The war progress
Let’s summarise the events of half-month of our holy war for freedom.
The Russo-Ukrainian war has been raging for over 15 days. From the military strategy point of view, it is a defensive operation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces against Russian aggression.
The Russian army has substantially slowed and cannot dramatically move the frontline. As the forces are targeting different directions, they are getting dispersed. Attempted landing operations in Odesa have failed, and the ships had to turn back to Crimea.
According to Ukraine’s General Staff, since the invasion began, Russia has used 328 near-strategic missiles (Iskanders – 154, Calibers – 97, Kh-101 – 56, Tochka U – 21); anti-aircraft systems have intercepted a part of them. The newest rocket resources are being depleted.
Russian forces did not manage to advance substantially during the last five days. However, they try to scatter among many villages while terrorizing civilians. The most problematic situation is in the South (Kherson region and Melitopol), where Russians suppress peaceful protests, intimidate local politicians and activists.
As the resources get depleted, the Kremlin plans to involve its allies in the war. In particular, Russia seriously presses Minsk. There was a provocation on March 11: Belarus’s jets entered Ukraine in the Northern Rivne region, then returned and shelled their villages in the Stolin district. However, the provocation did not deliver the results due to Ukraine’s preemptive warning. Possible involvement of Belarus’s weak army (estimated about 6,000 combat-ready forces) will only lead to fracturing Lukashenko’s regime.
Full-scale war between Ukraine and Russia (that uses Belarus’s logistics network).
According to Ukrainian data, as of March 11, the aggressor lost over 12,000 killed and over 50,000 wounded or unable to fight.
The negotiations between Kuleba and Lavrov in Antalya on March 10 have not delivered any results. Turkey is holding a strong intermediary position and attempting to initiate a worldwide discussion about the weaknesses of international safety institutions, including the UN.
The negotiations are joined by France’s Emmanual Macron, Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, and Israel’s Naftali Bennett. For now, Putin demands Ukraine to stop fighting, but the aggressor’s losses and lack of resources will impact Moscow’s position. The German side is represented not just by Olaf Scholz; there are attempts to involve Gerhard Schroder, who has been in deep contact with Putin.
According to the UN data, there are over 500 dead and over 1,000 wounded civilians. But in Mariupol only, as the local government states, over 1,300 civilians have died (precise calculations are not yet possible). The majority died during the shellings of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and Mariupol. Many foreigners are in danger, primarily students (over 80 Turkish students in Mariupol).
According to the UN, about 1.5 million refugees left Ukraine in the Western direction.
Control over territory
As of March 11, the aggressor’s forces hold lands in Southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, Eastern Mykolaiv region, and Northern Chernihiv, Sumy, Kyiv, and Kharkiv regions. There are attempts to advance in Donbas, but Russian do not control backside towns and villages even in the Luhansk region.
Kyiv enjoys increasing support of the Muslim world, particularly among Caucasus opposition leaders, including Salafi sermonizers.
There are more calls for a ceasefire from China due to the Russian army’s inefficiency (Beijing used to see it as a potential ally) and anti-Russian spirits that consolidated the West. Moreover, a long war will cause global food prices to increase, which is not suitable for China.
The aggressor is noticeably depleting its resources; logistics issues exacerbate the problem. Main critical directions: an attempt to encircle the United Forces zone in Luhansk and Donetsk regions by moving from Eastern Kharkiv (Balaklava-Izyum-Lozova line) and Southern Zaporizhzhya (Polohy-Huliaipole-Pokrovsk line) regions. The enemy has been stopped in both directions, but the situation in Izyum (that was shelled) is difficult. The group in the West from Kyiv is unable to surround or storm the capital; in fact, it is only distracting combat-ready Ukrainian forces. Subsequently, they try to terrorize civilians and destroy the country’s economic base. There are attempts to damage essential infrastructure in besieged cities (food storages, electro-communications, and thermal communications).
An exhausted enemy is forced to choose between attacks without protected backsides and holding the current positions. We predict that they will try to advance for two more weeks and then switch to freezing on the positions as it happened in 2015.
Yurii Oliinyk, Head of Research Programs, NAC «Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Disquisitions»
English adaptation: Oleksandr Chupak