Sergey Poletaev: Why the Battle for a ‘Strategically Unimportant’ Town May Decide the Outcome of the Ukraine Conflict
By RT News
In anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, Moscow faces a crucial strategic choice.
Since the beginning of the year, the Ukrainian front has been shrouded in a deceptive silence. Various insiders and anonymous sources predicted a looming large-scale offensive by the Russian Armed Forces. First expected around New Year, it was then anticipated in early February, and again around February 24 – the anniversary of Russia’s attack, last year. Days came and went, but nothing happened.
With the arrival of spring, there has been talk of an equally imminent offensive – but this time by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) in the south. Allegedly, the plan of the AFU is to break through to the Sea of Azov and cut off the land corridor to Crimea. Any success or failure in this direction will make a considerable strategic impact. If the estimates are correct, Kiev is preparing new military units and stocking up on Western weapons –including the widely discussed British tanks and depleted uranium shells to go with them– precisely for this endeavor.
However, in contrast to widespread opinion, Ukraine’s permanently ongoing mobilization is not being conducted to expand the army – the new recruits only make up for the losses. Estimates show that the number of service personnel in the AFU remains stable at about 400,000 active fighters.
Considering the importance of the southern direction of the front, the Russian Armed Forces will either hold defense or cut off a possible Ukrainian breakthrough with counterattacks. This requires appropriate forces, shells, and equipment, as well as advance preparation.