If the conflict in Ukraine is frozen on the current occupied lines, then the war will just restart again in a few years according to the Institute for the Study of War, with Russia at an advantage.
“If a ceasefire or any sort of agreement suspends fighting with the Russians still in possession of that lodgment, the prospects for a renewed Russian offensive in southern Ukraine would be vastly improved,” ISW said, adding:
“If Ukraine regains control of the entire west bank of the river, on the other hand, the Russians would likely find ground attacks against southwestern Ukraine extraordinarily difficult.
The long-term defensibility of Mykolayiv, Odesa, and the entire Ukrainian Black Sea coast thus rests in no small part on the liberation of western Kherson.”
In the past few weeks Ukraine has liberated more than a thousand square miles in the Kherson region, with a media blackout currently ongoing in regards to movements in the area.
It is the biggest info blackout since Kharkiv was liberated, with Russia also thought to have imposed a blackout of its own on its mili-bloggers that have become a thorn on the Kremlin.
Sporadic reports indicate things are going on there, but it’s not even a fog of war, it’s more complete silence.
Whether that suggests that nothing is actually going on, or that the Ukrainian soldiers are utterly disciplined, is anyone’s guess.
There have been hints of the latter however. Ukrainian soldiers were nowhere to be seen digitally for about a week, to only briefly resurface just before that ‘official’ media blackout was imposed during the weekend.
During that week there were many advances in the Kherson region, of which we learned only on Saturday.
The map above shows such activity continues, with a state of panic engulfing the Russian army during the weekend.
There’s suggestions Russian reinforcements are being brought in, moving through Novooleksiivka train station towards the Kherson frontline, while some are being sent to Crimea.
That presumably suggests things are not going very well for rusty Ruskis, with experts indicating it will be very difficult for Russia to hold the area west of the Dnipro river.
Yet, Russia may well be giving it all, which may well turn this into the fiercest battle so far as the entire war may well be decided here.
To slow down this advance, Russia is trying to divide attention and resources by attacking civilian infrastructure in a new reign of terror in this Europe that may well have some describe them as the new ISIS.
Putin has certainly gained the title of the most hated man on earth, the new Bin Laden in effect that hits children’s playgrounds and wants millions to freeze to death this winter in Ukraine.
“Since Oct 10, 30% of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country,” Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Japan has offered assistance to restore electricity, while Ukraine has just received €2 billion in aid from the European Union, its president said.
Iran on the other hand is trying to slowdown any response by continuing to deny they have sent any drones to Russia, although there’s tons of footage of those Iranian drones hitting Ukrainian civilians.
This armament of Russia by Iran is a new development that has experts trying to figure out just how to respond.
Plenty of the wider public however may be amazed that we’re hearing of Iranian and Turkish drones, when all assumed that it is European and American tech at the forefront of advancement.
One reason may well be that they can just produce them cheaply, making it a numbers game with these shahid drones being more just long range missiles.
Some suggest they are being fired from Belarus, risking an expansion of the war as Poland may, at least consider, liberating its neighbor which only recently put down massive protests by inviting the Russian army, especially if Belarus carries out its threat of joining the war if Ukraine hits Russian military in Belarus.
Israel, as Iran’s neighbor, should have plenty of knowhow but this great ally is seemingly choosing instead to have its cake and eat it too, to have a statue of Putin on its land, while telling US what to do in regards to Iran.
Now that Iran has gotten involved however, the west may have the green-light to supply both long range missiles and means to counteract these drones.
Fighterjets might be the most useful both in the civilian front and military front. One problem with them is their very expensive missiles compared to cheap drones, but fighterjets flying above these drones should easily be able to neutralize them.
Although there have been discussions in regards to such jets, the west has failed to deliver any, yet Russia’s response to that timidity has only been escalation and escalation.
Maybe, therefore, it is time for the west to show that they too have plenty of room for escalation, but so far they have limited themself to just sending air defense, instead of getting an upper hand.
NASAMS are to be sent to Ukraine in one to three weeks, this being a distributed and networked short- to medium-range ground-based air defense system developed by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Raytheon.
It costs $215 million, with one problem potentially being that it would have probably been a lot more useful in the battlefront, instead of guarding playgrounds, but Putin is not refraining from ISIS tactics and so both now need to be supplied.
That’s turning Ukraine into a fortress of sorts, yet so much damage from few Iranian drones may well suggest the west has held back significantly in its weapons supply.
It may be time to change that, to give Ukraine the needed supply to liberate its country, and end this war with a Putin defeat, so that uncertainty doesn’t continue over Europe and the risk of a destabilization of the entire continent, if Putin stalemates or wins, is removed.
Where markets are concerned, they’re probably closely watching what’s happening as any sign this war is coming to an end sooner than thought, should boost markets.
For now however it is difficult to pass any judgment until it is clear what’s happening in Kherson, and until we see the response to the entrance of the new drafted Russians which some suggest is expected in spring.
Before then, just how much the entrance of Iran has changed on the battlefield remains to be seen. Likewise whether Ukraine can still advance to push the Russians back beyond the river, as they have been doing for the past few weeks.