After six months of the operation in Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced its deliberate slowdown to minimize civilian casualties, and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky promised to “return Crimea by any means”
Why “slowed down” special operation
On August 24, six months after the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced a deliberate slowdown in its pace. He explained that this was a conscious decision and “necessary to minimize civilian casualties.” Shoigu stressed that the military operation “is going according to plan, all tasks will be completed.”
The Russian army has begun to use less aircraft and heavy armored vehicles in combat, says the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, reserve colonel Viktor Murakhovsky. “Long-range bombing raids have not been carried out for the last 2-2.5 months, aviation is engaged in the search and destruction of those means that the enemy has and are working at the front,” & mdash; Murakhovsky explained.
The second reason for the slowdown— this is a more careful and cautious use of heavy armored vehicles. “She only appears in the final stage, clearing the trenches. That is, we see one— a maximum of three tanks in position before they clear the trenches and go on the offensive. In fact, the tank turned into a wagon for a cannon, as [Vasily] Grabin called it, and ceased to be a means of developing success, — Murakhovsky noted.
According to him, this happened because the tanks require infantry escort, which is fraught with significant losses when breaking through the defense. “In addition, the Russian army has become wider than before, to use artillery, we have high hopes for drones,” — he added.
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After six months of hostilities, Russian troops completely control the territory of the LNR , the offensive continues in the Donetsk region, which Moscow has recognized as the territory of the DPR. In particular, on August 21, the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, announced the capture of the village of Peski near Donetsk.
Over the past month, the NMD advance of Russian troops was at best 3-4 km, Murakhovsky said. Offensive operations are underway in several areas— these are Solidar, Avdeevka, Maryinka, Partizanskoe, Mykolaiv region, he recalled. “That is, we are pulling apart on a broad front. But the slowdown, of course, affects the overall operational situation, — concluded the expert.
When negotiations can resume
The last two weeks— from August 9 & mdash; there are regular shelling and drone attacks in the Crimea and Sevastopol. They are repulsed by the air defense system, the regional authorities reported.
Against this background, on August 23, speaking at the Crimean Platform forum, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that Crimea would be returned to Ukrainian control “by any means that the Ukrainian authorities consider correct, without consulting with other countries”, but about negotiations with Russia» out of the question,” since the Kremlin “never thought about dialogue, but was only ready to wage war.” At the same forum, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he did not recognize the entry of Crimea into Russia. He stressed that the return of Crimea to Ukraine is a requirement of international law. If an agreement is signed between Russia and Ukraine, Crimea will have to become part of Ukrainian territory again. This statement was made by the official representative of the President of Turkey, Ibrahim Kalin, in an interview with CNN.
In Kyiv, about once every three months, they make some sharp statement that Crimea is part of Ukraine, recalled Ilya Kramnik, an employee of the Center for North American Studies at IMEMO RAS, RIAC expert
There is nothing new in these statements and they are unrealizable, despite increased deliveries of heavy weapons to Ukraine, he noted. “Heavy weapons are in quantities that do not allow the front from the Ukrainian side to “fall in.” It is clearly not enough for an effective counteroffensive,” — the expert thinks.
Since February 24, the West has supplied or pledged to supply almost $40 billion worth of weapons, military equipment and other equipment to Kyiv. military equipment. And if at the beginning of the year NATO and allies supplied Ukrainians with weapons of the 1970s and 1990s, which were worse in their characteristics than similar systems in service with the Russian army, then in recent months the situation has changed. At the beginning of hostilities, heavy weapons and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were 91% of the Soviet type, almost 8%— Ukrainian and less than 1%— like NATO. Already in June, the share of heavy weapons and military equipment of the NATO type in the Armed Forces of Ukraine could exceed 40%.
There will be negotiations, but— given the diplomatic background— hardly in autumn, Kramnik believes. “Obviously, we are waiting for the winter campaign, and based on its results, they will probably talk about something. Fatigue must accumulate, and not even in Kyiv, but in the West. Then the probability of agreeing on something is much higher, — he concluded. In July, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine spends UAH 130 billion ($4.4 billion) on maintaining the armed forces every month. This amount is slightly less than the annual budget of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the period before the outbreak of hostilities.
The last time Moscow and Kyiv held face-to-face talks was at the end of March in Istanbul. As a result, the delegations stated that they had made some progress. Then the negotiations went on by video link, and in May they were suspended. The parties accused each other of disrupting the negotiation process. On August 22, Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine would refuse to negotiate with Russia if a trial of captured Azov fighters was held in Mariupol. (banned in Russia as a terrorist organization).
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