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It will be difficult for Ukraine to regain its territories: Americans praise the Russian General Surovikin and make a forecast for the winter campaign

General Sergei Surovikin was placed at the head of the special operation, who, according to American experts, is more effective in conducting complex military operations.  Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS

General Sergei Surovikin was placed at the head of the special operation, who, according to American experts, is more effective in conducting complex military operations. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS

The influential American newspaper The New York Times made a forecast for a winter military campaign in Ukraine. Naturally, by interviewing experts associated with the army, intelligence agencies and the US government. Some calculations of this forecast surprise with their cynicism, but they are undoubtedly worth reading. To understand how they see the course of the Ukrainian conflict in the West and what they are up to next.

Here are quotes from the New York Times.

STATE WINTER

The conflict in Ukraine will soon enter its second year. And its tide is likely to change in the coming months as Russia improves its defenses and pushes more soldiers to the front lines, making it harder for Ukraine to reclaim vast swaths of territory it has lost, U.S. government sources say.

This makes a stalemate winter battle scenario most likely – neither side will be able to capture much land despite fierce fighting.

Kyiv PAYS IN THOUSANDS OF KILLED

Over the past 6 months, Ukrainian forces have reclaimed a piece of land near Kharkiv and have taken control of Kherson, a major southern city. But this had to be paid dearly: thousands of killed Ukrainian soldiers and a huge amount of ammunition. Ukraine produced much more shells in a week than the United States could produce in a month!

IT WILL NOT BE REACHABLE TO CRIMEA

Senior Ukrainian officials are warning of the possibility of a major Russian offensive. But American experts say that Russia does not yet have forces ready for a serious offensive.

At the same time, the Ukrainian political and military leadership claims that they themselves are planning an offensive against Russia. They believe that they need to succeed in order to restore critical territories. And their main focus will be on the south.

However, US sources believe that Ukraine will most likely not be able to reach Crimea with its army and will instead rely on more covert operations – like the attack on the bridge across the Kerch Strait.

UKRAINE IS FIGHTING ON THE INSTRUCTIONS OF US INTELLIGENCE

Ukraine has relied in recent months on US intelligence reports showing where the Russian military is weakest. The offensive near Kharkov in September was successful because the Ukrainians were faced with empty territories, unprepared by Russian forces for defense.

The U.S. military says it continues to look for weak spots in Russian positions that might not deter a Ukrainian offensive.

However, Kyiv’s ability to deliver effective strikes against Russian bases and supply routes is not enough to drive Moscow’s troops out of the parts of the country where they are now concentrated.

Any small breakthroughs by Ukrainian forces in the coming months are unlikely to lead to the defeat of the Russian army, US officials say.

MOSCOW LEARNED THE LESSONS

US officials say there is evidence that Moscow is beginning to learn from its mistakes. General Sergei Surovikin was placed at the head of the special operation, who, according to American experts, is more effective in conducting complex military operations.

Ukrainian military officials say Moscow has launched more intense airstrikes against their defensive lines in recent weeks, resulting in more casualties among Ukrainians.

And as unsuccessful as the initial Russian partial mobilization may seem from the outside, 300,000 reservists are now on the defensive lines. And by spring, they will only get stronger, US officials said.

Russian troops are digging in, building trenches, and they are abandoning areas that require too many troops to hold, moving instead to safer positions.

GENERAL SUROVIKIN IMPROVED DEFENSE AND DISCIPLINE

The withdrawal from Kherson, according to US officials, is a key example of how Russia has learned its lessons. General Surovikin insisted on its necessity. The withdrawal allowed Russian forces to use the Dnieper River for defense.

According to these American officials, General Surovikin was able to improve the defense and discipline the Russian troops. And their current offensive in Bakhmut is also aimed at getting into better positions to defend against Ukrainian attacks.

“He’s fortifying his position and trying to build a network of trenches and a smarter set of checkpoints,” says Dara Massicot, senior scientist at RAND Corporation.

General Surovikin has also experimented with new tactics for the Russian air force, including how they fire missiles at Ukraine to try and confuse its air defenses.

COMPETITION OF THE MIC RUSSIA AND THE WEST

The conflict is increasingly dependent on ammunition and stocks of equipment – two basic needs that can decide the course of the conflict on both sides.

“This is increasingly becoming a rivalry between the Western industrial base and the Russian one,” said Seth J. Jones, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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