The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces that began on February 24 has intensified. The Ukrainian government announced on March 2 that more than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed. More than 7,000 Russian soldiers lost their lives in the fighting. Masaki Takabe, a former mercenary and military critic, analyzes the war situation as follows.
The Russian army will attack from the north, east, and south, aiming at the capital, Kiev, and the second-largest city, Kharkiv, as expected. Although Ukraine is fighting a good fight in the north, where it has a focused defense system, Russian forces invading from the Crimean Peninsula in the south are bringing a large area under their control.
What was surprising this time was that Russian ground forces moved fairly quickly. For a country with air power as strong as Russia’s, it is standard practice to conduct air strikes and missile attacks with fighter planes for about a week to knock out the enemy’s forces before the ground forces invade. This can reduce the enemy’s strength and at the same time break their will to resist, thus reducing the damage to their own forces.
This time, however, the air strikes and the invasion by ground forces were almost simultaneous. It is thought that Russia either licked the Ukrainian army or tried to settle the issue early. I got the impression in the last few days that they were in something of a hurry or in a hurry.”
As Takabe pointed out, President Vladimir Putin, 69, was apparently aiming for an early takeover of Ukraine. However, the war is beginning to bog down due to fierce resistance from the Ukrainian military.
‘It seems that fuel and other supplies are not getting through,’ he said. The current battlefield is not far from the border, a distance that would normally cause a breakdown in logistics. Usually, supply plans are carefully planned because the front lines would cease to function if ammunition, food, and fuel were to run out. The fact that it could not keep up means that the planning itself was absent or sloppy.
For example, the Russians bypassed the northern city of Chernihiu on their way to Kiev. Perhaps they passed it in an attempt to make an early end, but in the end, resistance in this city intensified and supply was hampered. Strategically, Chernihiu is a city that should certainly be held. If we had done so, we would not have had to engage in a fierce struggle in Chernihiu after reaching near Kiev and being unable to move, as we are doing now. There is a sense of inconsistency or sloppiness in the operation,” said Takabe.
Unexpectedly damaging to the Russian military is the active use of social networking sites by Ukrainian military and civilians. Information on captured Russian soldiers is frequently uploaded to the Internet, and anti-war awareness is growing in Russia’s home country. In fact, demonstrations have intensified in various regions, and the number of detainees has risen to over 6,400. Morale in the Russian military has also been severely degraded. This must be a major miscalculation for President Putin.
The Russian military seems to have been trying to settle the conflict as soon as possible, but at the same time, they are not doing the right things, such as deploying only half of their forces at the beginning of the invasion,” he said. This is my guess, but it may be that the frontline commanders are not very enthusiastic about the invasion. The movement of the front lines and supply seems to be somewhat sluggish.
Furthermore, it could be a case of unusually low morale among Russian soldiers. From what I have seen in local footage and other sources, I cannot say that the morale of the Russian troops is high. Some of the footage uploaded to the Internet includes testimony from a Russian POW who said, ‘I thought it was an exercise,'” said Takabe.
Both armies are involved in a war they do not want and are losing their lives. What is the point of this war?
Photo： Courtesy of local Ukrainians