Ukraine goes on the offensive: three possible scenarios
The Armed Forces of Ukraine will no doubt try this year to conduct a large-scale offensive on the front
It is constantly talked about in the Office of the President, and the need to achieve victory for Ukraine on the battlefield is also regularly stated in the West. Another thing is that for a strategic offensive certain conditions must be met, without which a successful military campaign is, by definition, impossible.
Recently we analyzed the reasonswhy the Russian Federation is preparing for a large-scale offensive, as well as three basic scenarios that the Russians can follow. And yet, in the time range, Russia is more prepared to wage a long war than Ukraine. Of course, it is also necessary to take into account the “black swans” factor, such as social riots or an attempted coup d'état in the Russian Federation, but still, building your strategy for defeating the enemy only on the basis of such expectations is reckless. In terms of resources, the Russian Federation can afford to wage a positional war, but even it seeks to accelerate the process on the battlefieldin order to finally impose a peace treaty on terms acceptable to them.
Ukraine is very different from Russia in this respect. Firstly, it is on our territory that hostilities are taking place. And every new day is new destruction. The authorities are hatching plans for the restoration of Ukraine after the war, but for this need to win, as well as guaranteed to receive resources for large-scale recovery.
Secondly, the entire independent resource base of Ukraine in this war - these are people. Everything else - the military-industrial complex, industrial production, financial savings and a functioning economy - are absent. Yes, the external factor develops as favorably as possible. The United States and its allies are investing heavily in support of Ukraine, but in fact, through the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Americans are waging a proxy war with the Russian Armed Forces.
But it's already 2023. The costs of the allies are growing. This is especially clearly seen in the range of weapons supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. From the Soviet models of weapons, which in their mass have already been largely exhausted, there is a gradual transition to NATO products. So far, “junk” from the 60-70s prevails in deliveries, but even now there is an acute discussion about the supply of both the latest tanks (although no agreement has yet been reached) and modern air defense systems. And it costs money, and a lot of it. And Western allies trying to understand, will a significant rise in the cost of war change something fundamentally at the front or not?
For the United States, this war is still primarily a calculation of a number of constituent factors - economic and geopolitical. As soon as the costs exceed the profits or the threat of something unmanageable, such as the outbreak of a nuclear conflict, rises, plans “B” are considered and further down the situation, as was the case with Afghanistan, and even earlier with Vietnam. War in Ukraine for the USA poses no existential threat. The Ukrainian authorities are certainly aware of this, and therefore they strive to prove on a regular basis that all the influences of the Western allies are not in vain.
Now on conditions and scenarios of a possible large offensive by Ukraine this year.
In terms of conditions here, in general, everything is clear. Attack assault groupings with appropriate military-technical equipment must be prepared for the offensive. But its implementation for the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 2023 will be an order of magnitude more difficult than it was a year earlier. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation not only carried out mobilization, saturate the front with personnel and began to prepare a multi-level defense system. But the Russian army also reassessed its capabilities in this war, which means the enemy more realistically assesses both himself and the Armed Forces.
And highlight main scenarios, which, in our opinion, can be implemented by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in case of readiness for an offensive.
1 script. Big strategic breakthrough to the Sea of Azov.
Actually, this the most wanted for the Ukrainian authorities and obviously a readable script. The breakthrough of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to the Sea of Azov, the dissection of the Russian army into two parts and squeezing it into the Crimea in one direction, and into the Donetsk region - in the other. The Armed Forces occupy Energodar with a nuclear power plant, Melitopol, Berdyansk, as well as the entire left bank of the Kherson region.
The implementation of such a scenario would be military and political disaster for the Kremlin and a triumph for the Office. Further, it is already possible either to negotiate on Kyiv's terms, or to plan a further military campaign, enlisting new support from Western investors.
The advantages of this scenario are described in the paragraph above. But there are also disadvantages. In order for the Ukrainian army to break through to Melitopol and Berdyansk, it is necessary to carry out very large combined arms operation involving a huge amount of human and technical resources. And these should be the best reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Yesterday's mobilized will not carry out such an offensive. Therefore, if the Armed Forces of Ukraine are suddenly defeated during such an offensive (and this option must also be included in the planning of military operations), this can lead to the collapse of the entire front with unpredictable consequences for the fate of the entire country.
2 script. Operational-tactical offensive with image occupation of one or several cities.
Such cities can be Svatovo and Kremennaya. Or something in the Zaporozhye direction, even the same Energodar. Fundamentally, such an offensive the course of the war will not change. But Ukraine will win media, garner further support from Western allies, and create demoralizing sentiments in Russian society. And one more plus of such a scenario - in case of failure of the offensive no risks front collapse.
Of the minuses of the implementation of the scenario, we note that it does not bring the end of the war very much closer. Yes, and the enemy, after losing one or two medium-sized cities, psychologically leaving very soon. The Russians left both Izyum and the much larger Kherson, but there were no mass riots in the Russian Federation after that.
3 script. APU do not carry out major offensive.
This is the worst scenario for Ukraine, and at the same time it is the scenario of the current day. Since November last year, the Ukrainian army has not carried out major offensive operations at the front. And again, this is not a question of sabotage, but a problem of free reserves and, in general, the ability to conduct offensive operations. When there is no resource base and related factors - offensive is impossible. After the last Ramstein, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will have more weapons, but we will see in the near future whether there will be enough of them for the offensive (especially considering that the tanks, with the exception of the British illiquid assets, were not given).
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