By Joe Montero
I have put some effort into trying to make sense of the present battlefield offensive pf the Kiev forces in Ukraine. After trolling through claims and counter claims and getting a sense of the military strategies of both sides, some things have become quite obvious. These do not sit well with the barrage of media propaganda.
Not surprisingly, this is a war where the media is just as much the battle ground as what is happening on the ground. As they say, the first casualty of war is the truth.
Back to the point. A genuine examination of the facts, which includes those presented by both sides, will reveal some inescapable truths.
Like it or despise it, the Russian presence was never about taking over the whole of Ukraine. It involved the ethnic Russian majority regions to the east and south, in a long standing that became violent in 2014, a longtime before Russian forces crossed the border.
The Russian military strategy has three legs. The first has been to consolidate the core ethnic Russian areas to the east and south. These are bordered with a heavily fortified and static frontline. Air power and missiles have been used to harass the other side, rather than to capture new ground. Beyond the fortified border is a region of mobile rather than positional warfare. This is aimed at harassing Kiev’s forces, drawing them into ambushes, and inflicting maximum damage on them. All these legs have achieved considerable success.
The map below shows both the position (orange) and mobile war zones (grey).
The on, off, and on again, so called offensive is concentrated on this mobile zone. Stories of victories and defeats that centre around who holds a town at a particular time, ignore that the nature of mobile warfare is assaults and withdrawals by both sides. These stories do not report the truth.
It is Kiev that is at a disadvantage because it lacks the forces and capability to go on indefinitely. This is much less of a problem for Russia. Kiev will eventually loose unless a new factor comes into play. For now, Russia’s objective is to inflict as much damage as they can and force Kiev to use up munitions.
Young soldiers are being led to the slaughter to generate headlines for the media war. Make no mistake. This is the bottom line. Washington, and the European backers of Volodymyr Zelenskyy have pushed to create the stories to obfuscate talk about possible talks leading to a ceasefire.
But the offensive is going even worse than expected. The pressure is on Zelenskyy to turn this around. So much of it is being applied, that it has driven him to snap back and say, this is not a “Hollywood movie.” Zelenskyy knows that the harder and faster Kiev pushes on the battlefield, the greater the losses will be. With an army being rapidly depleted of fighters and fewer volunteers, this is a critical problem.
Losses on the battlefield is not the issue for the backers. The defeat of Russia has been their objective. Now that it has become clear that Russia has the upper hand, the objective to prolong the conflict, in the hope that a new opportunity will come.
Those drawn into the manufactured imaginary of progress towards Kiev’s victory, would be wiser to consider that there is no progress in the mobile zone. There is no capacity to break through the positioned forces, along a line that is far too long for the smaller army, and where any localised breakthrough would be quickly encircled and eliminated.
There are those on the Kiev side that wants to see a wholesale NATO intervention. This won’t happen. It would be too dangerous. NATO’s soldiers lack the training and battle experience needed, and a large part of their military hardware has already gone to Ukraine. NATO is not going to walk into this one. Other recent military conflicts have shown Washington is not capable of winning the war on its own. The risk is that nuclear weapons will be used, and if this comes to pass, no one will win.
Whether one is for or against the Russian intervention, it remains that the conflict in Ukraine has been going on for a long time, and it took a violent turn in 2014, years before Russian troop crossed the border. Conflict will continue for as long as the domestic issues behind it remain unresolved.
Another point that must be recognised is that Russia does not want to be surrounded by a nuclear armed and hostile United Sates/NATO and its expansion to the east. No one else would stand for this sort of treatment, and it is unreasonable to expect Russia to do so.
If the objective is to secure the peace, the parties must sit at the table and negotiate a ceasefire, leading to a permanent end to the fighting, This can happen if it is based on resolving internal Ukraine issues and concerns about NATO, and everything leads to a timetable to remove all forms of outside intervention into Ukraine.
This is precisely what Washington, and its European allies don’t want. Their objective has been ongoing war, using Ukraine as a proxy. At first, it was hoped that this would wear Russia down. The failure to achieve his has led to anther hope, and that is that an opportunity will turn up, if the fighting is kept up long enough.
Peace is in the interests of both sides doing the fighting. All wars must eventually go to the negotiating table. The fighting is about lifting one’s bargaining position. This is no exception. But as the fighting draws out the slaughter continues, and the long lasting damage inflicted grows.
The world needs the rise of a new peace movement like the one that put an end to the war in Vietnam.