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UKRAINE: THE WEST’S LAST STAND - FIGHTING TO THE LAST UKRAINIAN?
Something of a reassessment of the situation on the battlefront in Ukraine is required to take account of the great efforts being made by the USA, UK and their allies in a now or never attempt to halt Russia’s progress and inflict damage on her.
We are now within a closing window of opportunity for the West while the summer months continue. Once we hit the autumn/fall things are likely to be proving very difficult for the western coalition of nations led by the USA.
On the ground in Ukraine Russia is slowly encircling several major towns and cities, namely Siversk, Bakhmut, Slavyansk and Kramatorsk with the former pair being the first in line for Russian occupation. These four conurbations, along with the city of Kharkiv/Kharkov constitute virtually all that remains to be taken of the Donbass by Russia.
As we can see there is every reason for the USA, UK and with less enthusiasm the European Union nations, to pull out all the stops to enable the Ukrainian authorities to boost their military capabilities. The USA has just announced that it will provide yet another four sophisticated HIMAR systems to Ukraine along with the long-range missiles (300 kilometre range) it previously said it would not supply.
In addition to the above Ukraine has been making an enormous effort to force Ukrainian men and women to enlist and fight. Kiev has, in addition to this push to throw ever more troops at the battle, is also steadily releasing its prison population with the proviso that they too go to the front to fight. (This was something the earlier Ukrainian authorities did from 2014 onward when its military was in very poor shape suffering from innumerable defects.)
The British have now begun training Ukrainian civilians and have promised 10,000 a month will receive this training. The suspicion must be that these civilians number among them some who have been seen on video attempting to run away from those seeking to frogmarch them into going to war. Commentators are pointing out the seeming futility of giving these hapless souls a few weeks of training before sending them as cannon-fodder to fight the professional army of Russia with acknowledged vastly superior artillery fire power.
Nevertheless, Ukraine has recently boasted that it has one million troops at its disposal and increasingly female fighters are being deployed and over time could amount to a force of perhaps some two hundred thousand, at first having lesser duties though later taking on more important tasks after training and battlefield experience. Some of these it has been speculated upon will become snipers in the first instance.
Russia has no easy task, it must be said, to grind through this defensive force with its much expanded numbers, especially if the HIMAR systems, provided precise data from the U.S. satellite network begins to accurately hit targets from a range of up to 300 kilometres. Already, in the last few days there was a strike on a Russian warehouse over 50 kilometres behind the city of Donetsk in the Donetsk People’s Republic. If Russia is to counteract the increasing use of these systems it will have to better its find and destroy capability along with its aerial defence systems.
Already by report, casualties on both sides are mounting. As the days go by I see little hope of avoiding the bloodbath I predicted a few days ago. Currently Russia appears to be feeling the other side out, making incremental progress and hunting down Ukrainian artillery emplacements, barracks, ammunition warehouses and most important of all, HIMAR system locations. Russia will not engage in a frontal attack on any of the towns listed above but will use its usual tactic of surrounding them and cutting their supply lines to deny them reinforcements of men and materiel.
The western powers, led by the USA and UK are bound to be doing everything humanly possible to assist the Ukrainians to inflict the maximum damage possible on Russia and the Russian forces. It remains to be seen what Russia will do on a significant scale to counteract the present escalation which is bound to continue in this last stand for the West, the last possible chance to deny Russia the Donbass