Okay, this will be a short bulletpoint reminder of how I see the Russian position and options in response to the Ukronazis attack.
First, a few key assumptions:
- Russia does not want to invade/liberate the Ukraine
- Russia would prefer not to get openly involved in the LDNR
- The best outcome for Russia would be for the LDNR to be able to hold without overt Russian support
- Throughout this entire battle, Russia will always prefer to do less than to do more.
Next, here is a summary of how I expect Russia to act in the next couple of days:
|Ukronazi shelling but not ground attack||Civilian casualties and infrastructure destruction||Let the LDNR handle it while reporting about this at home|
|Ukronazis attempt to move ground forces across the LOC||Risk to the LDNR defenses||Ideally, Russia would only use “indirect” means such as counter-battery fire, strikes on advancing Ukronazi forces, EW.|
|Ukronazis forces break through the LDNR defenses||Potential existential risk to the LDNR||Imposition of a no-fly zone, sustained artillery/rocket attacks on Ukie forces|
|Full scale Ukronazi attack||Existential threat to the LDNR||Russia moves her forces into the LDNR and stops it all.|
Notice that in all the scenarios above, Russia does not initiate a fullscale attack on the Ukraine.
Because the decision to launch a fullscale attack on the Ukronazi state would be based not on events along the LOC (line of contact) but upon a much “bigger picture” of what the West might, or might not do, in the Ukraine and the rest of Europe.
In other words, the problem of the LDNR is separate from the much greater problem of the future security arrangement of Europe.
Also, another much needed reminder: when does it makes sense to negotiate with your enemies?
- Not when you “trust” them.
- Not when you hope to “convince” them.
- Not when you hope to “show a peaceful face” to the general public.
No, it makes sense to negotiate with your enemy when:
- You hope to achieve more by negotiations then by using military force.
- Time is on your side.
- When you need to buy more time (for whatever reasons).
The US and its EU colonies have been predicting a Russian intervention for months now. That intervention has not happened (yet) and this is driving the leaders of the West into total despair. This is good for Russia and that is how she wants to keep the situation for as long as possible.
I am personally convinced that the only way to solve both the specific LDNR option and to create a new security architecture in Europe will have to be achieved by Russian unilateral military operation: the folks in the West need yet another military defeat to come back to their senses (they need one about every century or so). If the Russians also see that as inevitable, they still have two things they need to do first:
- To delay an open intervention as much as possible in order to subvert the western narrative
- To engage in what could be called the “psychological preparation of the theater of operations” which, in plain English, to create such a level of anger in the LDNR and also inside Russia that the public opinion will DEMAND an intervention.
There WILL be real negative economic and political repercussions for Russia when she intervenes. Thus it is vital for Putin and the government to create such a political dynamic inside Russia that the Russian people will not only support an intervention, but DEMAND one. Then, when the western “sanctions from hell” are imposed, the people will not blame Putin for the very real price Russia will have to pay to prevail.
Right now, you could say that the Russian bear has been awoken by all the noise, it has come out of its lair and is just looking. Just that has the entire West in a state of total panic.
But when that bear will actually attack will not be decided by anyone but that bear.
The Ukies have declared on numerous occasions that they will not implement the Minsk Agreements. That is very good.
Now their attack on the LDNR seems to show that the Ukies now want to provoke a Russian response. This is also very good, as the level of public outrage on the RuNet and even on Russian TV has gone through the roof. The Russian PSYOP preparation of the battlefield is progressing in the right direction.
As for the LDNR defenses, they seem to be holding, but the real, major, Ukie ground offensive has not begun yet!
That is the next thing we need to look for: a Ukie ground attack. Specifically, we don’t need to worry primarily about the initiation of that coming Ukie attack, but what it yields in the first 4-6 hours or so. Once the Ukies are fully committed, then they become a legitimate target for counter-strikes.
So this is The Big Question now: will the LDNR defenses hold?
==>>So this is the key thing to observe is this: is the LOC moving and, if yes, how far and how fast?<<==
My personal guess is that yes, they will, which will leave only two options to the Ukronazis:
- Give up
- Launch a massive, full-scale attack
The latter is much more likely than the former.
And, in the meantime, the pain dial for the West is slowly turning up pretty much on all fronts.
So for Russia it makes sense to let that process take as long as possible before deciding to interrupt it and overtly intervene.
I hear one argument: what about the innocent civilians murdered in the LDNR?
What about them?
Does anybody seriously think that a Russian intervention will result in less casualties than what is currently taking place?
The horrible truth is that loss of life will happen no matter how the situation evolves. So the only real choice is not “save civilians or let them die” the choice is “make sure that every civilian death counts”. Sound cynical? It is, but that is the reality of real warfare (as opposed to the Hollywood & Tom Clancy nonsense folks in the West are brainwashed with since birth).
So, to all those who are constantly demanding that Russia intervene *now* and who don’t understand why Lavrov agreed to meet with Blinken, I will say this: do not project your own emotions and reactions unto Putin or, if you prefer, the “Russian bear”. The Russians did not create the biggest country on earth and defeated all their enemies by being naive or by being unable to calculate when/how to react against a foreign aggression.
If you think that you know better, good for you, just don’t expect Putin to act the way you would in the same situation.
Lastly, there is something morally repugnant in the attitude of those who see warfare as anything but the weapon of last resort. Christ said “blessed are the peacemakers” not “blessed are the warmakers”. Yes, as I said, I believe that Russia will have to intervene, openly and directly. But I also believe that Putin will wait as much as possible. That is not only operationally wise, it is morally correct.
ADDENDUM: I remember how the western media said that the city of Sarajevo was “intensively shelled” by the Serbs. Utter nonsense! These folks simply don’t understand modern warfare. When a shell lands every few minutes or so this is NOT any “intense artillery fire”. Now, when an area the size of one, or even several, football field instantly goes up in flames, that is a serious artillery strike. What we see as of right now in the LDNR is what could be called “disturbing fire”. When the Ukies used de-mining vehicles yesterday that could be part of a preparation for a ground assault. This has NOT happened YET. As for a ground assault, so far the Ukies have only sent in special forces and, apparently, they got detected, took casualties, and had to retreat.
All this is way below the threshold at which Russia will have to intervene.