About the Encirclement of the Ukrainian Troops in Donbass & Repelling a Possible Attack on the Crimean Bridge

NEW – June 21, 2022

We see significant numbers of combat losses of Ukrainian servicemen, and the operational and strategic initiative as a whole is in the hands of the Russian army, says military expert and editor-in-chief of the National Defence magazine Igor Korotchenko. He spoke about this in an interview with ukraina.ru

Igor Yuryevich, Denis Pushilin said that in the battle for Donbass, the Republic’s fighters gained a military advantage and we can talk about the turning point that has occurred. Why did this happen?

“It is necessary to focus, first of all, on the position of the official speakers of the Ministry of Defence of Russia. As far as I understand, no such statements have been made so far. After all, we are opposed by a fairly strong grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which numbers from 50,000 to 70,000 people. Obviously, its environment, destruction, dismemberment is not a process that is completed in 1-2 weeks. This is a long process.

At the same time, it should be noted the successes of the Russian military, as well as the armies of the DPR and LPR, which are jointly fighting. We see significant figures of combat losses of Ukrainian servicemen. Therefore, in general, the operational and strategic initiative is in the hands of the Russian army, and this inspires optimism about the further course and final goals of the second stage of the special operation.”

Will Russia strike decision-making centres?

“This is the competence of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. As an expert who does not have all the information, I would consider such strikes appropriate, at least for the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. Those who make such decisions, and such decisions the President of the Russian Federation obviously agrees with, obviously at the moment consider it inappropriate. Based again on the situation.

It must be understood: the assessments of experts who do not have all the information and the entire final plan of the operation are one thing, and the decision of the management is another.”

What forecast can you give for the near future, given the upcoming supplies of Western weapons to Ukraine?

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“In order to prevent the arrival of new weapons from the West, intensive strikes on key railway facilities in Ukraine are needed in order to paralyse railway communication. These are primarily bridges. If there are strikes, then such a communication will be paralysed, therefore, it will be impossible to supply weapons via such transport.

But this is again a matter of assessing the adoption of an appropriate military-political decision by those who implement the special operation.

We can still say that the main thing is not the scale of military assistance from the West, but the ability to use these weapons effectively. This implies the presence of trained personnel, the presence of units, the redeployment of combat structures armed with such equipment in the combat area. It is clear that such units are not formed in a month or two.

The critical thing here is not Ukraine’s receipt of weapons, but the ability to use them.”

Ukrainian fighters are being trained…

“Yes, but it’s not enough. It is necessary to ensure the coherence of the work of the combat unit, the ability to comprehensively apply equipment in the combat area. This is a complex process. One can learn how to shoot a Javelin or a Stinger in 3-4 days. It is quite simple.

Another thing is complex artillery or missile systems, or multiple launch rocket systems. This is a collective weapon that can only be used by trained, effectively trained units. This is also one of the elements that needs to be taken into account.”

How do you assess Russia’s tactics: gradually grind the enemy’s troops and equipment?

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“We have effective fire superiority, therefore for the time being the losses of the UAF are quite large. Each tactic can be countered with one’s own. But it will not work to retrain in a new way in two weeks or a couple of months. Including acting as part of a brigade and together with neighbouring units.”

There were reports that Ukraine could attack the Crimean Bridge, but it is difficult to destroy it. What do you think about it?

“I believe that Ukraine can resort to any aggressive actions, including attacking the Crimean Bridge. The question is our ability to fend off such attempts.

It is obvious that such a strike can be carried out with the help of high-precision missile weapons. The air defence and missile defence systems of the bridge are important here. The anti-sabotage component is being implemented, we have deployed long-range S-400 systems, and the bridge itself is covered by the TOR-M2 anti-aircraft missile systems, these are the last frontier air defence systems. Highly effective and with almost 100% guaranteed ability to defeat attacking targets.

In this regard, we proceed from the fact that the Russian leadership has analysed all possible threats and the defence is organised at the proper level. This will not allow Ukraine, even if it uses some means of destruction, to achieve success.”

Is the bridge also protected from HIMARS systems?

“We proceed from the fact that any weapon, regardless of its type and classification, is taken into account as a threat and counteraction measures have been taken. Whether Ukraine will use anything is unknown. When assessing the situation, we must proceed from the most unfavourable options in order to be ready to neutralise them if this becomes a reality.”

Aleksandr Svetlov

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