What Will Be the Russo-Ukraine War Over the Next Half Year

August 25, 2022
What are the upcoming highlights and prospects for the Russo-Ukraine war over the next half year?

UkraineWorld spoke to Oleh Zhdanov, military expert and colonel in the reserves of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Key points -- in our brief, #UkraineWorldAnalysis:

1. On probable scenario of the deployment of military operations by the end of the current year:

  • Ukraine has overcome the worst scenario, as neither the full occupation of Ukraine nor the occupation of Kyiv took place. 
  • To date, we are quite successfully conducting a defensive operation to prevent Russian troops from advancing further into Ukrainian territory. 
  • As for the forecast for the next six months, it depends on our partners. All foreign military aid gets sent to the frontline: changes in the course of the fighting will depend on the supply of foreign arms. If we are provided with sufficient weapons, then we will have the forces and means to carry out  counteroffensives on multiple fronts.
  • It is still too early to talk now about an ongoing counterattack.

2. On Lend-Lease, assistance, and time of delivery:

  • Lend-Lease is expected to begin working from October,1. 
  • The list of weapons to be provided is agreed between the companies producing arms and the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This work has been carried out since the signing of the bill on the organization of armaments within the framework of the military Lend-Lease program.
  • Lend-Lease aid could begin arriving as soon as the start of the fiscal year, when, in accordance with the agreed plan, our funds will be disbursed for the purchase of arms from manufacturers. This is set to happen in the first week of October. 
  • If the situation develops as set forth by our agreements under guarantees, then we can start receiving weapons from September 1. It depends on Ukraine's agreements with the United States and the guarantees of the US government to the companies that will supply these weapons.

3. On the counteroffensive in the South

  • We can already see that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is in no hurry to dive into a counteroffensive on the right bank of the Dnipro River. In this expert`s opinion, that is the correct decision, because we blocked a very large grouping of Russian troops on the right bank and now we can systematically destroy them with the fewest losses for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. 
  • In regard to other fronts and the counteroffensive in general, it depends on the amount of weapons that are supplied to us. Specifically the quantity. We receive 3, 5, 10 units of the listed weapons, meanwhile we need 100, 200, 300 units. That's the problem. 
  • If these volumes don't arrive, then we will continue defensive operations with small-scale counteroffensive actions in separate sections of the fronts.

4. On situation in Pisky, Avdiyivka, and Bakhmut

  • Pisky is de facto under the control of Russia, at least ⅔ of it, and combat is ongoing in the settlement itself. The situation remains difficult and not fully determined. 
  • As for Avdiyivka and Bakhmut, according to the morning summary of the General Staff, the Ukrainian Army gave a good rebuff to the Russian troops and forced them back to their starting positions. 
  • We retain complete control over Avdiyivka, and while Russian troops have been trying  to bypass it, their attempts have failed. Bakhmut is also completely under our control.

5. On Crimea and strikes on military facilities

  • Ukraine has not officially recognized its involvement in the attacks on military facilities in Crimea, but these precedents created the effect of an "exploded bomb" and have won us a political victory. We haven't done anything serious in Crimea yet, but we have already won, because Russia has proven unable to defend these occupied territories, which it had been holding for 8 years. 
  • The fact that Russia has remained silent, has not responded to these explosions and, to the contrary, tried to dismiss them as  "fire safety" problems indicates that Russia is not capable of keeping Crimea under its control. 
  • The panic that began in Crimea can become a trigger for the spread of panic throughout the territory of the Russian Federation as those who have fled share that the special operation is actually a war with huge explosions, casualties, losses, and destruction.

6. On the next tactics Russia will resort to: freezing the conflict or attempting to advance deeper?

  • There is no question of Russia advancing in depth. We can state that the offensive potential of the Russian army is decreasing day by day. 
  • RF is trying to freeze this conflict, and the arrival of Recep Erdogan and Antonio Guterres in Lviv with a negotiation proposal (to which our President replied that the only condition for negotiations is the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine within the borders of 1991) provides evidence. This is an essential and principled position of Ukraine. 
  • Russia will now try to show its readiness for negotiations through lobbyists and paid media articles. That is the reason why they are now using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to blackmail the collective West. 
  • Should Russia force negotiations, their presumptive condition will be a ceasefire initially for the duration of the negotiations, but as we know, nothing is so permanent as that which is "temporary." The Kremlin understands that it can not manage this war - the Russian army has reached its maximum.

7. On the peculiarities of Ukrainian war strategy and its voice in 21 century

  • The Russian Federation has remained in the 20th century. It has never crossed the technological gap between the 20th and 21st centuries. This is why they will be defeated in this war. 
  • Ukraine has crossed this border into 21st century warfare, which is why we are successful.  It is exactly because we have fought a fourth generation war against a third generation opponent that this military campaign is remarkable and will go down in the textbooks of military history.

Oleh Zhdanov, Military expert

This material was prepared with financial support from the International Renaissance Foundation.