The Budapest Memorandum, signed on 05 December 1994 by Ukraine, the U.S., Russia, and Britain, resulted in Ukraine renouncing its status as the world’s third largest nuclear power. In return, the other signatories provided “security assurances” of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, independence, sovereignty and freedom from interference. The Budapest memorandum committed Washington, Moscow and London, among other things, to “respect the independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine” and to “refrain from the threat or use of force” against that country. The United Kingdom and United States continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Russo-Ukraine War - 2022
Elected in 2019, Volodymyr Zelenskiy came to power promising to end the war in Donbass; heal the linguistic, economic and political divisions in the country; tackle corruption; and advance the cause of democracy. But by 2022, the war in Donbass continued, and Zelensky appeared not to have the slightest clue as to how to bring it to a close, refusing any compromise with the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). The country was as divided as ever.
In late 2021 Russia assembled over 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine, said to be the largest military buildup in Europe since the Cold War, a number which had grown to 130,000 by early 2022. Russia denied any plans to attack Ukraine, though absent such a threat incentives for the West to accept Russian demands to bar Ukraine from joining NATO and withdraw NATO forces from Eastern Europe were not apparent. The situation resembled the moment in April 2021 when a Russian military buildup near Ukraine raised alarm in the West, only to be followed by a withdrawal, when Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that snap inspections had been completed.
President Vladimir Putin believes that Russia and Ukraine are “essentially the same nation ... Everyone was Orthodox and everyone called themselves Russian. They didn’t want to be a part of the Catholic world where Poland was trying to pull them,” he said. NATO’s eastward expansion had been Moscow’s gravest concern and the top thorny issue in the bloc’s relations with Moscow. Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, believe that NATO informally promised Russia that it would not expand further to the east back in the 1990s.
In December 2021 Moscow issued an ultimatum to America and NATO in the form of two draft treaties, the terms of which were impossible for Washington to accept. The documents are made up of a list of security guarantees, including a demand that NATO won’t expand eastwards into states that were formerly a part of the USSR. If signed, it would also see troop movements near the Russian border become limited, end the alliance's military cooperation with countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, and would prevent missiles from being placed near the frontier. The proposal came amid the virtual collapse of Russia-NATO ties in recent months, and weeks of claims by the US and its European allies that Moscow may be 'preparing to invade' Ukraine.
Officials from the two sides met for a series of negotiations in January 2022, and in February 2022 Washington delivered its formal response to Moscow, rejecting limits on NATO enlargement but proposing measures for de-escalation in Europe, including increased transparency on military operations.
The Kazakhstan crisis seemed to make war in Ukraine less likely. If Russia were to insist on "taking back" Ukraine, it would "lose" Kazakhstan, Andrey Gurkov said 08 January 2021. There are two reasons for this. One is that a Russian military intervention could lead to domestic instability inside Russia similar to the unrest unfolding in Kazakhstan. The other stems from the fact that Russia must now dedicate much more attention to its southern neighbor, Kazakhstan. The idea of "taking back" Ukraine would burden the Russian military and populace with a "two-front campaign." But the resources devoted to Kazakhstan were minimal, and Putin needed to convince the world that he could walk and chew gum at the same time.
Moscow maintained that it never had plans to attack Ukraine and that it has a right to move its soldiers within its own territory as it sees fit. Officials have criticized the Western intelligence reports and media response as “hysteria” and “American disinformation.” However, top officials including President Vladimir Putin have voiced concerns about the large-scale security architecture of Europe, and have threatened unspecified “military-technical measures” if their demands are not met.
Putin faced a major problem for someone who believes population is synonymous with power. Putin is obsessed with this demographic issue. In his mind, the power of a country is linked to the size of its population. The larger the population, the more powerful the state. Russia’s population has been declining at a dizzying rate for the past 30 years. The demographic trend has been steadfast since 1991, when the Soviet Union fell and Russia counted 148.2 million inhabitants within its far-reaching borders. By 2021, that number had fallen to 146.1 million, according to Russian statistics agency Rosstat. What’s even more striking is that, according to demographic projections, the country’s population will continue to fall and reach between 130 and 140 million inhabitants by 2050.
