Voyennoye Obozreniye, an online Moscow journal directed at the Russian military and military analysts, has published a list of seven targets Russian forces are likely to attack in the course of what it describes as “the probable future of the war for Novorossiya.”
Of course, which ones the Kremlin and Russian commanders will attack and in what order depends not only on Ukrainian resistance but also on the reaction of the West to Moscow’s moves.
But this list itself says something about the nature and scope of Vladimir Putin’s intentions in Ukraine.
While the fighting in eastern Ukraine is intense and while not everything is going well for Russian and pro-Moscow forces, the post suggests that it is nonetheless possible to speak about “major breakouts” as it describes these actions or attacks as they would certainly be perceived by the Ukrainian side.
The first target, the Voyennoye Obozreniye article says, is Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces have concentrated themselves and from which they must be dislodged so that the insurgents can continue to be supplied by Russia.
The second, it continues, is Volnovakha, again a site where Ukrainian forces are concentrated and one that represents a potential “place des armes” for cutting off the Azov group of forces from the main ones.
The third is Donetsk and especially the airport there which currently is in Ukrainian hands. “The enemy must be driven out of well-fortified places where it has already been sitting for two to three months,” the Moscow publication says.
The fourth target is Debaltsevo which must be taken by a flanking operation in order to destroy “the lion’s share” of Ukrainian artillery and thus defeat the Ukrainian forces in the region as a whole.
The fifth is the Lisichansk-Rubezhnoye-Severodonetsk area, a naturally defendable position which the Moscow journal says Ukrainian forces have been fortifying in the course of recent weeks and from which they must be driven.
The sixth is Luhansk and the areas around it to relieve pressure on the insurgents there. And the seventh and perhaps most important are efforts to prevent Ukraine from bringing reserves into play by mobilizing the population. The journal implied that military attacks must be coordinated with the requirements of information war in this regard.
In the immediate future, the publication says, there is going to be “a difficult struggle” for Novorossiya.” Indeed, it says, “what is taking place now can be compared with the historic battle near Moscow” during World War II. But just like with that battle, it says, pro-Russian forces can change the course of this war.
And Moscow’s Voyennoye Obozreniye concludes that the insurgents can look forward to a better future if they do. Those forces, it says, “need [only] resist for a couple more months, and then the forces of the [Ukrainian] junta will become” a much less serious problem for Novorossiya and Russia as well.