According to British intelligence officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin had the top military commanders removed from their posts due to their “poor performances” during the Ukraine War.
According to the U.K. Ministry of Defense, there was a “culture of cover-ups” and “scapegoating” in Russia that could keep more Russian officers “distracted from efforts to avoid personal culpability.”
For his inability to capture Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, Lt. Gen. Serhiy Kishel, commander of Russia’s elite 1st Guards Tank Army has been suspended. After the April sinking of Russia’s flagship, Moskva in April, Vice Adm. Igor Osipov (Russia’s Black Sea Fleet commander) has likely been removed. According to the ministry, Gen. Valeriy Gerasimov (the Russian military’s chief-of-the-general staff) is likely to remain in his position, although it was not clear if he still has the trust of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It is quite telling that Kharkiv failed. Despite its proximity to Russia’s border and Russia’s military logistic hub at Belgorod, the Russian troops failed to capture or surround Ukraine’s second largest city. The Ukraine Army has been pushing the Russians out of the Kharkiv Region (region) almost completely over the past two weeks. Some locations even extended back to the border.
Russia abandoned the Battle for Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, at the end March. Multiple sources claim that soldiers who were withdrawn from the fighting in the region have been supporting the effort to seize the eastern Donbass. Seven weeks on, Russia still has not made any significant progress in Donbas.
This does not mean that everything is perfect for Ukraine.
This week, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy referred to the Donbas conditions as “hell” and stated that the conflict had “completely destroyed” the region.
After weeks of fighting and delays, the Russian forces seem to have nearly eliminated all resistance from Ukraine at Mariupol’s massive Azovstal facility. Russia has announced that it will turn the city into a resort, after it was destroyed along with the cash-cow iron plant.
The Black Sea is home to many resorts. It is not easy to find large steel plants. Azovstal employed over 12,000 people in one facility, and was a major earner of foreign currencies.
Russia was a much better player in the whole spoils-of-war thing.
Retired Russian Army Colonel Mikhail Khodaryonok, on Monday, warned that Russia’s situation “will get worse.”
He said that Russia’s international position is not better and that Russia is “full geopolitical isolate”. He warned Russia against engaging in conflict with Finland, who recently announced its intention to join NATO.
Khodaryonok stated, “Much though we would hate it to admit this. Virtually the whole world is against us.”
Khodaryonok stated that “information tranquilizers” should not be used because information can sometimes be spread about the moral or psychological breakdowns of Ukraine’s Armed Forces. These forces are allegedly at the brink of a crisis in morale. To put it mildly, all of this is false.
Khodaryonok reversed his course two days later, possibly after a gentle warning.
He said that sometimes equipment made in Western countries can malfunction or stop working during battles. This was Thursday’s statement on Russia’s state media, which is notoriously closely monitored. “Our arms that we supply to our buyers differ in their reliability. You get exactly what you see.
“Alex, I’ll take the ‘Things Nobody Said About Russian Weapons EVER’ book for $400.”
Khodaryonok continued by saying that the Russian Federation has yet to use even one-tenth its military-economic potential. Russia sent approximately 75% of its combat force to Ukraine, but lost about 25% to combat fatigue and maintenance failures.
Russia’s replacements will likely be less skilled and better-equipped due to the stress of war and the impact of sanctions.
What is the big picture?
Although they are less effective than the Russian armed forces, they can still cause a lot more death and destruction. However, logistical and manpower limitations prevent them from moving in a wide range of directions or going very far at once. These very real limitations are what led to the retreats of Kharkiv and Kyiv.
The Ukrainian armed forces have performed beyond expectations, especially in inflicting damage on the Russian military’s weakest parts. Mick Ryan, a retired Australian Army General, describes how Ukraine has used Russia’s “communications network, logistic supply routes and rear areas” to great effect.
However, Ukraine has yet not shown that it can remove Russian troops from areas where Moscow prefers to remain strong.
This is a recipe for long and hard work that does not benefit anyone and could lead to an even larger conflict.
It’s obvious that I keep repeating this, but it is time for the Biden administration not to yammer about regime change or press for humiliation of Russia. Instead, they should work hard towards a negotiated solution.
Three months into this stupid war, Washington and Moscow show no signs of wisdom or restraint.