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Victory is nearby?
March 26, 2022
Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi, Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, held a briefing in Moscow on Friday, March 25. The detailed abstracts of his speech have been made publicly available and, for the first time, contain something resembling a description of the goals of the military campaign.
I bring to your attention the main points of this document.
By the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief since February 24 this year. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are conducting a special military operation.
Its primary purpose is to aid the people of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics...
At the same time, two options were possible.
The first was to limit ourselves to [operate in] the territory of only the DNR and LNR within the administrative boundaries of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which is enshrined in the constitutions of the republics. But then, we would be faced with constant feeding by the Ukrainian authorities of the grouping involved in the so-called combined forces operation.
Therefore, the second option was chosen, providing for action throughout the entire territory of Ukraine with measures for its demilitarization and denationalization.
The progress of the operation confirmed the correctness of this decision. It is being conducted strictly according to the plan approved by the General Staff.
Offensive actions by the armed forces of the Russian Federation are being carried out in various directions. As a result, Russian troops have blocked Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Mykolaiv. The Kherson region and most of the Zaporizhzhia region are under complete control.
The public and individual experts wonder what we are doing around the blockaded Ukrainian cities.
These actions are carried out to cause such damage to the military infrastructure, equipment, and personnel of the AFU, the results of which not only allow them to restrain their forces and prevent them from reinforcing their grouping in Donbas but also prevent them from doing so until the Russian army ultimately liberates the territories of the DNR and LNR.
Initially, we did not plan to assault them, to prevent destruction and minimize casualties among personnel and civilians.
And although we do not rule out such a possibility, as the individual groups complete their tasks and are being carried out successfully, our forces and resources will concentrate on the main thing—the complete liberation of Donbas.
In general, the main tasks of the first stage of the operation have been completed....
Units of the People’s Militia of the LNR have liberated 93% of the republic’s territory.
The DNR People’s Militia has taken control of 54% of the territory.
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1. The declared goal of the war for Russia is to capture the territory of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
2. Russian army offensives in the direction of Kherson-Mykolaiv, Chernihiv-Kyiv, Kharkiv-Sumy are diversionary operations. The purpose is to deprive the Ukrainian army of the opportunity to come to the aid of the grouping in Donbas.
3. The capture of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Mykolaiv was not planned (!) and is not yet the goal of the offensive, but this may change. Bombing and rocket attacks on these cities “are carried out to cause such damage to the military infrastructure, equipment, personnel” of the Ukrainian army.
1. The event was undoubtedly staged, and its primary purpose was to state that “everything is going according to the plan developed by the General Staff”. Moreover, it turned out that the first phase of the military operation had been completed, but its purpose remained unclear. Similarly, the purpose of the second phase, and whether there were third and further phases, also remained unclear.
2. If we believe General Rudskoi as far as the goals of the Russian aggression are concerned, it turns out that the Russian army has concentrated insufficient forces in the main direction of the offensive and is not yet able to achieve what it wants.
3. If we do NOT believe General Rudskoi, then his statement implies the impossibility of continuing the offensive in the direction of Kyiv or Mykolaiv-Odesa.
4. We can conclude that Putin has set the task to capture the entire territory of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions by May 9 [WWII Victory Day in Russia] at any cost, allowing him to declare victory over Ukraine on Victory Day.
5. None of what General Rudskoi said allows us to answer how Putin sees the end of the war if Ukraine does not agree to the ultimatums that are put forward to it during the negotiations.
6. The option of escalating hostilities on Russia’s part cannot be dismissed. Few experts believe that the Russian army has sufficient reserves to replace the group that has been on the offensive for more than a month, nor to launch a new wave of offensive. But everyone agrees that Russia has a vast potential to increase its missile attacks. Recent statements by Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, make one seriously consider the scenario of Russia using weapons of mass destruction.
The map presented by General Rudskoi shows additional “successes”— territories that the Russian General Staff declares captured.