Continued population decline is clearly a key motivator for Russia in its war against Ukraine. Ukraine has a population of 44 million people who are mostly of Slavic descent from the former Soviet bloc. For Putin, the invasion is not only about capturing territory he believes belongs to Russia, but about gaining control over a population he wants to "integrate" into the country. Following this mindset, Putin presented the demographic crisis as a “historic challenge” in January 2020, and assured his country that “Russia’s destiny and its historic prospects depend on how numerous we will be”.
Humiliation is a "fundamental emotion," but it is Russia that is humiliating itself in Ukraine. It is the humiliation of the rapist in front of his victim after the act.
On 24 February 2022, Ukraine was suddenly and deliberately attacked by land, naval and air forces of Russia, igniting the largest European war since the Great Patriotic War. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" (SVO - spetsialnaya voennaya operatsiya) in Ukraine in response to the appeal of the leaders of the "Donbass republics" for help. That attack is a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Putin stressed that Moscow's goal is the demilitarization and denazification of the country.
Attack against Kyiv under Northern Front comprised a Main Effort striking south from Belarus along western bank of Dnieper, to invest the city from the west. The Secondary Effort, along eastern bank of the river was to encircle Kyiv from northeast and east. On 26 February, Russian airborne forces tried to seize two key airfields around Kyiv with mixed results. Spetsnaz forces were infiltrated in Kyiv to link-up with airborne forces and mechanized advance from the north. Russian forces were held-up at Ivankiv, a northern suburb of Kyiv. By early March, the reportedly 64 kilometers-long convoy had made little progress. The Secondary Effort along the Chernihiv (Kyiv Oblast) was also held-up after partial siege of the Chernihiv city.
Initially, the Russians did not expect any resistance at all - they walked in columns, as in a parade, taking their dress uniform with them to celebrate the victory in Kiev. Apparently, Putin's subordinates gave him completely untrue information about the mood in Ukraine. In the first days and weeks after a full-scale invasion, the occupiers acted like fools and were easy targets even for poorly trained territorial defense fighters. Most of the Russian soldiers do not understand what they want this Ukraine for. Apart from the fear of reprisals and the desire to plunder, nothing motivates them to fight.
On 1 March, the Eastern Front, after relatively unimpeded advance, bombed and invested Kharkov City, some 35 kilometers from Russian border. Ukrainian Forces offered stiff resistance and attacked Millerovo air base (Rostov Oblast, Russia) on 25 February using OTR-21 Tochka missiles.
Along Southern Front, on 24 February, Russian forces took control of the North Crimean Canal, supplying Dnieper water to Crimea. It was cut off since 2014. Mariupol was besieged on 26 February simultaneously linking the Front with separatist-held Donbas region. On 1 March, Russian forces resumed their attack on Melitopol, which was later taken.
"War 0.9" ended in fiasco for Russia. Russia aimed to create “shock and awe,” causing Ukraine’s defenses and will to fight to collapse. This was wishful Soviet thinking early in its Afghanistan war and America’s calculus early in the second Iraq war. Russian planners had hoped that the Ukrainina government would simply implode the way the Afghan government had imlodeded a few months earlier in the face of the Taliban onslought, but such hopes were extinquished within days, when President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to the American evacuation offer with "I neeed ammo, not a ride".
The relative incompetence of the Russian General Staff is surprising. Launching a major war on faulty assumptions like an early Ukrainian capitulation; a less resolute US/NATO response; over-rating its own performance/coordination; ignorance of force morale due to Russian kinship with Ukrainians; lack of jointness among Russian ground and air forces; besides, neglecting the quintessential lesson of dilution-in-space etc are some examples. Collaboration by pro-Moscow Ukrainians seems to have been a critical assumption by the Russian Military. Some Russian experts admit that they were mistaken on one essential point, that is, believing that the United States would lose interest in Europe and focus exclusively on China. They were convinced of an inexorable Western backlash, after the American rout in Afghanistan.
