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Winter is coming: the cold will help Putin, so Ukraine must act decisively now

On paper, Ukrainian David circles Russian Goliath.

At the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian garrison worshiped the "Holy". The Javelin is a U.S.-supplied, shoulder-fired, tank-destroying missile that has turned hundreds of Russian tanks into smoldering roadside wreckage.

At the current stage of the war, Ukraine has helped overcome Russia's numerical superiority by destroying ammunition depots far behind the front lines. America's HIMARS Shoot and Scoot precision rocket system. Force Russian guns to hide to avoid deadly GPS-guided artillery fire.

In more than five months of brutal fighting, the courageous Ukrainians repelled a Russian attempt to seize the capital Kyiv and remove President Volodymyr Zelensky, leaving the He fought against Russia, the supposed superpower, with casualties that shook the morale of the conscripted Russian army. The Russians are in a virtual stalemate in the East, paying hefty for every few meters they advance.

The war is now at a critical inflection point, with the front frozen in place and Ukraine's European allies dependent on Russian gas to keep it up, according to outside experts. Only a few months of mild weather before the pressure builds, their people do not freeze.

"I don't want to sound like a 'Game of Thrones' character, but yes, winter is coming," said Richard Moore, the UK's top spymaster at the Aspen Security Forum last month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin waves in Moscow, Russia.
Sputnik, Kremlin pool photo/AP

Military, economy, economy Zelensky needs a dramaticbattlefield victoryto gain political support and to show the United States and the world that war can be won. increase.

"For the Ukrainians themselves, it is important that they demonstrate their ability to fight back, and I think that will be very important to their continued high morale," Moore said. To be honest, I think this will be an important reminder to the rest of Europe of a possible winning campaign by the Ukrainians, because we are about to enter a rather severe winter.

Putin appears to be betting on a "winter strategy." As European countries face rising home heating costs, Western resolve will crumble and Ukraine will be forced to negotiate terms in Moscow.

But the Russian losses were staggering, with estimates ranging from his 15,000 to 40,000 killed in action. A senior military official told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. "Looking at the many people they lost, I can't believe they don't have to figure out how to replace them if they want to continue confronting the Ukrainians."[44][45] } That said, the Russian president has a high pain threshold. Especially since he feels no pain.

President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukraine Presidential Press Office

Vladimir Putin Steve Hall, CIA director of operations and now a CNN analyst, said, "Simply dispose of a poorly armed, poorly trained army for basically cannon fodder." It has a long Russian history of use.”

Ukrainian forces armed with highly accurate HIMARS rocket launchers fought Russian forces in the East Donbass region, effectively stranded them. While lethal, Zelensky did not hide his plans to liberate the southern provinces. Kherson, a city of 300,000 that fell to Russia early on.

This forced Russia to redeploy its already expanded forces from the east to strengthen its southern flank in preparation for the expected Ukrainian counterattack in the coming weeks. was done.

"If President Zelensky had his way, he could generate hundreds of thousands of new combat units and deploy them in the region to complement and complement the resistance forces that have been opposing the Russians." said the retired lieutenant general. Mark Hartling, former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, said: An inflection point in logistics. "

Ukraine has already cut the supply line between Kherson and Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, removing bridges and railways, and building a large army of the Russian 49th Army on the west bank of the Dnipro River. Keeping a large force isolated. river.

Ukraine invasion map as of 8/5
New York Post synthetic article

It's a race over who can produce a capable force the fastest," said retired Gen. David Petraeus. "Ukraine does not only have a democratic arsenal. It has a democratic arsenal." The Ministry of Defense announced this month an additional $550 million worth of ammunition for HIMARS and other artillery systems, bringing the total amount of US military aid since the start of the war. to nearly $9 billion.

"They now have multiple-launch rocket systems, vast amounts of additional heavy weapons, and other capabilities that make them very capable," said Petreius. rice field. "And they put them to great use, seizing ammunition depots, bunkers, the headquarters of the Russian army and forcing them away from the front lines, making it more difficult to support the Russian army. Front."

Ukrainian servicemen unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles
Efrem Lukatsky/AP
Forensic experts inspect bodies of dead Russian soldiers during an identification process in Kharkiv, east Ukraine.
Bernat Armangue/AP

The question is how far Ukraine can advance before the ground freezes and Russian forces plunge into winter. That's what it means.

"The coming months will see if the Ukrainians can actually use these capabilities to great effect and at least start rolling back the Russians in the south." said Petraeus. Advantages elsewhere where the Russians had to cut forces to redeploy their garrison to the south.

Reprinted with permission of the Washington Examiner