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Russian Leadership’s Will to Fight is Crumbling

Updated: May 19, 2023

Russia's Command Wants to Create Demilitarized Zones Around Areas it Has Annexed

3rd UAF Armoured Brigade, by Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, via Wikimedia Commons
Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, via Wikimedia Commons

The Russian leadership has displayed yet another sign of weakness. They have requested a demilitarized zone around the areas they annexed in a bid to hold on to what little they’ve gained. Let's talk about why they have changed policy from attack and steal to dig-in and hold.

For starters, recent videos from the Bakhmut front give us a glimpse of Ukraine’s fierce 3rd assault brigade in action. Scenes of tanks literally crushing opposition, followed closely by well-trained infantry, are flooding in from multiple channels. This may not be the massive offensive we’ve been waiting for, but it's a welcome change of momentum in the region and war.

These UAF attacks are more than likely probing missions. We see drones take point and scout out positions, followed closely by UAF tanks and, subsequently, infantry. However, if the probing mission manages to break through, then all the better, but Ukraine, at this point, still looks disciplined and is reserved.

It’s also clear many of the UAF troops trained by the British and NATO have made it to the front. The British, especially, have always seen the tank as an infantry support weapon. This is why we see such a tight relationship between the UAF armour and infantry. In many of these videos, the UAF infantry is a harrowing 5 metres from their own armour as it runs over Russian positions; all the while, the tanks are belching fire from their multiple guns.

This takes remarkable coordination. The Ukrainians are doing all this while mitigating friendly fire. While the Russians have no choice but to surrender or be destroyed. This is what tanks are for, pinning the enemy while repelling small arms.

It’s a far cry from what we’ve seen the Russian forces use their armour for. In much of the Russian attack footage, we see the Russians bumble down a dirt road in a column while their infantry is nowhere to be found. This leaves armour widely exposed to Anti Tank Guided Missile fire.

It’s clear the Ukrainians are gaining an upper hand every day they survive. As we saw in both world wars, those with worldly support have time on their side. This is no doubt why Russia desperately wants to hold what little it has gained in this despicable invasion via treaties and demilitarized zones.

Russia has lost over 20,000 soldiers in 5 months, while their ammunition supplies cannot sustain the bombardments we saw in 2022. The UK Ministry of Defence stated that although Russia still has 200 000 troops in Ukraine–divided into 70 combat brigades–these brigades are not the trained soldiers Russia began the war with, but rather untrained conscripts. And lest we forget, they failed to take many objectives in their full 2022 strength. Furthermore, the UK confirms that much of the modern weaponry Russia began the invasion with has been disabled or destroyed, forcing Russia to replace them with antiquated hardware.

As promising as all that sounds, it’s in Ukraine's best interest to still take things painstakingly slow. Even Soviet-era weapons can kill, especially in an ambush. What technology like the British Storm Shadow or the NATO JDAM can do is wither Russia's fire support.

Modern war can still play like a chess game–a very complicated one, but a strategic game nonetheless. Highly trained armies can use combined arms in a ballet of fire and brimstone. However, the UAF and Russian forces are forced to spread their power thin. This leads to artillery duels and isolated combat.

In 2022 the Ukrainians had to sit and watch as Russian long-range artillery showered their positions in rockets. They could occasionally use drones to zero in long tube artillery, but often their attackers were out of range. Now with HIMARs, Storm Shadows, and JDAMs, the tables have turned. Ukrainians have the long stick, and combined with their impressive drone reconnaissance, the Russians are finding it hard to do anything but send in infantry wave attacks and fire cruise missiles into urban areas. Both of which are wasteful and highly ineffective for taking ground in a modern hyper-war.

All of these truths boil down to one fact: Russia is losing every advantage it had even when it failed to meet its initial objectives. This means that their army has been forced onto the defensive. Essentially, they are in no position to gain ground.

And now we see high-level officials bargaining for demilitarized zones. This can only be seen as further evidence verifying our hopeful observations.

The Ukrainians are winning. However, it will be a slog to finish this. Russia is used to fighting on its back foot, and we have seen them win in this state. But the fact of the matter remains, Ukraine will hold on to their people, nationality, and culture, and the longer Russians stay in Ukrainian land, the more will die and suffer the wrath of the worldly supported locals.


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