The road to victory
It’s been more than a month since the start of the special military operation to denazify Ukraine, so it only makes sense for me to give a review of the progress of the operation and discuss its future prospects. In short, the original plan to seize Kiev, Voznesensk, and Harkov with essentially nothing has failed. This is not to say the operation has been a complete failure, but it is to say the original plan was bad and its flaws will reverberate throughout the coming months. The first and most obvious error was the bizarre decision to assault Kiev from the East, via Konotop and Bobrovytsia, without seizing either Chernigov, Sumy, or much of anything in the northern part of the country. This proved to be a disastrous decision, with this front having the largest per capita losses of any of those the Russians opened. There was no point in attempting to reach Kiev from the East, and the assaults on Kiev’s Eastern suburbs proved to be a failure. Luckily, the Russians began to remedy this decision by entering Shostka on March 18 and encircling Chernigov about two weeks ago. The next few weeks will see a cleanup of this sector, including the capture of all the cities of the Desna valley, thus creating a second major Russian-occupied area in Ukraine during this operation (edit: they actually ended up withdrawing from this sector entirely. Do I understand this decision? Yes. Do I agree with it? No.).
The second major error was not making a determined and full assault on Harkov, instead only making limited probes. This proved to be a disastrous decision, with the city being in Ukrainian hands hampering Russian logistics throughout the area in the process.
The third major error was the undermanned and unviable salient into Voznesensk, which was repelled by the Ukrainians and remains the only major successful Ukrainian counteroffensive of the war.
The fourth major error was failing to destroy Ukraine’s airforce and air defenses on the first day (though this was largely remedied over the following weeks) and, more importantly, failure to strike Ukrainian barracks on the first day in the expectation of mass surrenders which never came.
The fifth major error was allowing Russia to have its foreign currency reserves stolen, which led to a cascade of economic policy errors which have been the cause of most of Russia’s 2022 recession (you think these companies pulled out of Russia for political reasons?).
The land bridge from Donetsk to Crimea proved to be the only front of the Russian offensive which can safely be said to have been fully successful. Mariupol will fall in days.
Map presented on March 25, about ten days out of date at the time.
Luckily, Russian military losses have been attenuated, especially following the near exclusive focus on Mariupol beginning on March 19. The absurd losses of the first two weeks of the special operation will not be repeated.
The road to victory from hereon is simple: double the force numbers, capture the entire North, then encircle the Ukrainan forces in Donbass by capturing Pavlohrad and Lozova. Then move forces into Poltava Oblast and capture that. Then take Harkov. Then move on to capturing Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro. Finally, move on to connect the East with Transdniester by taking Nikolaev. Then finish taking whatever’s left of the East. Following this, encircle Kiev and capture it. Then begin a move onto the West via the South, Kiev, and Belarus’. All this will take the better part of six months. Toward the end, capture Odessa and the Western cities.
On another note, it’s been simply remarkable how thoroughly Nazified Ukraine has become over the past decade. Ukrainians simply can’t help but post bizarre racial theories, comparison of the liberation of their cities to that of Nazi-controlled Hamburg and Warsaw, and post pictures of soldiers with sonnenrads, Hitler pics, and skull patches. Originally even I doubted the extent to which Putin implied Ukraine has been Nazified. No more.