How to Do a “Kiev Feint”
A real one, not a 5D "feint"
Do you want want to do a “Kiev feint”?
Do you want to tie down disproportionate enemy forces in Kiev and the north, while keeping your own focus elsewhere?
Here is how to do it:
- Have Lukashenko repeatedly talk about how Ukraine is up to something no good on the border and how all bets are currently off:
- Have Belarus carry out small-scale, but numerous, drills testing everything from bandit-hunting to mobilization call-ups:
- Send a small number of Russian troops, say 9000, to Belarus (3% of the mobilization wave):
- Before you send the 9000, announce that you are forming a joint “Russia-Belarus grouping of forces” to make sure everyone notices and infers as much as possible from this small deployment:
- To really ramp up the psyops introduce new cool tactical signs:
Well. This looks a bit ominous.
Video of military equipment on the move in Belarus (via @JayinKyiv). Note white triangle tactical marking. Similar was seen on some Russian military vehicles before Russia's full-scale invasion. See examples in thread below. pic.twitter.com/3Ng4znshJf
— Euan MacDonald (@Euan_MacDonald) October 16, 2022
As a special bonus you can also:
- Carry out cheap harassment attacks on Kiev with flying bomblets, keeping the air defences occupied and fixed on the capital:
Unsuccessful attempt to shoot down the kamikaze drone Shahed-136/'Geran-2' from MANPADS in #Kiev. The drone hits 'Ukrenergo' HQ,electricity transmission system operator in #Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/vLVzQkwRsM
— Military Advisor (@miladvisor) October 17, 2022
And this is how you do a Kiev feint. The secret to a feint is economy. Do things that the other side has to respond to, and encourage it to read more into your moves than is really there so that it may respond to that as well, but you yourself keep your investment small and do not allow your main focus to suffer.
And here is also how not to do a Kiev “feint”:
- Park your entire (!) Far Eastern Military District in Belarus to the north of Kiev. Park your entire (!) Central Military District to the northeast of Kiev on the main highway. And Park your entire premier 1st Guards Tank Army (of the Western District) to the east of Kiev opposite of Sumy. Formations that together represent 60% of Russia’s ground power.
- Move these units to the border with as much secrecy and obfuscation as humanly possible. For example move the equipment first, weeks and months ahead, and only then start shipping in the men as well, but say it’s just an exercise, nothing to see.
- Cross the border with all of said formations and race directly for Kiev along no fewer than 3 axes of advance (the entire invasion had 6). Have one half of the Far Eastern District (‘V’ sign) taking the Belarus shortcut to advance southward on Kiev beyond the Dnieper, while the other half tries the same southwardly advance on Kiev to the east of the river by squeezing past Chernigov. Meanwhile have the Central District (‘O’ sign) race along the big main highway from Russia. (1st Guards Tank was supposed to assist to its south but fell apart and didn’t move much past Sumy so that it is now derided as a favored “parade” formation that was “found out”.)
Do you spot the “tiny” difference between the current Kiev feint, and the February Kiev not-feint?
What is happening now is a textbook example of how to feint. What took place in February can only be a textbook example of how-not-to feint.
If your “feint” is tying down half of your forces, then it’s not a feint. (Which it wasn’t.)
The February strategy may have been a good one (or not), but what it wasn’t was a feint.
If a supposed Russian feint has no sense of economy but is taking up as many resources as all the other operations combined then what you are saying is that the Russians are the dumbest feinters in world history. I’m sorry but I have a slightly higher opinion of Putin-Shoigu than that.
In actuality, far from trying to draw and fix Ukrainian forces to the north, the Russians in the north (even more than elsewhere) went to extreme, suicidal lengths to try and bypass and avoid Ukrainian forces so as to preserve speed and then paid a costly price for that (their supply lines did). In other words, Ukrainian presence on Kiev approaches was entirely unwelcome to their plan.
The current development in Belarus is a feint, but it is also more than that. It is a quid pro quo.
Lukashenko wants security and deterrence. He is under NATO microscope and his iron curtain is being incessantly penetrated by electronic interception, hacking, opposition assets in Minsk, and possibly Ukrainian special forces recon. He is understandably nervous and pissed off.
Military readiness tests provide him with a measure of security and deterrence, and options. A contingent of Russian troops does the same. And now that they have mobilized, the Russians have the troops to give him.
That is what he gets out of it. Defense.
But what the Russians get out of it is offense. A feint.
They are moving troops to Belarus and Lukashenko is readiness-testing his military and making strong statements to frame both, so the Ukrainians have to react. And if they react by shifting even more resources than is warranted then even better.
Lukashenko feels like he’s deterring Kiev-Brussels-Warsaw-Washington and the Russians feel that for a small investment (of green reservists) they’re drawing some Ukrainian forces away from Donbass or Kherson. It’s a deterrence-feint partnership. A partnership in which Lukashenko’s raised rhetoric force-multiplies the effect of a small Russian deployment.
(It’s interesting how possibilities open up when you’re operating with 550K ground troops rather than 250K.)
Russian military channel gives their thoughts on the "regional grouping" of forces in Belarus: pic.twitter.com/G249sWQDoH
— Faytuks News Δ (@Faytuks) October 16, 2022
🇺🇦 Map of Ukrainian & Russian force dispositions during the start of the invasion.
Inspired by Wojciech Zalewski's atlas maps. pic.twitter.com/lmGLojR2W6
— Rafal R. (@rr0162) October 10, 2022
⚡️⚡️ In a video briefing, the Ministry of Defense of Belarus has announced its 'concerns' in connection with:
– Numerous provocations by Ukraine, including the use of small arms
– Increased violations by Ukraine of the airspace of Belarus
— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) October 17, 2022
— P.Style (@PStyle0ne1) October 10, 2022