by Andrei at The Saker
Today, rather than comment on the latest developments on the ground, I want to step back and revisit a few basic, but I believe absolutely fundamental aspects of the Russian military operation in not only the Donbass, but the entire Ukraine. In fact, lets’ begin here:
What was the generally expected scope of operations?
Okay, there is A LOT of nonsense written about this, so I need to clarify a few basic points.
First, absolutely NOBODY had ANY idea of the actual plan until that plan was decided upon. Let me clarify what I mean. Putin, the Kremlin or the Russian General Staff do not have “a plan”, that is not how things work. The Russian GS in particular is tasked with preparing plans for pretty much ANY contingency. So, let’s imagine that for the case of the Ukraine, they have a choice of 12 possible plans. What then happened is this, after being fully briefed on the situation, Putin, as commander in chief, would select one of these plans and give the order to execute it. At which point a number of coded messages will be sent out to various subunits, units, and formations ordering a specific set of instructions to be opened. These instructions would give their first orders for all subunits, units, and formations involved.
What did the vast majority of analysts expect? Here are a few options:
- Russia would wait for the Ukies to attack the LDNR and then assist the LDNR in ways ranging from indirect, deniable, support to a full-scale Russian move into the LDNR.
- Opinions were split on how far the Russians would go. Personally, I believed that they would probably liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk region, free Mariupol, and then dig in. I was very wrong, to put it mildly.
That operation to “free the LDNR from constant attacks” never happened. Putin never gave that order. That is absolutely crucial to understand.
==>>Again, that order never came.<<==
Instead, and in his own words, Putin came to the conclusion that if the LDNR (possibly assisted by Russia) just moved to the administrative borders that would open a long front in which Western assistance would be poured in. He also knew that the Ukie forces in the Donbass were highly concentrated, heavily armed and “motivated”, if needed, by many hardcore Nazi groups inside them. In fact, about 60-75% of all Ukrainian forces were poised for a Blitzkrieg attack à la “Operation Storm” which NATO executed against the UN-protected areas (UNPAs) of Serbian civilians in Croatia. According to at least one well-informed analyst, the operation was planned for the 25th of February. If true, that means that Russia merely preempted a Ukrainian attack.
But what is really crucial is not this, what is crucial is the actual order Putin gave to the Russian armed forces. It was NOT “support the LDNR and push back the Ukie lines”. The order Putin gave was totally different:…Continue Reading