures. But since UK is not a real military power even on EU scale, all they can do is few dozens or two of drones (or cruise missiles, or tanks, etc.).
Putin’s tank arithmetic
The eternal saint Rasputin has made some statements about Russian tank fleet numbers, it seems. It was a part of a larger news article [Ru] dealing with Russian ammunition and tank production. The Rasputin’s comments are from earlier this month, when he stated that by the time UA will receive its promised 400 tanks, Russia will have three times the tanks overall.
This statement is so stupefying, it is impossible for me to wrap my head around this statement. It is so amorphous, that it becomes meaningless.
First of all — what 400 tanks Rasputin is talking about? Is he talking about Western-made tanks only, disregarding the Eastern-block made tanks like T-55s, T-72s and their clones? Because UA has already received about 400 eastern (Soviet and Warsaw-pact) tanks. So it is possible to assume he means NATO-origin tanks only. In that case, there are about one hundred old French tank-destroyers/light-tanks, 100+ old German light-tanks, and about few dozens of modern (i.e. late- or post-Cold War) main battle tanks. Another 200- western MBTs were promised, but will be (potentially) supplied through the entire year.
If so, what Rasputin is saying is that Russia, which had the largest MBT fleet on the planet at the start of the conflict (at least on paper), will have only 3 times more tanks in total than UA. Considering UA had about 1,000 MBTs at the start of the conflict, and the consequent tank supplies only managed to replace the destroyed ones at the very best (at least by my understanding), while Russia had around 30,000 main battle tanks (including some 3-4 thousands in active service), it means Russian federation will remain with ~3,000 MBTs at the start of 2024 at best.
This is obviously a nonsense. So the Biden-mouth Rasputin must have meant ~3,000 main battle tanks in active service in total. Even then, considering Russian officials were talking something about producing 1,600 tanks a year and especially considering Russian MoD is now re-inducting the antient T-54/55 into active service, his arithmetic must mean that Russia will remain with ~1,500 pre-2023 main battle tanks at the end of the year.
In other words, if this nonsensical statement to be taken at face value, Russia is losing about 1,000 tanks a year (~3,000 in active service or active reserve at the start of the war + 1,600 “new” tanks a year – losses = ~3,000 tanks remained at the end of 2023; hence losses = ~1,500 MBTs for ~1,5 years of the war, or ~1,000 tanks per year).
To make things worse, the article (citing the Vise-Premier in charge of Ministry of Industry and Markets) states that in the first quarter of 2023, Russia has produced as many tanks as in the entire 2022. The problem here is that Russian officials are no more giving any actuals numbers, but talking in fractions and multiples instead. You might think that keeping the exact numbers and models may somehow be damaging to national security, but the simple fact is that the West knows this figures while the Russian public is kept in dark from knowing the truth.
Not only those “numbers” aren’t actual numbers but ratios, they are also totally meaningless, considering any refurbished, 80-years-old T-54 could be considered as “produced”, by the way those officials are counting and reporting. If so, until we know the actual numbers or at the very least the ratio of new T-90Ms to refurbished (or just fueled) T-80/72/64/62/55/54 — all those statements are meaningless. Because while T-90M would stand a good chance against Leopard-2A4/5, and should obliterate any old light tank or tank destroyer (if used competently), the T-55, for example, would be an easy prey for Leopard-2 as well as for older tanks and all kind of anti-tank munition.
“Prigozhin is selling Russian Army secrets to the Free-World”
This is more or less the headline in Western mass media from last days. It is so obviously moronic, that I refuse to believe it was meant to add fuel into the Prigozhin-Shoigu conflict. It seems more like a BS intended as a destruction for the most imbecilic of the Russophobes crowd, to make them forget for a moment about the promised “Great Spring Offensive” that will defeat Russia and bring peace and prosperity for UA and the rest of the “Free World” (until the war with China, at least).
I don’t feel any need to explain this, not really. But I will do it nevertheless, for the smallest chance that someone would read it and be interested in my reasoning. The reason is simple. Even if Prigozhin was a traitor (and we have zero evidence for that, quite the opposite, actually), he knows very well that he will likely taste his beloved sledgehammer-to-the-head himself, in person, if he will as much as think about doing something like that. Some (still) very powerful people in Russia would be happy to use any excuse to do it. Or, if preferred, some incident (combat-related or otherwise) might happen to him.
That is why the pathetic tries of accusing Prigozhin of such treason are so moronic. He is too smart for such idiocy, even if someone would believe he would wont to betray Russia for the West. He is an evil creature with blood on his hands, but there are absolutely zero evidence to suggest he is a traitor. If the West is interesting in finding someone who is willing to sell the lives of his countrymen to the West, they need only to look at the their puppet of the president of UA.
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