The second phae of the war was one of maneuver and direct fire weapons [ie, tanks and ATGMs]. In the first month and a half of the war, Russia sought to carry out a blitzkrieg and wedge its tank and mechanized units deep into Ukrainian territory in order to quickly capture Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhia, and Odessa. At this stage, Russia's stated political goals were fully in line with the military: to rapidly paralyze Ukraine's power and turn it into a puppet, to deprive Ukraine of its sovereignty by turning it into a satellite, and to split NATO and establish a "new order" in Europe.
With the exception of capturing the smallest of these cities (Kherson), "War 1.0" ended in fiasco for Russia. This entire Effort stalled by 20 March, because of armor unable to fanout astride the fewer roads due to forests, waterways and the dreaded ‘General Mud’, as the soiled ground was called in World War-II. Besides, Russian logistics were constrained due to long and vulnerable supply lines and dogged resistance by Ukrainian tank hunting parties. On 16 March, remaining Ukrainian forces mounted a counter-offensive with partial success. The Effort, designed for a quick victory was fully retracted by 7 April for resupply and redeployment.
On 25 February, Russian Navy undertook an amphibious assault ashore the Sea of Azov on a 70-kilometer coastline west of Mariupol for expected deployment of marines. A second pincer including 22nd Army Corps developed operation north from Crimea capturing the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant by 4 March. A third prong from Crimea moved northwest towards Kherson and captured the city, the first major Ukrainian city to fall. Mariupol was completely encircled by 18 March and fell during Phase 2.
Seth Jones, Senior Vice President and Director of the CSIS International Security Program: "Russia's advanced forces were short of spare parts, fuel, and ammunition - a complete logistical failure. We have seen in satellite images that it was difficult for Russian troops to even move: they got stuck on narrow roads without risking to move troops outside. Now they are trying to solve their logistics problems by building and rebuilding railways and road bridges in the occupied territories. "
Early in the war, the surge of assistance from the United States and allies and partners ended up proving vital to supplement the training and capability Ukraine had built over those seven years in thwarting Russia's multi-access offensive, which was aimed at overthrowing the legitimate government of Ukraine and that is evidenced in the fact that Kyiv was one of the major priority axes of attack.
Ukraine's successful fighting off of the initial attack resulted in part from the years of training, equipping and advising, coupled with the surge of key capabilities such as 11,000 anti-armor and almost 1,500 anti-air weapons just in those first weeks, along with critical intelligence sharing, enabled the Ukrainian Armed Forces to successfully defend Kyiv and force the Russians to pull back and reassess their battlefield objectives and their approach.
And a main element of this was that Russia's large scale invasion also was thwarted by Ukraine's very capable use of air defense capabilities, both those that Ukraine owned at the start of the battle -- legacy Soviet capabilities -- and the surge of assistance that the United States and allies immediately turned to in order to provide Ukraine with additional Soviet era legacy air defense systems, spare parts, repairs, more missiles. And as a result, Ukraine denied Russia from gaining air superiority. And Russia -- and Ukraine continues, to this day, to sustain that capability and to deny Russia air superiority, which has forced Russia to limit its operations.
It was assumed that at the beginning of the war, Russia would carry out massive cyber attacks on Ukraine's digital infrastructure, "blind the enemy" and make him incapable. But this did not happen. Emily Harding, Deputy Director and Senior Research Fellow, CSIS International Security Program, Former Senate Special Committee on Senate Intelligence (SSCI) and CIA Analyst, said : "It was only a few months later that really interesting reports began to appear about what was going on behind the scenes at the time.
"In particular, Microsoft , which has been active in Ukraine, has published its report, which states that since the beginning of the war (February 24, 2022) and until April 8, Russian-backed hacker groups have committed more than 200 cyberattacks against Ukraine. Thirty-seven of them were very destructive, some were able to permanently destroy files and hundreds of systems in dozens of organizations in Ukraine. In particular, hackers attacked the Ukrainian banking sector, communications, government communications.
