“Russia could be caught in its own game north of Asia”

In Donbass, the success of the Luhansk region is evident in recent hours. The Ukrainian security forces have been fighting for several days in the face of intense Russian aggression. President Zhelensky said Russian forces had turned Donbass into hell. Interview with Julian Theron, Editor of Conflict in the Science Bow and International Security.

RFI: In Donbass, if the city of Siverodonetsk falls, will it be the beginning of Russia’s victory?

Julian Theron : Not really, because in reality it would be a bad development because this city has long been the target of Russian motivation, which is the point of Ukrainian opposition to Russian progress. But basically, it is not the fall of this region that will completely change the situation in eastern Ukraine.

Why are the twin cities of Zhivrodonetsk and Lyczynsk at the center of the Donbass so important? ?

They are at the very tip of the territory occupied by the Ukrainians, forming a kind of triangle that Russia is trying to close. She tries to close it with several triangles somehow. First, she tried to close a large triangle between Kharkiv and Zaporizhia. He tries to encircle areas where there are Ukrainians, whom he submits, which is a very classic technique that dates back to Soviet times. In fact this breakthrough is the front line battle at the tip of the triangle. So this is an important dimension, but that does not mean that Ukraine will lose the war even if the war is difficult.

What are the weak points of the Ukrainians in this region?

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The first weak point is considered to be the military mass. In fact, although the Ukrainians use tactics and tactics to avoid asymmetry, there is in fact an asymmetry between the numbers, especially in terms of the battalions involved in the Donbass, between the Ukrainians and the Russian soldiers.

The Russians are constantly attacking from behind, so the Ukrainians also have logistical questions. There is also the question of weapons, Westerners give a lot of them, and give heavy weapons. But it is still necessary to expedite them and quickly train the Ukrainians by manipulating certain weapons systems. So these are all huge issues.

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It may be noted, however, that many regional security battalions, military-trained civilians, have now begun to become more experienced and are engaged on the front lines. This was especially the case in Kharkiv, which is also in the East, which means that the entire population is immersed in the heart of the war, which is still a guarantee of victory. Of course there is current progress, but it does not generally predict the outcome of the fight.

And what about the Russians?

They are still the same as they were in the beginning. It was once thought that General Dornikov’s appointment would change the situation by integrating the front and improving the so-called “command and control”, that is, to control and command troops or create a number. More technical systems.

In fact, we realize that it is not working well, the troops are not yet motivated, they are still on fire, and especially in this region. Dozens of Russian tanks have been hit by artillery, so they are subject to the technical status of Western armaments systems. Thus, we can see that many elements of the weaknesses of the Russian military that we noticed at the beginning of the conflict still exist today.

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The Russian Defense Minister said that separatist forces and forces from Moscow had taken control of the whole of Luhansk, one of the two regions of Donbass. If Zhivrodonetsk falls, will this claim come true?

The most difficult part for the Russians to make progress compared to the Donets was Luhansk, and they are trying to do that by landing in Gramadorsk. In fact, they have not yet received the zone. But this will effectively allow Moscow to explain to the Russian people that it has “protected” Donbass so they can stop the conflict.

In fact, the Russian army is in trouble near Kharkiv and in the south, near Gershon and Zaporizhia. As they retreat, this will put an end to the difficulties the Russians have in going further than the Siverodonetsk.

Between Kramatorsk and the twin cities, there are a lot of ghost towns. If Siverodonetsk falls, can the rest fall very quickly?

It depends. There may be restorations. It is a question of progress. And even in the open country, it is not certain that progress in the use of artillery and drones will be so easy. So it does not need to be a boulevard to take over the whole of eastern Ukraine.

Where is Russia’s progress in the Kharkiv region a little farther north? Are there any restrictions on the Russians?

The advance of Ukrainian troops in the north threatens to push Russia south towards Kharkiv because the Ukrainians are in a position to withdraw them from the rear of the ISIS. You have to be careful, in fact kyiv, you should not expect much from the already highly mobilized Ukrainian troops.

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But effectively, they take it upside down and Izioum are in a position to threaten the descent to the south, which is to say the same siege technique of the Russians. This is not surprising since senior Ukrainian officers learned the same techniques in the days of the Red Army. So we can see that Russia can be caught in its own game north of Asia.

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