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“Russia planned to repeat Crimea but now faces a long and attrition war in Ukraine”

“Russia planned to repeat Crimea but now faces a long and attrition war in Ukraine”

“Russia planned to repeat Crimea but now faces a long and attrition war in Ukraine”

The Russian authorities planned a rapid campaign in Ukraine to conclude with a change of government, in the style of the annexation of crimea in 2014, but now it must prepare for a long and attrition war against a more motivated adversary, according to a leading expert on the Russian military.

Michael Kofmandirector of Russian Studies at the center specializing in military analysis CNA, acknowledged in a virtual conference that the first days of the conflict in Ukraine were “surprising and revealing of some of the problems of the Russian Armed Forces”but after that Moscow has changed its strategy.

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“Their calculations led them to recreate an enlarged version of crimea in 2014. They thought it would be a matter of days, that major fighting would be avoided and a regime change would be achieved in Kiev”, The analyst pointed out

That strategy was seen in how, early in the invasion, many Russian vehicles were advancing in small detachments away from the convoy.

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They did not anticipate much resistancebut quickly they ran into ambushes that cut them off from supply lines and forced them to withdraw.

“The way they operated in the first 48 hours was as if they were in their own country. The Russian Army does not see the war in Ukraine as an expeditionary conflict”stressed Koffmanfor whom “chauvinism” had a decisive influence on war planning.

Part of the explanation is that the Russian soldiers expected to meet with the complacency of the populationsomething very different from what awaited them in reality, forcing them to readjust their tactics after four days of fighting.

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The expert considered, despite everything, that Russia has made “considerable progress in the south and northeast” of Ukrainealthough it still has “a relatively small number of troops to advance on many fronts.”

“You have not yet seen as much artillery fire as the Russian Army could employ (…). Since the goal is a change of regime, it is probable that they will not want to use indiscriminate force, but as the war progresses they will be able to achieve their military objectives, although hardly the political ones”, he added.

For Kohman, the fact that Moscow is stockpiling weapons and equipment denotes real concern that the conflict will spread and lead to NATO intervention.

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the analyst fears that in Kiev a scenario like the assault on Grozny will be reproducedthe Chechen capital, in 1999, which ended with the total destruction of the city.

The Russian military has for now avoided entering large cities, in order to control key intersections and smaller, more strategic locations. Kohman believes that in a couple of weeks an “operational pause” could be seen” for Russian troops to reorganize and resupply, as everything points to “a long and attrition war”.

Despite the fact that he considers that after the first skirmishes a sensation of “euphoria” has spread in the Ukrainian ranks, he praised their resistance until now.

“They have concentrated on holding the big cities and the air defense has been more capable than previously believed. But a lot of this has to do with morale (of the troops),” stressed the analyst, who contrasted it with the state of mind among the Russian military.

For Kohman, “If the Russian soldiers think they were cheated, they will get discouraged pretty quickly. You see a lot of abandoned equipment, it’s a tragedy for many Russian military. It is clearly the war of Putin”.

And he ventured serious problems for the regime of the Russian president when those same fighters return to their country, also hit by harsh economic sanctions from the West.

Moscow, despite everything, has not yet responded to these sanctions, so it can be said that there will be some form of escalation of the conflict soon, in his opinion.

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Source: Elcomercio

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