Yesterday I spoke of various non-specific rumours surrounding the Russian Special Operation in Ukraine. Rumours that point to the need for something to happen to settle matters before winter sets in there. I pointed to a couple of background activities which specify Russia’s overall commitments and designs for the near future, but these were/are not the subject of the mentioned rumours. But other steps in the past 24 hours have given some potential substance to those rumours. There is an obvious need for some sort of decisive action to break the seeming deadlock of slow but sure Russian advances to recover Russian influenced territory in the south and east of Ukraine. That progress has been steady, but slow and carefully planned for minimum casualties to the Russian allies, the civilian population of the conflict areas and, to the extent possible, the local infrastructure. Even that progress has, over the past two days, seemed to have been halted. I suspect this is planned rather than forced, as the buildup to whatever comes next is awaited.
Firstly, to the rumours (and I hope to supply some links further below), which have centred around the formation of a considerable Russian air and airborne force being built somewhere around the edges of the contested territory. Today, that has been sized (by Ukrainian military authorities) at some 400 fixed-wing aircraft and 350 helicopters with the associated breakdown numbers of 200 transport and 150 attack helicopters. Whatever truth there may be in these rumours will have to wait to be determined, but this is the sort of plan one could expect to see – perhaps to break out another front, taking advantage of Russian air superiority over Ukraine, while holding in place the bulk of Ukraine’s remaining ground forces along the 1800 Km long front line.
Some substance has been given to this story by the Russian attacks yesterday on any remaining Ukraine air assets at at least two points away from front-line areas, which has presumably reduced their effectiveness as a disruptive force to zero, while also signalling that the Russian attack must be fairly imminent.
These rumours began a few days ago, promoted by the Defence Politics Asia online site, which pointed to the buildup taking place to the north of Ukraine. However, that seems an unlikely spot for such an attack to be launched. Nothing much to be gained there for Russia.
Today, also the Military Summary Channel has entered the rumour mill (albeit nothing has been said from the Russian side to this point so far – I think). The Military Summary Channel has advanced the idea that the best place for Russia to land an airborne incursion (Marines/Paratroopers) would be the gap between Transdniestria and Mykolaev, and just to the north of Odessa. This would give the new force both support from Transdniestria and a back-out route if needed. It would also provide opportunity for Russian naval units to intervene and a source of potential reinforcement by sea. Russian airborne units have their own integrated and very effective ‘air-droppable’ tanks and artillery units. What a great way to give them full ‘real life’ battle experience.
If this is what is planned, then it seems a good plan to me. I guess we will soon know.
Today’s Military Summary Channel report – Ukraine. Military Summary And Analysis 25.08.2022
Of course, rumours are nothing more than rumours – until they become fact. But it is a very interesting idea, isn’t it? And something of the sort is very necessary right now.