"In general, the attack did not work. Why? I am not sure that the general public will know the detailed answer to this question even in a few years. But I suspect that we have overestimated the capabilities of the Russians in cyberspace as well as on the battlefield. In cyberspace, they were not preparing for a protracted war either: they thought to end it in three days ... Ukrainians, working closely with the United States and the West, as well as with business companies such as Microsoft, made sure that the defense resisted well during hostile cyber operations. "
Eliot Cohen, Head of Strategy and Deputy Director of CSIS, said : In March, "the Russians really suffered a serious defeat. They were defeated near Kyiv, they were defeated near Kharkiv. Strategically, they have not only failed to achieve NATO's non-enlargement, but have tolerated its growth at the expense of able-bodied member states such as Sweden and Finland. Russia had to face an explosion of emigration - the departure of many of its talented citizens to other countries.
"The Kremlin has created with its own hands a situation where their economy will be under enormous pressure for many years to come. From the Russian point of view, this is a fiasco, and there are people in the Russian elite who understand this , ”Cohen concludes, describing the results of the first stage of the war. Thus, in "War 1.0" the Kremlin did not achieve its military or political goals."
The third phase of the war was one of position, attrition, and indirect fire weapons [ie, tube and rocket artillery]. On April 22, Russia announced new plans during the second phase of the "special operation." The Russian military stated its intention to establish full control over Donbass and southern Ukraine to secure a land corridor to the occupied Crimea and gain access to Transnistria. Its new phase - "War 2.0" - is radically different from the first, first of all - the presence of a stable and fairly clear front line. Now it is a classic positional war, characterized by slow and time-consuming changes in the front line.
At the turn of March and April, when they withdrew from the areas around Kiev, Chernihiv and Sumy, the Russians announced a great battle for Donbass. The plan was to bring out two strikes, in the north near the city of Izium, and in the south near Wolnowacha. In these clamps, the Ukrainian army was to be closed and the entire Donbass was to be conquered. Nothing like that happened. The offensive from Iziumu was stopped. In early May, the Ukrainians achieved a spectacular victory when the Russians tried to cross the Donets Siewierski River . The aggressor's goals were verified and had to be changed. The Battle of Donbass was limited to the Battle of Severodonetsk. Russia engaged almost all of its military power to do so, and yet it took over two months.
According to Russian Ministry of Defence, Phase 2, had four main and modest objectives; a) taking over Donbas (in progress); b) creating a land corridor upto Russian-held Crimea (mainly done); c) blockading Ukrainian Black Sea ports (accomplished); and d) taking control of southern Ukraine and creating an exit to breakaway pro-Russia Transnistria region on Ukrainian-Moldov border (in progress). The political aim, Western officials suspect, still remains toppling of the Ukrainian government, by force if necessary.
In military terms, Russia's goals changed. The lesson with logistics and poor logistics was learned. At a new stage, the improvement of security allowed the Russian army to move to the tactics of remote fire defeat of the enemy. The Russian army resorted to the tactics of remote fire defeat of the enemy. Using a numerical advantage in artillery (including howitzer and jet), in some places tenfold - the Russian army is massively shelling Ukrainian positions and civilian objects, forcing them to retreat.
The Assault under General Dvornikov was launched by SE Front, reinforced by forces withdrawn from N/NE Fronts. Russian ground forces for the reconstituted offensive comprise 1st Guards Tank Army, and full/partial complements from 2nd, 5th, 6th, 8th, 20th, 35th, 41st and 58th Armies, along auxiliaries. They are supported by Donetsk People's Republic Armed Forces, Luhansk People's Militia, Wagner Group (militia) and Libyan/Syrian contingents. Ukraine has two tank brigades (4th and 17th), two mountain assault brigades (10th and 128th), four mechanized/motor brigades (24th, 53rd, 56th, 72nd), one airmobile brigade (81st) plus air assault forces and Georgian Legion, territorial forces, foreign mercenaries/volunteers on its order of battle.
Realizing its problems with urban fighting and wanting to reduce losses, the Russian army is not going to storm the complete destruction of facilities. "The front line on which the fighting is taking place is more than a thousand kilometers long," said Eliot Cohen. - Yes, it is a lot, and the Russian army is still limited in manpower. There are 150,000 to 200,000 Russian servicemen in Ukraine. Russia does not have such a large army. Before the war, it was about 300,000 plus the National Guard, which is actually an internal security force and untrained conscripts. As you know, Russia is now forced by law to extend the age at which it is possible to enlist in the military. The notion that Russia has limitless human resources is a superstition from another era and a completely different type of war, ”Cohen said.
