What are the first lessons of the war in Ukraine?
From Mariupol to Kiev via Kharkiv, the Ukrainian army is putting up strong resistance against troops that are better equipped at all levels, and who also have overwhelming air, maritime and logistical superiority. After four days of fighting, the Russian invasion did not record any decisive victory. Same “Russian air supremacy is not yet fully established, notes Colonel Michel Goya. The Ukrainian air forces are capable of carrying out a few dozen sorties per day and above all the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense has hit several Russian aircraft. »
→ REPORT. Eat, protect yourself, or flee… Kiev at the time of war
The scenario of a lightning war seems to be moving away. The planned plan to seize Kiev thanks to parachute commandos supported by the 36th army in the West and the 41st in the north with a view to installing a pro-Russian power, was abandoned. During the assault, the Ukrainians say they destroyed two troop transport planes which were trying to land on a runway near Kiev. After two days of progress, the Russian troops in charge of the capital seem to be making a “ pause “, notes Michel Goya.
Another observation on the 4th day of the conflict, the first city of the country was relatively spared by air strikes, in particular the multiple launchers of Grad missiles which cause terrible damage to homes for tens of meters around. Nothing to do with the carpet bombs used during the 2nd war in Chechnya or in Syria.
” The limited use of bombardments, a tactic which could change in the days to come, is no doubt explained by Russia’s desire to end this conflict as quickly as possible without provoking a serious humanitarian crisis and to preserve the infrastructures in view of a possible annexation thinks the Russian Pavel Luzin, a specialist in the armed forces of his country.
Has Russia correctly gauged its adversary?
Vladimir Putin called on Ukrainian forces to overthrow the government in Kiev, a ” gang of nazis and drug addicts “, in his words. By dint of delegitimizing the very existence of Ukraine, has he underestimated the capacity of resistance of its population? Many think so.
” The strategy was to demoralize the political elite and the armed forces with a first attack, then to establish a pro-Russian government which would have suppressed opponentsbelieves Pavel Luzin. It would seem that Moscow has completely underestimated the Ukrainian people and even their leaders. The campaign takes a very different turn. The losses are considerable and the resistance grows. »
→ ANALYSIS. On television, Russians follow a non-war
However, Russia retains all its room for maneuver in the face of the Ukrainians cornered in the east of the country. Russian soldiers entered the center of Kharkiv, the country’s second city, on February 27 before, it seems, being driven out. On the Crimean front, the 58th Army is advancing inexorably towards Mariupol and Zaporozhye in order to encircle the Ukrainian defenders who are holding the ground against the assaults of the separatists and Russian units in the Donbass.
Russia, which has committed its best units to the conflict, also has significant reserves in Belarus ready to cross the border with Ukraine, according to the Pentagon. An amphibious attack is also feared in Odessa, the great port of the Black Sea.
Deliveries of arms promised to the Ukrainian government by several European countries, including Stinger missiles effective against fighter jets and helicopters, may arrive too late to tip the scales in the days to come. Their use would nevertheless be valuable in the event of the conflict evolving towards urban guerrilla warfare. ” The Russian army is not prepared for this, believes Pavel Luzin. Chechens did the dirty work in Chechnya. In Syria, it relied on Assad’s forces and Iranian auxiliaries. This time, Russia will have to rely on its own forces. »