WE ARE APPROACHING THE END GAME IN THE DONBASS AND A LIKELY BLOODBATH
Russia now recognises its enemies are not the Ukrainians but the political elite of the West. However, in the weeks and months to come it will instead be the Ukrainians who will die in their droves.
The final push by Russian forces to take and then permanently hold all that remains of the entire Donbass region is likely to begin within the next few months. The softening up of the Ukrainian lines has gone on apace through artillery fire and fire from the air. Over the last month there have been heavy losses on the Ukrainian side where many important military assets have been destroyed with much loss of life.
The Ukrainian regime is struggling to generate enough new troops through enforced mobilisation to build its forces back to strength. This however, is impossible given the time frame available. The most professionally trained and experienced troops are gone and can only be replaced using forced conscripts given training of a week or two at most. Many of these will have been forced against their will and are likely to flee the battlefield and surrender as soon as they find an opportunity to do so.
During the current forced mobilisation videos are constantly appearing of men running in flight from the recruiting officers and mass demonstrations from families against the recruiters. Men are being violently torn from their families and the numbers attempting to flee across the Ukrainian border by paying $5,000 to those willing to transport them is rising constantly. If the general mobilisation bill going through the Ukrainian parliament currently passes we will see thousands forcibly taken from their loved ones, given minimum training, and sent to die on the front lines.
The coming battle will without doubt be fierce and the losses on both sides are likely to be considerable. However, as has been the case throughout the numbers of Ukrainians dying is far higher, something near ten Ukrainians dying for each Russian. While the death toll among the Ukrainians ranges between 400 and 800 per day this could spike very soon. The Ukrainians are running out of both fuel and ammunition and with freezing conditions starting to hit hard the logistics of delivering supplies to them will become increasingly onerous. Cases of frostbite among Ukrainian prisoners of war is rapidly increasing.
In recent weeks Russia has begun to seriously degrade the regime’s air defence systems along with the arms and fuel dumps of its army. With a massively upgraded arms industry Russia has a constant stream of military vehicles, missiles and other munitions to supply to its army and appears poised to make a major push forward. There is every indication is that this war is about to enter its bloodiest stage where no quarter will be given on either side.
The regime appears to have recently transferred as many heavy weapons including HIMARS rocket launchers into position along the front line where Russia is expected within weeks to launch its attack. A significant number, including a PATRIOT system appear to have been destroyed there recently. Russia has significant satellite systems in operation which are evidently detecting these movements.
This will, in all probability be the final battle for the Donbass. It is inconceivable that the remaining cities of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk will stand for long if the coming assault claims the remaining major conurbations of the Donbass. Avdeyevka appears ready to fall within the next two weeks or so even without the expected major Russian surge forward.
If scenario one occurs then the rest of the Donetsk Oblast must surely fall to Russia within a month or two of the taking of Avdeyevka. Kharkov will surely not hold out long once the Ukrainian troops there realise they stand no hope as the Ukrainian defence line collapses up and down the front. A pause is more than likely immediately thereafter however while mopping up operations are conducted and, as before, the Russian troops liberating these areas are rested to prepare for the final push to take Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.
The coming phase of the conflict in Ukraine appears certain to be extremely bloody. Only one side is at all confident concerning the prospect for success and has strength enough in depth to consider holding negotiations toward the Ukrainians coming to terms in a capitulation that allowing some semblance of dignity. The Russians have a military history where negotiations take place while a conflict rages on have expressed an interest in resolving the issues involved ever since the coup of 2014 and continue to seek conflict resolution to this day. However, there is no reciprocal response from the other side even though such an arrangement did exist in the early days of the conflict. An arrangement undermined by then UK prime minister Boris Johnson and U.S. president Biden.
Neither side can afford to lose. And of course these sides are not simply one on one. Alongside the Ukrainians you have the entire collective west. The leaders of the West cannot afford to lose out to Russia. Equally Russia cannot afford to lose out to them. Driving NATO from its doorstep, ending the ultra-nationalist Nazi-mentality so prominent in western Ukraine and establishing the security of the Russian-speaking citizens of the Donbass are absolutely vital goals for Russia. Existential goals for the most part. This is now a fight to the death, to the absolute defeat of one side or the other with (unless attendance at negotiations are agreed to by the Ukrainians) no way out but an orgy of death and destruction to the bitter end.