Russian imbroglio in Ukraine



April 30, 2022

Russian imbroglio in Ukraine


Malik Nasir Mahmood Aslam describes the difficulties Russia finds itself in

More than two months after the Russian imbroglio in Ukraine invasion it is reported by concerned quarters that Russia already has a weakened military and is a weakened state after this war. Military experts say that they have been shocked about how ill-prepared Russia has been in its invasion of its pro-Western neighbour. Despite an initial offensive on multiple fronts, Moscow has failed to gain the upper hand in the air, sent in columns of tanks without cover or coordination and has vastly underestimated the strength of Ukraine’s resistance. It is also noted that Russia’s economy is in tatters further demoralising the Kremlin that is reeling under massive economic sanctions. The kind of superiority Putin imagined in respect of its enormous oil and gas reserves proved to be more fleeting than expected putting the ruling Russian clique in a quandary. The most serious drawback Russian-Ukraine adventure faced is the profound doubts that have arisen about the military capability of Russia as a former superpower that may adversely affect its standing amongst the countries it enjoys the support of, particularly Hungary that was trying to emulate the Putin style of arbitrary governance.
The unanimous opinion among western military is that Putin’s original aim was to decapitate the Ukrainian forces in a lightning operation but Moscow has failed to calibrate its firepower to handle a level of resistance which intelligence services completely failed to foresee. Russia’s political leaders imposed on the military command a completely absurd scenario where everything would proceed like in the annexation of Crimea in 2014. They thought that the Russian army would be welcomed as the liberators of all of Ukraine, except for the territories in the west. It is clear that the Russian military command was not prepared for such resistance on the part of the Ukrainians. The Russians have completely under-estimated the balance of power and the only part of the operation that was thought of as a war operation was the raid on Hostomel airport located on the outskirts of Kyiv and the attempt to decapitate Ukrainian power. The other Russian troops entered the country as if they were going to take possession, and with too many objectives, they were completely dispersed over the entire territory.
Russia launched its offensive on three fronts simultaneously, meaning its 150,000 troops were spread over several different axes: in the north towards Kyiv, in the east and in the south. It was apparent soon that Russia has not achieved air superiority and failed to knock out Ukrainian fighter planes, radars, ground-air systems and landing strips. On the ground, manoeuvres were confused revealing failures in the chain of command and shortcomings in training. Elite units were parachuted into Hostomel airport without air support, while long columns of Russian tanks advanced, sometimes without cover, vulnerable to Ukrainian air and ground strikes aided by Turkish Bayraktar tactical drones. In two months, the Russians have lost more than 500 tanks and more than 300 armoured vehicles. For all the strikes that the Russians are sending, they lack precision as only 50 per cent of cruise missile strikes reach their intended target.
Experts no longer believe Russia has any designs on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, which appeared to be an early target of the campaign. This is likely an outcome of its army’s slow progress and massive losses of troops and equipment early in the war, which prompted a change in tactics. Russian military realised that the blitzkrieg option did not work out compelling it to return to the traditional Soviet bulldozer model aiming at breaking the will of enemies and ultimately grinding them down. It looks like the Russian military is simply pursuing a scorched earth approach, attempting to break the will of the Ukrainian military through the use of overwhelming force and indiscriminate shelling to force remaining civilians to flee. Some experts expect the Russian army to try to trap Ukrainian forces in pincer movements east of the Dnipro River. To avoid encirclement, the defending Ukrainians are dispersing into several fronts in order to stretch Russian supply and communication lines and such a strategy has been successful so far. It is widely recognised that the deeper Russian forces go into Ukraine, the more vulnerable they are.
Now Russian imbroglio in Ukraine says its aim is full control of the Donbas region in the east as well as the south of the country. It is still unclear what military means Moscow will deploy in this second phase of the Ukraine campaign and what medium and long-term objectives it is pursuing. Russia appears to have learned some lessons in terms of targets and tactics from its difficulties during the first few weeks of the war, against an enemy it had clearly underestimated. Russian troops are today present in a corridor of 200-250 kilometres inside Ukraine; from the Sea of Azov to the outskirts of Kharkiv but do not have full control of the area. However, few observers now expect the conflict to be over soon as the emerging scenario is one of high-intensity bombings lasting several weeks, or maybe several months. It is opined that Russia has so far achieved none of its objectives and it is not easy to see how it will achieve them in the future.
Western aid has been boosted in recent days, notably with the announcement of an $800-million military package by US President Biden, specifically aimed at the struggle in the Donbas. But the clock is ticking as armoured personnel vehicles will take weeks or even months to get to the Ukrainian army. Even if the vehicles come out of stocks already in Europe, they will require some servicing before they are ready for shipping. NATO countries have started supplying Ukraine with — originally Soviet-developed — S300 missile systems but their deployment also takes time. In the meantime, France said it was shipping Milan anti-tank weapons and Caesar canons to Ukraine but experts say Kyiv is still short of other advanced weapons, such as Howitzer canons and that Russian imbroglio in Ukraine will need to establish a dome of steel to defend itself from air attack.
Now it is reported that Russian forces have employed missiles to carry several hypersonic weapons. It is noted that a new Russian imbroglio in Ukraine intercontinental ballistic missile is capable of carrying several hypersonic weapons known as the new Sarmat ICBM designed to carry several Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles. Russian forces mentioned that the Sarmat was test-fired for the first time from the Plesetsk launch facility in northern Russia and its practice warheads have successfully reached mock targets on the Kura firing range on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula. It is reported that this really unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of armed forces.
The Sarmat is a heavy missile that has been under development for several years. The military has said that the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and making sharp maneuvers on its way to target to dodge the enemy’s missile shield. In anticipation of the deployment of the Sarmat, the new hypersonic vehicle has been fitted to the existing Soviet-built ICBMs, and the first unit armed with the Avangard entered duty in December 2019. It is reported that its range allows it to fly along any trajectory across north or south poles to hit any target around the world. TW

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