Russia Invades Ukraine VII: Possible Aftermath

First, war update:

  • Mariupol fell after 2.5 months of truly insane holding out. Gosh dang. 
  • 1900 surrendered and there is a POW complication that I”m not going to get into
  • Ukraine has mostly booted Russia out of Kharkiv, though there is still some fighting and the Russians have not given it up entirely the way they did Kyiv/Sumy/etc, so there’s no obvious way to free up those troops for Ukraine
  • Russians trying really hard to cross the Siversky Donets river by pontoon, in order to encircle Ukraine’s core defense force in the Donbass (largely around a city called Severodonetsk and one called Lysychansk). It seems at least twice the Ukrainians knocked out entire BTGs trying to make that crossing, which is incredible.
  • Apparently Russia is generally short of pontoon type equipment
  • …but Russia has a breakout of sorts, actually right in the northern part of the original Donbass battle lines, through a town called Popansa. TONS of troops moving through there
  • It’s both a breakout…
  • …and a salient, which means significant risk for them. Somewhat exposed.
  • Ukrainians are pretty good at mobile defense
  • Just not at all clear if they are running in open space (and just taking time to stage properly) or if they are running against really significant resistance at this point
  • The original breakthrough at Izium seems to have stalled entirely
  • Russian troops also massed on the western side of the Siversky Donets (the northern part) to prevent the Ukrainian counter-attack there from threatening the supply lines and etc to Izium -- if that happened it’d be a total disaster
  • (Ukrainians had temporarily broken across the river but had to withdraw)
  • Russian tactics seem to be: just unload with artillery for days and days, then attempt an assault
  • Usually fail
  • But rinse, lather, repeat, and you get some breakthroughs
  • Russians seem to be planning to do this in the south, north of Kherson
  • Russia may be running out of drones
  • Will hurt recon
  • Domestic manufacturing capacity limited so they can’t build ‘em
  • Things are moving SLOW, and will continue to do so IF the Popansa breakthrough is contained

OK so how does this end?

Well here’s where Russia blew it big time.

The Ukrainians believe they can win.

Russians could have had a settlement where they get Donbass and likely even Crimea as concessions. Now the Ukrainians believe they can win, and want to win.

Ukrainians are also just full of morale, manpower, and money.

-Zelenskyy says 700k soldiers now fighting for Ukraine -- 3x those of Russia. Can definitely win a war of attrition

-Ukraine just got $40B promised from the US, and the G7 promised another $38B

Russia on the other hand is having trouble manufacturing new weapons, and is losing tons of money from sanctions and withdrawals -- 45% of its GDP was made up from sales and operations from the companies that left Russia (which doesn’t, I think, mean a 45% GDP contraction, but it means a lot). So there’s just an economic slowdown generally, and a lack of ability to manufacture advanced weapons.

Russia depends more and more on tube artillery, so it’s just blasting the Donbass to hell.

And for Russia?

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