A New Phase In The Ukraine War: The Successful Ukrainian Counteroffensive Sparks A Change In Russian Tactics.
The Ukraine Strikes Back At the end of last week, the Ukrainian government had its most successful counteroffensive since the early days of the war, when it stymied Russia’s apparent attempted coup de main in Kiev.
The Ukraine Strikes Back
At the end of last week, the Ukrainian government had its most successful counteroffensive since the early days of the war, when it stymied Russia’s apparent attempted coup de main in Kiev. This appears to mark a new phase in the Ukraine War: the Ukrainians have exhibited new capabilities (with plenty of NATO assistance), and the Russian government exhibited a new tack in response on Sunday, by striking civilian infrastructure across Ukraine, causing blackouts in much of the country.
Reactions To The Recent Events
Russian journalist Anatoly Karlin, who predicted the invasion in February,
assessed the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the thread below. Like most Russian accounts I’ve seen over the weekend, he acknowledges this was a defeat for Russia, and that Russia will need to change its recent approach in the Ukraine.
No cope. This is unambiguously a major operational level defeat for Russia, and fulfills one of the two conditions (other being Kherson) I outlined that would make me tilt towards turning bearish on Russia's prospects in this war: https://t.co/AJW61nWORB— Anatoly Karlin (🐻,🐉) (@powerfultakes) September 10, 2022
But arguably the even more "blackpilled" implication here is that my long-standing core assumption for being a Russia bull - namely, that loss ratios sare tacked in its favor & bleeding out the Ukrainians is a viable long-term strategy - gets reduced in confidence.— Anatoly Karlin (🐻,🐉) (@powerfultakes) September 10, 2022
However, the fact of strong and sustained Ukrainian breakthroughs - e.g., continuing on to the borders of the LNR in the next couple of weeks - would put that ultimately hypothetical (both sides engage in casualtymaxxing propaganda) thesis under strain.— Anatoly Karlin (🐻,🐉) (@powerfultakes) September 10, 2022
As such, wherever Ukraine amasses a theater manpower advantage (8k vs 4k around Kharkov), and manages to buildup fuel and munitions, the Russian front crumples. Something we have just seen play out and may yet see again.— Anatoly Karlin (🐻,🐉) (@powerfultakes) September 10, 2022
Solving this does not necessarily entail full mobilization, but number of troops does need to be doubled, as I said in April: https://t.co/bSOxVcbXQe It will take a long time - years, potentially - to attrition usable Ukrainian manpower to breaking point. https://t.co/9Of50Bvzpt— Anatoly Karlin (🐻,🐉) (@powerfultakes) September 10, 2022
How Kharkov > other fronts for Ukraine: * Most critical: Russian troop density lower than in Kherson, Zaporozhye, or Donbass * Terrain: Hills, forests, gullies * Kharkov a center for nationalist batallions, Azov, Kraken, which are highly motivated & have high combat power.— Anatoly Karlin (🐻,🐉) (@powerfultakes) September 10, 2022
As such, the specific factors that enabled success around Kharkov do not apply as much to other fronts. Costly attacks on the Kherson continue, but without much success. And onset of winter favors Russia. https://t.co/he3JTO0xjd pic.twitter.com/LzYoq4v0GJ— Anatoly Karlin (🐻,🐉) (@powerfultakes) September 10, 2022
Karlin’s last point about Russia needing to change its approach was echoed by Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechnyan Republic within the Russian Federation. He’s roughly equivalent to the governor of a U.S. state, except with more autonomy and, presumably, a de facto lifetime appointment. Kadyrov also spent time leading his Chechnyan Russian National Guard troops in the Ukraine earlier in the war. Here’s a translation of his comments on the Ukrainian counter offensive, via Telegram (emphasis mine):
– I, Ramzan Kadyrov, officially declare to you that all these cities will be returned back. Our guys are already there. Another 10,000 fighters are ready to leave;
– In the near future we will reach Odessa, you will see concrete results;
– I’m not a strategist, as in the Ministry of Defense. But mistakes were made. I think they will draw conclusions. When you tell the truth to your face, you may not like it. But I love to tell the truth. We talked with the commanders at the fronts;
It’s a shame that nothing was said for several days. It is clear that people were not prepared for this. We always talk about our work;
– If today or tomorrow changes are not made to the conduct of a special military operation, I will be forced to contact the country’s leadership in order to explain to them the situation on earth. She is very interesting, “awesome” I would say;
– The fact that several villages and cities were given to them, there are several pluses in this. We did not advertise, but we have a special task. Our guys stood up and started their work;
– In the near future we will meet with the military commanders, we will explain to them what patriotism is. Patriots should not be offended if someone did something wrong. We must unite people around ourselves;
– I know one thing. Russia will win. NATO weapons will be suppressed by the spirit of our fighters. Our hands and feet are already trembling.
Changes Are Made
Whether or not Kadyrov contact the Russian federal government, one notable change occurred on Sunday: Russia started attacking Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, particularly power plants.
After this outbreak, the light went out in many regions, where exactly: �Poltava region. �Sumy region. �Kharkiv region. �Dnipropetrovsk region. �Odesa region, partially. �Donetsk region. Russian Federation began to hit the critical infrastructure pic.twitter.com/78GM1t4MJ3— ТРУХА�English (@TpyxaNews) September 11, 2022
In the seventh month of the war, Russia finally resorted to something NATO did to Serbia, and the U.S. subsequently did to Iraq.
24 May 1999 "NATO forces this time struck at Serbia's 5 major power-transmission stations with high-explosive munitions, causing damage that could take weeks to repair.. shut off power to about 80 percent of Serbia." #blackout pic.twitter.com/w5AR368zRw— Jovana Preradović (@JovanaXYZ) September 11, 2022
Consequences of the Counteroffensive
One consequence of the successful Ukrainian counteroffensive is that the military aid spigots will remain open for the Ukraine for now, after recent comments by Germany’s defense minister suggesting otherwise.
Another consequence is more human suffering. The longer the war goes on, more Ukrainian and Russian soldiers will get killed. But also, a number of Ukrainians who accepted Russian passports or otherwise “collaborated” with Russia will suffer, as journalist Julia Kanin details in the thread below.
I want to make a short