I Knew There Had To Be A Name For It

…but I had no idea what that name might be. Now I know, thanks to William Schryver’s imetatronink blog.

The name is ‘Maskirovka’ and it describes what the Russian and allied forces did in Ukraine over recent weeks, culminating with the ease in which they were able to withdraw all those forces from around Kharkov, pretty much intact, to the safer and more defensible positions they now occupy as they saw the amassed forces of Ukraine come out from their bunkered hiding places (mostly in the Kharkov Metro system – that being perhaps the only safe place in the region such a force could be hidden) onto more open ground and into what has proved to be a killing ground for Russian air units, missiles and artillery. A massive success for the Russians and a total disaster for Ukraine.

And maskirovka is not a novel concept for Russia. They have used it successfully before, as Schryver relates (see below).

Ok, so Ukraine managed to take a lot of ground a week or so ago. Mostly vacant ground as it turned out. Ground they have failed so far to fully occupy, and ground which Russia didn’t really want at the moment anyway. I thought, when I read in late August that Russia was preparing for a new academic year this month for students in the Kharkov region, most of which territory they were not in possession of, that this declaration sounded either a little suspicious or was a brave statement of imminent intent. But that is what maskirovka is all about. Deception and disguise. And they pulled it off brilliantly.

The fact that Ukraine has not yet begun a third offensive further to the south (southwest of Donetsk) and for which they have clearly cobbled together forces in that area, signalling their intent, perhaps speaks louder than words as to how they are feeling about their situation now. With the Ukraine forces which participated in the Kharkov move now irretrievably discounted by at least 20% and much of the remainder hastily transferred to the south, they are unlikely to be able to take any real advantage of their ‘conquest’ and are possibly not yet ready for a repeat performance in their current setting.

I commend to you this fine article by William Schryver, which tells the story and suggests the next move may well be down to Russia.

‘Fall Like A Thunderbolt’ – imetatronink

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