Russia is still compensating for the lack of human resources with enough ammunition. They are often outdated and inaccurate, but there are many more.
Michael Vickers, former US Deputy Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and CIA Officer, said "The Russian army fires 50,000 shots a day, so now it's just one massive artillery shelling. They understand that they have not been very effective in more difficult maneuvers: for example, in trying to surround the Ukrainian army or even just crossing the river. In terms of the accuracy of fire, the Russian army has not advanced so far in comparison with the time of Suvorov."
It is possible to destroy the enemy's invisible fire position from the front line either by air attack (but there are very few combat aircraft in Ukraine) or by retaliatory fire. This requires a howitzer with greater range than the enemy. But guidance is critical to the accuracy of the fire. In modern conditions, this function is performed by reconnaissance, drones and satellite systems, without which the howitzer becomes an almost meaningless weapon.
Counter-battery radars, which appeared en masse only in the 1970s, allow the final trajectory of the projectile to determine the place from where it was released, and thus provide the coordinates of the gunners for retaliatory fire. The United States, which is a world leader in the development of such radars, provided them to Ukraine, but it is worth reminding that they make sense only if the artillery will exceed the range of Russia.
Russia is actively involved in the permanent annexation of territories. "They are de facto annexing them," said Seth Jones. - They replaced the Ukrainian currency with their own ruble, replaced Ukrainian municipal officials with Russian ones, revised the school curriculum, including the history of Russia in its understanding. This is an attempt at state building, annexation."
This indicates that despite the change of military mission to a more modest goal in the second stage of the war, "Putin's political goals have not changed at all and remain maximalist," said Eliot Cohen. - Putin even spoke more clearly, comparing himself to Peter the Great ... He wants to restore the Russian Empire, not even the Soviet Union. But military goals have ceased to coincide with political ones: the Russian military has been pushed back. " "The Kremlin still believes that the West will soon fall, that the unity we have now discovered will not last long and that it will, in fact, be able to survive the West," added Emily Harding.
For a successful offensive it is necessary to create a threefold local advantage over the enemy. By late June 2022, the Ukrainian army did not have such an advantage, and therefore the situation at the front was close to stagnation. "Did we give Ukraine everything we could?" Seth Jones asks, and says, "No. We have not provided enough weapons so that Ukraine can regain the occupied territory, now that Russian troops have dug in." Talks that the supply of heavy long-range weapons and ammunition to them could escalate, the expert said, were "counterproductive": Russian propaganda was happy to pick up any doubts and "retransmit them ten times louder."
"The West needs some kind of industrial mobilization," said Michael Vickers. "We must be ready to reduce our weapons stockpiles and give Ukraine more of what it needs." In the United States, many relatively old artillery systems are preserved, and they can be returned to Ukraine, while replacing them with new ones without compromising the country's security, the expert said.
In fact, this decision prolongs the war. And with its procrastination, "part of our attention is inevitably diverted to other political and economic issues," continues Emily Harding. - Oil and gas prices are becoming a really important question: will Europe be able to withstand this trend and move away from Russian oil and gas forever? Will we be able to keep Turkey as an ally and accept Sweden and Finland into the alliance at the same time?
Yes, the Russian economy will shrink by about 10-15% this year, but it is not much more painful for the Russians than, say, the crisis of 2008. On the other hand, the Ukrainian economy promises to fall by 40-45%, which is quite catastrophic. Ukraine will need a massive influx of Western aid to survive. According to the latest estimates, two hundred to five hundred billion dollars are already needed to rebuild the country. "
"Thus, Russia is literally doubling the stakes," sums up Emily Harding. - For Ukrainians, this is an existential struggle, and they will need the unlimited support of the West to continue it. The world will have to put up with high gas and oil prices. And this is not something that the average American will like. "
Unless a decisive breakthrough is made, such as a truly massive arms supply, including offensive or direct NATO intervention, the Ukrainian war threatens to enter a phase of stagnation - especially in the context of the above political situation. And then, Eliot Cohen suggests, Putin would potentially be ready at some point to propose a "ceasefire or something, but the most important thing we need to understand is that this will still be only an intermediate option." "Putin's political goals remain the same as before: he is simply reorganizing his military resources by taking a break."
