Moscow’s military mobilization means that kyiv is about to lose its huge numerical advantage. How will this play out on the battlefields?

Russia’s failures on the front lines of its conflict with Ukraine in September were followed by organizational conclusions: a partial mobilization was announced on September 21; on October 8, all Russian forces in Ukraine were united under the command of General Sergey Surovikin; and on October 19, a kind of defense committee headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin was created and elements of martial law were introduced in various regions of the west and south.

The effect of these measures, however, has not yet manifested itself, so since the beginning of autumn the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have had the initiative on almost the entire front, except for the Artyomovsk (Bajmut) area. in the Popular Area of ​​Donetsk. Republic (DPR), where Wagner Group forces have continued their leisurely offensive.

As we anticipated, in the north of the front, at the crossroads of the Kharkov region and the DPR, the enemy built on its success in September, and by early October had taken the strategically important city of Krasny Liman, which had fallen under Russian control in May.

Although the Ukrainian army’s offensive stalled and the Russians managed to fight back and liberate several settlements afterwards, the event was symbolic. For the first time, not only a major city, but a Russian city surrendered to the enemy, on the same day after the four new regions were incorporated into our country.

On the Kherson front, after a month of bloody failure, the kyiv forces finally unlocked the Russian defenses. The direction of the main attack shifted to the northeast, where an attack was launched on October 2-4 along the Dnieper River bank, forcing the Russian troops to retreat 20-30 km to the Dudchany Line. -Davydov Brod. Once again, the same tactics used in Kharkov worked: take advantage of the numerical advantage and the fact that Moscow did not have a solid front but several garrisons in the line. The Ukrainians broke in from the rear, flooded the area and forced the Russians to withdraw.

For the Ukrainians, this style of attack is a double-edged sword: if it is successful, it means a very fast advance; but if it is not successful, it leads to very big losses.

Since then, the front has stabilized, but the Russians’ position here remains vulnerable. All supplies for the group and the regional center depend on road transport through the Kakhovskaya dam, which has been the target of missile attacks by kyiv on more than one occasion. Temporary military bridges have been erected to replace the broken passages over the lock, which itself has been filled in to allow passage, but this does not entirely solve the supply problem.

In the early hours of October 8, there was a high-profile attack on the Crimean Bridge: a truck bomb was detonated, collapsing one of the two roads, and a parallel train carrying petroleum products caught fire, damaging one of the roads. railways. The surviving lanes were restored to road traffic the same day, while the rest required major repairs.

With this act of sabotage, as well as his calls for a preemptive nuclear strike, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky gave his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, an excuse to up the ante. Russia responded by launching massive attacks on Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure. This was the first time since the beginning of the military operation that systematic work of this nature had been seen. According to various estimates, in less than two weeks of daily attacks, Ukraine’s power grid deteriorated between 10 and 30%. A strict light-saving regime was introduced throughout the country, as water supply, public lighting, and electric transport were cut to varying degrees. So far, only the thermal power plants, their electrical substations and the control rooms of the electrical network have been attacked. Hydroelectric power plants, for example, let alone nuclear power plants, have not been targeted.

In addition to Kalibr cruise missiles, Geran-2 kamikaze drones have been widely used in attacks. They are equipped with a simple piston engine (for which they are nicknamed ‘mopeds’) and use a satellite guidance system. Due to their massive application and the lack of a jet stream at which the warheads of anti-aircraft missiles can be aimed, the Ukrainian air defense is powerless against the Gerans: it is more possible to shoot down a small-arms drone when it approaches its target. . , which, in turn, causes explosive-laden drones to fall on civilian objects, residential buildings, etc. in densely populated urban areas.

Ukraine has responded by intensifying the shelling of the Belgorod region, including against electrical substations. This has caused power outages in Belgorod which, however, cannot be compared to the blackouts in Ukraine.

In addition, kyiv has begun to target energy centers in the new Russian regions: in recent days, facilities in Donetsk and Energodar have been attacked.

Western reactions to Moscow’s latest actions have been surprisingly slow. In response to the acceptance of new regions in Russia, partial mobilization and attacks on the energy sector, Washington only promised to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses to combat Kalibrs and Gerans. No accelerated NATO membership was offered, nor a sharp increase in arms deliveries. It is therefore clear that the West intends to continue to fight for power, at least as long as the offensive potential of the AFU is maintained.

What’s next? It seems that kyiv is preparing a major offensive on Kherson with the aim of taking both the city and the entire right bank part of the region. General Surovikin has openly admitted the seriousness of the situation, without ruling out “difficult decisions.” In recent days, Russia has been carrying out a hasty evacuation from the Right Bank, and it seems that the main battle of the fall is about to begin here.

Also, we should expect an attack by the AFU in the north, in Svatovo and Rubezhnoye-Severodonetsk. A large Ukrainian grouping has also gathered in the area, and the Russian Armed Forces are actively setting up defensive lines.

Another threatened area is Energodar and the Zaporozhye NPP. Further attempts to land through the Kakhovka Reservoir and a ground attack through Vasilievka along the southern bank of the Dnieper can be expected here, but the latter does not seem realistic at the moment.

Ukraine has to hurry up. Time works against you. As Russia’s mobilized troops reach the front lines, the AFU’s numerical advantage will come to an end and the tactic of breaking through with light units will no longer work. Also, in November, the last green grass will disappear, snow will fall, and troops will become more vulnerable from the air.

Apparently, Russia will continue its attacks on infrastructure while reinforcing the front line. The immediate task is to repel an AFU offensive, dealing maximum defensive damage. A joint Russian-Belarusian grouping in Belarus has also been announced. He can hardly be expected to launch an offensive from the north, but instead his goal is probably to draw as many Ukrainian forces as possible from the front to cover the border.

kyiv appears to be well aware of the limits of its capabilities, as there have been reports of new waves of mobilization in Ukraine in recent days. Whether Russia will have to respond in the same way or whether the first autumn draft will suffice, we will see in the coming months.

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