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by Cat on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 01:35:51 AM EST
The short version: the first phase was intended to keep Ukrainian troops from re-inforcing the Ukrainian forces in Donbass. Having destroyed the means (military infrastructure) of re-inforcing the the Ukrainian forces in Donbass, the Russian troops can back of Kiev and send more troops to Donbass.

To which I answer: Maybe? Ritter is knowledgable, but he has been wrong on this war several times.

There is first off the question if this was plan A, or plan B. But that is a hard one because military plans tends to have back-up plans and there is no way to be sure until archives are opened what was the plan, what was a feint and what was improvision. And it is perhaps not even an important question right now.

Looking instead at the statements on the situation on the ground today. Has the Ukrainian army been unable to re-inforce the eastern front? The unability to lift the siege of Mariupol points in that direction, yeah. Will they continue to be? Maybe. If they continue to be unable to re-inforce the eastern front what will happen? Most likely Russia will win there, with the break out republics claiming their entire oblasts as territory. With their strongest force defeated Ukraine will be in a military bad position. But they already are, so it doesn't change the political logic of the situation.

In light of this, I hope that the partial retreat signals a diplomatic breakthrough, so that peace can be given another chance.

by fjallstrom on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 09:07:50 AM EST
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Ritter :
Russia also engaged in a campaign of strategic deep attack designed to disrupt and destroy Ukrainian logistics, command & control, and air power and long-range fire support. Ukraine is running out of fuel and ammo, cannot coordinate maneuver, and has no meaningful Air Force.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the attacks on munitions and fuel depots are a fairly recent development : the last couple of weeks at most. This could be a clue as to the Plan A/Plan B thinking.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 10:45:08 AM EST
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Ah and I just cross-checked this one :

Understand Russia started its "special military operation" with a severe manpower deficit--200,000 attackers to some 600,000 defenders (or more). Classic attritional conflict was never an option. Russian victory required maneuver.

As the Ukrainian standing forces are about 200 000, Ritter seems to be counting enormous numbers of reservists, recent conscripts and probably civilians who have recently received handouts of guns.

And unverifiable numbers of foreign fighters. This conversation between two ex US Marines is illuminating:

As Jed sat across from me in the empty restaurant, with his shoulders hunched forward over the table and his palms cupped around the tea, he explained that since arriving in Ukraine at the end of February, he had been fighting as a volunteer along with a dozen other foreigners outside Kyiv. The past three weeks had marked him. When I asked how he was holding up, he said the combat had been more intense than anything he'd witnessed in Afghanistan. He seemed conflicted, as if he wanted to talk about this experience, but not in terms that could turn emotional. Perhaps to guard against this, he began to discuss the technical aspects of what he'd seen, explaining in granular detail how the outmanned, outgunned Ukrainian military had fought the Russians to a standstill.

First, Jed wanted to discuss anti-armor weapons, particularly the American-made Javelin and the British-made NLAW. The past month of fighting had demonstrated that the balance of lethality had shifted away from armor, and toward anti-armor weapons. Even the most advanced armor systems, such as the Russian T-90 series main battle tank, had proved vulnerable, their charred husks littering Ukrainian roadways.

When I mentioned to Jed that I'd fought in Fallujah in 2004, he said that the tactics the Marine Corps used to take that city would never work today in Ukraine. In Fallujah, our infantry worked in close coordination with our premier tank, the M1A2 Abrams. On several occasions, I watched our tanks take direct hits from rocket-propelled grenades (typically older-generation RPG-7s) without so much as a stutter in their forward progress. Today, a Ukrainian defending Kyiv or any other city, armed with a Javelin or an NLAW, would destroy a similarly capable tank.

I had reached a similar conclusion: the era of the tank, having lasted about 100 years as a dominant force in land warfare, would seem to be over. Clearly the Russians did not expect that.

Perhaps tanks are now like aircraft carriers : only useful in peacetime.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 11:19:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite illuminating, and more coherent than that Pepe Escobar video (he claimed that the exemplary encirclement of Kiev would be studied in military schools for the ages)

Globally it presupposes that all of the sieges of major cities are feints except for Mariupol (never intended to take Kyiv, Chernihiv etc... the capture of Kherson was presumably an accident...)

It raises the question of whether this was the original plan, in which case all the talk of denazification, decapitation of the regime, rollback of NATO was just so much masterful fug-of-war misdirection on Putin's part.

Which is possible I suppose, but one wonders if he thinks the cost in troops, material, treasure, destruction of the Russian economy etc. was worth the rather small-change extension of Russian control of eastern Ukraine?

It seems that the Ukrainian government has understood the big-arrow manoeuvre, in any case :

Russia is moving forces from northern to eastern Ukraine to try to encircle Ukrainian troops, but is keeping some behind near the capital Kyiv to tie down part of the Ukrainian military there, a presidential adviser said on national television.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 09:31:03 AM EST
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which led to hilarious replies, such as:

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 08:35:03 PM EST
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What did poor Straw Man ever do to Ritter?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2022 at 03:40:00 PM EST
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