"As US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin rightly said, our goal is for Ukraine to win and for Russia's military power to be so weakened that it cannot continue to wage such wars. I hope this is still a goal for the United States and the West , " said Michael Vickers.
This is the storing-in period for Europe, where countries generally look forward to storing gas for the upcoming winters. This year, however, the trend is the exact opposite. They are forced to exploit gas reserves during the storing-in period, which means that they won’t have enough gas left in their reservoirs when winters would strike.
The Ukrainian war hiked oil prices from $40 to $100+ per barrel, doubled the gas price three times, and threatened to deprive half of the world’s population of their daily bread. Politically, the war led to reconsiderations and shifts in international dealings that manifested in a change in US stance on Iran, making it retract from the nuclear deal with Teheran and persuading Washington to return to Saudi Arabia, which is still the world’s largest oil exporter.
Due to the Ukrainian war, Russia began pulling out its troops from Syria. The latter might become an Iranian banana republic – with all the implications of this shift in terms of new Arab-Israeli regional defensive politics. Furthermore, the Ukrainian crisis has revived the role of chemical and bacterial weapons and raised debate on the limits and use of nuclear weapons.
The Germans had been convinced of the concept of reconciliation with Russia and betting on economic ties with Moscow that would ensure Europe’s security, unlike the US, which continued to regard Russia as an unaltered source of threat, despite the fall of the communist regime with its expansionist ambitions. The US fears became a reality, as Russia has suspended its gas supplies before its invasion of Ukraine, turning its gas into a key weapon in the war.
The Russian publication "Project" analyzed all the reports of the Ministry of Defense of Russia about the "successes" of the so-called "special military operation" on the territory of Ukraine. The researchers came to the conclusion 30 June 2022 that many of the data and figures announced by the Russian agency are fabricated. And they do not even coincide with each other According to the Proekt publication, there are many blunders and inconsistencies in the statements of the Russian Ministry of Defense, voiced by its speaker Igor Konashenkov. Thus, in the statements in Konashenkov's reports, there are references to the capture of populated areas by Russian troops (occupation of the territory of Ukraine in Russian rhetoric sounds like taking control) , which were apparently captured earlier .
The numbers of destroyed equipment and killed Ukrainian soldiers submitted to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation are impressive. So the journalists paid attention to one of the briefings, where the Russians reported on the number of destroyed Ukrainian artillery. On the evening of April 28, the total number of destroyed tanks and anti-aircraft guns was lower than the number announced in the morning of the same day.
At the beginning of March, the Ministry of Defense of Russia announced the destruction of almost all combat aircraft of Ukraine , and a few days later, on May 9, about 90 percent of the destroyed airfields. A month later, there is talk of the complete destruction of the Ukrainian air force. In addition, it was about the destruction of 70% of all stocks of equipment, fuel, and ammunition. But after that, hostilities continued.
On the hundredth day of the war, the Russian command announced the destruction of 198 Ukrainian combat aircraft. Despite the fact that the specialized resource Flightglobal presented 98 combat aircraft, 35 transport aircraft and 5 specialized aircraft available in the Ukrainian forces , which in total is 138 - much less than the number destroyed according to the version of the Ministry of Defense of Russia. But for its part, Russia announced the loss of only 1 (one!) Russian plane back on February 24, after which this number officially did not increase in Russia.
As of June 30, there are already 224 destroyed Ukrainian planes and 132 helicopters. At the same time, the 2021 edition of The Military Balance reported the number of combat helicopters in service with Ukraine - up to 100 units.
To sum up the total number of killed from the daily briefings, then it should be at least 40,000. Taking into account the accepted statistics of the war (the ratio of killed and wounded), the total number of Ukrainian losses should be about 160,000. This is at least 80% of the composition of the Armed Forces at the time the invasion began. In the edition "Projekt" they ask the question, with whom then Russia continues to fight.
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