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The Tricks Vladimir Putin Is Cooking Up in His Mysterious ‘Operational Pause’ in the Ukraine War


After the Russian forces occupied the important eastern part of the Donbas of Ukraine Last week, questions began to boil over whether Russian forces were capable of carrying out the task following their next killing in the vicinity of Donetsk.

And the first information that Russian forces may be taking a step back came from President Vladimir Putin himself. Putin said that the units involved in the capture of Lysychansk and Luhansk should have a brief respite. Collect, regroup and prepare for more battles in the future, according to TASS.

For a war of attrition – in which both sides attack with the goal of exhausting the other and defeating them – a pause may not bode well for Russia. Russian forces struggled to keep up from the start. Despite their primary goal of capturing Kyiv, they faltered outside the Ukrainian capital in the early days of the war due to logistical and planning failures. And according to the statistics of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian forces suffered great losses, a total of nearly 40,000 soldiers were killed. Russian soldiers have been complaining for months about their lack of preparation and morale.

According to some analysts, if the purported shutdown of operations is any indication, the situation could be about to come to a standstill or worsen for the Russians.

“The Russian army, which has completed the occupation of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, clearly needs to regenerate its combat strength and build up its support capabilities, including resupply, before launching a large-scale offensive operation. other”, analysts at Institute for the Study of War (ISW) status in a report.

However, the halt in operations could also be a sign that Russian forces are meeting the needs of their military.

“The absence of scheduled time off due to intense combat conditions is likely to be one of the biggest harms of Russia’s many personnel problems. [defense ministry] Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Monday it was struggling to rectify the deployed force.

The ISW noted: “Putin’s public comments may be intended to signal his concern for the welfare of the military in the face of recurring complaints in Russia about the treatment of Russian soldiers, ‘ notes the ISW.

But as the carnage continues in Ukraine, doubts have arisen about whether Russia is actually halting operations.

Putin does not stop carrying out air strikes against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Russian forces launched rockets into the Donetsk region, killing four people and injuring eight, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration. Russia bombarded Bakhmut overnight. Two missile attacks in Zaporizhzhya Seven people were injured in the area, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy office of the President of Ukraine.

A Russian soldier patrols a destroyed residential area in the city of Severodonetsk on July 12.

Olga Maltseva / AFP via Getty

Of course, Putin may not have intended the pause to apply to all of Russia’s military operations. Putin created quite a bit of confusion when he stated that he was interested in giving his military a little pause; In fact, other military formations that have not participated in the onslaught of Luhansk in recent days have been ordered to carry out their duties, according to the report. TASS.

However, according to Michael Kofman, research program director for the Russian Studies Program at CNA, a purported pause on some Russian forces is not surprising after a major attack. Some forces of nature will regroup after a fight, while others will continue to function as normal.

“What do people expect, for them to keep attacking non-stop? In which war has war been fought? “Kofman said.

The Russians in recent weeks seem to have made some progress in their strategic plan. During the fight for Lysychansk and Luhansk earlier this month, Russian forces were able to launch their offensive very effectively because they were able to coordinate two of their battle groups like never before. one British intelligence assessment.

Even so, the fact that Russian forces are capable of regrouping to a beat does not mean that they will turn around and decide to win the war.

Kofman told The Daily Beast: “Both militaries lacked the capacity to withstand sustained attacks and were unable to generate momentum. “This means that, especially for the Russian military, advances come from the heavy use of fire and attrition and then a period in which Russian forces are forced to fortify territory, rebuild and replenish reserves before they can progress. “

However, the benefits of the operational pause and the extent to which the Russian military is committed to doing a real thing, even for a fraction of its forces, remains to be seen.

“However, it is unclear whether the Russian military would accept the risk of a pause in operations long enough to allow these potentially exhausted forces to regain strength,” the ISW said.

For its part, the US Department of Defense is not even sure if the shutdown will happen.

A resident reacts emotionally as she surveys a residential building that was bombed, resulting in at least 15 deaths in Chasiv Yar on July 10.

Narciso Contreras / Anadolu Agency via Getty

A senior US defense official told reporters last week: “If I take the casualties the Russians have to take to get that piece of land, I might have to stop and rearm.” Like “someone has been in the military for a while…if you get the losses you have—gain the base that you did—then you are probably slowing down a bit to get things right. “.

In the coming days, it may not be clear when Russian forces will move from a halt to a more aggressive stance.

“The transition out of the downtime can be gradual and difficult to discern immediately, just as the transition to it occurs gradually,” notes ISW.

And part of the alleged pause could be just a decoy and any way to switch, aimed at weeding out Ukrainian forces who desperately want Russia to back down in the war.

“Ingenious campaign design to achieve exactly the same effect convinces the enemy that no pause is contemplated or underway, or that it will be too short to benefit the enemy, and thus that convinces the enemy that it is not there. ISW said.

Meanwhile, the Russians are facing an increasingly formidable Ukrainian army. Ukrainian forces have been able to step up their game in recent days, thanks in large part to the influx of Western weapons and training, including the High Mobility Artillery Missile System (HIMARS) developed by Ukraine. America provided.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the Ukrainians used HIMARS to attack a Russian ammunition depot in Ukraine. Nova Kakhovka Earlier this week, and the Ukrainians destroyed two Russian ammunition depots in the Luhansk region on Tuesday, said Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration. Ukraine also destroyed a military base that the Russians were using MyrneIvan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol, said.

A resident walks past a destroyed building in Lysychansk, Lugansk region, on July 4.

Victor / Xinhua via Getty

But in the coming days, the devil is in the details, and no matter how long the shutdown lasts, exactly how the next phase of the war takes shape will depend on how prepared you are. Western allies and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. to support Ukraine with equipment and further equipment.

“The Russian military seems to enjoy a fire advantage but that is increasingly being counterbalanced by artillery fire being supplied to Ukraine,” Kofman said, noting that HIMARS appears to be helping Ukraine wage the war. . “This could have significant effects on the Russian military’s ability to sustain an offensive over time.”



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