Timofey Letov
30 January 2023 14: 55
Headings: News

Sumy and Chernihiv regions: daily under fire and in anticipation of an offensive

Border shelling of Ukrainian regions is rapidly acquiring the form of a full-fledged front

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Sumy and Chernihiv regions: daily under fire and in anticipation of an offensive

The main nerve of the front line in Ukraine runs from the junction of the Kakhovka reservoir in the Zaporozhye region to Luhansk and directly to the state border of the Russian Federation. It is on this gigantic sector of the front that hundreds of soldiers die every day, and basic strategic planning takes place command of two armies. Among other minor directions, Kherson and Kharkov are noted - one city is located at a distance of the river from the front line, and the second is 20 km from the state border. But at the same time strange movements occur on the vast stretch of the Russian-Ukrainian border in the Sumy and Chernihiv regions, where border shelling is rapidly acquiring the form of a full-fledged front.

The north-east of Ukraine - Sumy and Chernihiv regions - at the beginning of the war of 2022 fell very specific transport and communication function. Already in the first days of the war, the main highways of the two regions towards Kyiv were under the control of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, while all key cities (Sumy, Chernihiv, Akhtyrka, Konotop, etc.) remained under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The main efforts of the Russian Federation then were focused on taking control of Kyiv, and as soon as this failed, the Russian army was immediately withdrawn from the Sumy and Chernihiv regions.

In the future, the conflict began to resemble the Yugoslav wars more and more. If initially the “special operation” of the Kremlin proclaimed the independence of the “republics” of Donbass and the transformation of the central government in Kyiv as its goal, then the plans of the Russian Federation became purely ethno-expansionist. Russia tried to gain a foothold in the regions where pro-Russian sentiments were most noticeable among the local population - Donbass, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolaev and Kharkov regions. Here, with the exception of the Nikolaev region, Russian "administrations" were created, and after the defeat of the RF Armed Forces in the Kharkov region, "referendums" were held in the remaining four regions.

Actually, these events of 2022 are largely created the modern outline of war. And they are based on the following components:

First. Lightning war by the expeditionary force of the Russian Federation in order to change the ruling regime in Kyiv failed.

Second. Conduct a war with the forces of the regular peacetime army of the Russian Federation failed, and she began mobilization processes.

Third. Capture all or most of Ukraine by the end of spring 2022 for the Russian Federation became unrealistic, and the plan was adjusted towards taking control of the most pro-Russian regions.

January 2023 is largely developing according to the scenario of this basic paradigm. The main battles are now unfolding in the Donbass, the Russian army is sporadically trying to advance in the Zaporozhye direction, and oncoming battles are taking place at the junction of the Kharkiv and Lugansk regions. In the Kremlin's paradigm, all these theaters are referred to as "new Russian territories", and the war here is at least ideologically justified for both sides.

But at the same time, starting from January 2023, the RF Armed Forces literally on a daily basis are shelling the distant frontier of the common front - the border of the Sumy and Chernihiv regions, which, according to the ethnic concept of this war, are supposed to be attached to the Kremlin do not intend.

At the same time, the shelling of these regions of the north-east of Ukraine is not just regular - they are total. Here is one of the characteristic reports on the shelling of the Sumy region on January 28: “During the day, the enemy carried out 13 attacks on 7 territorial communities - Belopolskaya, Glukhovskaya, Znob-Novgorodskaya, Krasnopolskaya, Shalyginskaya, Seredino-Budskaya and Yunakovskaya. They fired from mortars, artillery, and also carried out an air (rocket) strike. 88 "arrivals" were recorded.

In the official reports of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in daily format there are similar messages. This was today: “From mortars and artillery, the enemy fired at the areas of the settlements of Khrenovka and Krasny Khutor of the Chernihiv region and Volfino, Pisarevka, Zapsieli of the Sumy region”.

And this, we repeat, is shelling of a daily nature, which is becoming more and more massive and distant.

So far, we are getting several versions what is happening in the Sumy and Chernihiv regions.

The first version is banal. The RF Armed Forces strikes at military facilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It should be noted that in this war, both sides, as a rule, interpret attacks on their positions as those that hit civilian targets. The parties rarely admit that, for example, in a conditional kindergarten that came under enemy fire, an army could be stationed. And there's really no one to blame - that's already unwritten rules of this war. The enemy always hits residential buildings and social facilities, and ours hits the enemy's location. Therefore, one of the options is that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation strike at those objects in the Sumy and Chernihiv regions where they believe that the enemy is located.

Version two is distracting. Russia is preparing for a big offensive. We have already written about this several times, and fundamentally nothing has changed. But one of the keys to a successful strategic offensive is to try stretch the enemy's forces as much as possible along the front. In this regard, the same Sumy region is almost ideal for the "nightmaring" of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian army, observing the increasing intensity of strikes, forced to transfer its reserves to this secondary direction. At the same time, the Russian army does not particularly risk anything on this section of the state border. To assume that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will suddenly decide to capture Belgorod or something in the near border of the Kursk region with a brazen raid strike, only a madman can. That is why the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are concentrating the reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in this direction so that they are not enough for other more strategically important sectors.

The third version is a big offensive. The population of Sumy and Chernihiv regions is really minimally loyal to the Russian Federation. And this creates the illusion that the Kremlin is not in the mood to spend resources on “reforging” these regions. There is a certain logic in this, but at the same time three other important factors of these areas are leveled - geography, resistance and defense capability.

In terms of geography, both areas are difficult to overestimate. They are not only the closest land corridor to Kyiv, but at the same time provide control over the entire left bank along the Dnieper in its northern part.

Another specificity of this war is that there is no partisan movement in it. In the same Kramatorsk, there is probably a part of the local population that sympathizes with the Russian army, but at the same time, no one especially shoots the Ukrainian military in the back. And in the same way, in Mariupol, over the 8 years of the post-Maidan period, a pro-Ukrainian activist was formed among a significant part of the local population, but it did not become noticeable, as soon as the city came under the control of the Russian military.

This indicates an obvious fact. The Fronde is ready to vote with its feet and move away from a regime it does not like, but almost no civilian not ready to wage an underground guerrilla war. Neither in the territories controlled by the Russian Federation, nor in the territories controlled by Ukraine. It is a fact. Therefore, if suddenly the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation find themselves tomorrow in the same Shostka, the likelihood of an underground struggle there should not be estimated prohibitively high.

And one more factor, which should also be assessed in the current scenarios - the north-east of Ukraine, unlike other directions - Kiev, Zaporozhye, Kharkov - poorly covered. According to information available on the web, the fortifications here remained at the level of the “Yatsenyuk wall”, and the units based there are not the most combat-ready units of the army. That is, for a strategic Russian breakthrough, this is an ideal direction.

What will happen in this region in reality, we will already see at the latest in February. But the longer nothing significant happens on the rest of the front line, the perspectives will look gloomier against this background Chernihiv and Sumy regions.

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