The Second Stage of the Military Operation in Ukraine: Everything Is Going According to Plan /s

But no one knows the plan...

Editor’s note: Let’s forget for a moment about Western fantasists and weirdos. What are Russian military writers saying about the war themselves?

For the record, “everything is proceeding according to plan” is a meme in Russia. Outside of government circles it is only ever uttered ironically to ridicule the government.

There’s even an ironic 1980s punk song “Everything Is Going According to Plan”.

Source: Военное обозрение (Military Review)

Machine translated from Russian.

Three weeks have passed since Russia announced the second stage of the special operation, the main goal of which was the complete liberation of Donbass and control over southern Ukraine. All this time, heavy fighting continues in the Donbass with slow advances of the People’s Militia of the LDNR and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, but a radical change has not yet occurred. Moreover, the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv direction. Is everything really going according to plan, as Dmitry Peskov says, or is Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who recently announced that the special operation was dragging on, right?

The heaviest and most fierce battles are currently going on in the Donbass near Popasnaya, which recently almost completely came under the control of the national militia of the LNR and the Russian armed forces, and on the southern outskirts of Rubizhne, north of Severodonetsk. Rubizhnoye and Popasnaya have long been cities where stubborn and bloody battles took place with numerous casualties on both sides. The Ukrainian units were well prepared for the defense, having equipped firing positions in the basements and “fire bags”. Eyewitnesses of the events spoke about the latter in sufficient detail. For example, one of the participants in the battles for Rubizhne described the battles for a garage cooperative located in the eastern part of the city in this way:

They prepared their positions well. To the south of the positions is a lowland sheltering from artillery. Messages are displayed to it. At the ends of the streets leading north through the village there are concrete pillboxes. In the settlement quarters themselves, “fire bags” were organized in advance – sectors for cross-fire were cleared, machine-gun points were equipped in the basements, and sniper positions were prepared. And in the “bags” themselves, paths are carefully laid – fences and sheds are pierced. Fighters trying to conduct reconnaissance in battle, so as not to walk along the streets being shot through, go in yards. They don’t know who punched the passages – maybe ours. And along these passages they come under the crossfire of machine guns and snipers. Groups perished without even realizing that they were being fired upon.

The situation was greatly complicated by the lack of UAVs, digital closed communications and lack of medicines among the units that stormed Rubizhne. Modern combat should still not be conducted according to the principle “go, storm the positions in the forehead”, but in a completely different way. UAVs find enemy positions, and then artillery, which is corrected by drones, destroys these positions to zero, and only then the infantry gets down to business. Unfortunately, many units of the national militia of the LPR, with the exception of the “Ghost”, which for many years really prepared for war, were not provided with either drones, or communications, or even normal uniforms.

At the moment, Rubizhne and Popasnaya have almost completely come under the control of the People’s Militia of the LPR and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and only Lisichansk and Severodonetsk remain under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It is not yet clear in what time frame they will be able to be taken: if the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which are suffering heavy losses, decide to retreat from these settlements in the direction of Seversk, then in the near future the territory of the LPR will be completely liberated. If the Ukrainian military will defend themselves on the same principle as in Rubizhne and Popasna, then the battles for these settlements may last for several more weeks. In the DPR, the situation is much more complicated, because the enemy is still standing on the outskirts of Donetsk and is carrying out fierce shelling of the city. The attacks of the NM DPR on Avdeevka have not yet yielded any results.

The situation is even more complicated in the Kharkov direction, where the enemy attempted a counteroffensive in all directions at once. Heavy fighting is taking place near Izyum, where the Armed Forces of Ukraine are trying to impede the advance of Russian troops, and near Kharkov, the Ukrainian military managed to recapture several settlements. We are talking about the villages of Russkaya Lozovaya, Kutuzovka, Stary Saltov, Russian Tishki, Tsirkuny.

In the villages of Russkaya Lozovaya and Kutuzovka, there were units of the People’s Militia of the LDNR, formed mainly from mobilized residents of the republics. They had practically no heavy weapons, so they had no chance against a tank attack, which was accompanied by heavy artillery fire. From a number of settlements had to retreat.

In the southern direction, the operational situation as a whole remains unchanged, with the exception of the situation around Zmeiny Island. Apparently, Ukraine is making an attempt to lift the naval blockade and push the Black Sea Fleet towards the Crimea. In fact, now there is a war for control over the Black Sea, and Zmeiny Island plays an important role here. It is known that Ukrainian aviation attacked the island several times, and with the help of the Bayraktar UAV, the Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to hit a Russian boat. Subsequently, the Black Sea Fleet evacuated military personnel from the island, and Ukraine tried to land troops there. The attempt ended unsuccessfully: two Ukrainian Su-24 bombers and a Mi-24 helicopter were shot down.

In addition, in recent days, the Russian Aerospace Forces have been delivering powerful missile strikes on Odessa and Nikolaev, but whether this is preparation for an offensive in this direction is still unclear.

The forecast of the former field commander of the DPR militia Igor Strelkov that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will only be “squeezed out” from Donbass over many weeks, or even several months and only with heavy losses is fully justified so far. And taking into account the fact that the enemy is constantly introducing reserves into battle, which are created due to waves of mobilization, it is still unclear how the Russian Ministry of Defense will stop the introduction of new units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine into battle. Partial mobilization at the moment looks inevitable, but this is not a way out of the situation. The mobilized will still need to be trained and trained for a couple of months, so at first it will be possible to use them only to protect secondary sectors on the border with Russia.

The key problems of the current Russian army are the lack of reconnaissance equipment, i.e. UAVs, problems of interaction with artillery (fire adjustment is poorly adjusted), and a generally low level of command and control. At the moment, it is required to saturate the army of UAVs of all levels, without this it will be difficult to achieve a decisive turning point in the war. The fact that Rostec announced its intention to create miniature drones for the Russian military is, of course, wonderful, but the speed of decision-making is simply incredible.

In general, at the moment the army needs not so much the mobilization of human resources (although this too), but the mobilization of industry, the mass production of UAVs and communications equipment. [Or just quickly order these items from China, or would vested interests be against that?]

Editor’s note: You may also want to scroll down to the comment section of the original Russian article, and see which comments are getting upvoted (realist ones) and which downvoted (the butthurt ones).

So that’s really something. While the Russians are realistic about how the war is proceeding (they have to be, they can not afford illusions), Western weirdos without skin in the game are having butthurt hysteria meltdowns to defend a cringe fantasy where “Ukraine was defeated in the first 3 days”.

  1. Agarwal says

    I don’t really understand who the author is arguing against so fiercely and angrily in his more recent posts. The overwhelming majority of Western opinion thinks that Russia is fighting the war incompetently, and is in fact losing to Ukraine. From the author’s own article, well-informed Russians also do not think the war is “going according to plan.” Are all these articles to prove something to the infinitesimal and completely powerless sliver of westerners who support Russia? It’s like someone indignantly telling the ugly, dumb, sad kid in the back of the classroom, “no, you really are worthless. Just give up and drop whatever self-esteem you have.”

    If those few, very few people in the West who want to support Russia and think it is winning, why not give them some peace? They will find out soon enough if Russia really does lose.

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      I agree with you, though it’s not the author of this article but the “editor” who is once again engaging in this weird jihad against what is, as you say, a small number of people who are invested in a Russian victory and are sometimes resistant to acknowledging how the situation has developed.

      Overall, Marko Marjanovic has done a better job than just about anyone else in making available realistic coverage of the war. I’m somewhat sympathetic to him in that he has faced the usual “Russian troll” and similar allegations.

      But he does seem to be losing it with his obsession over “Western fantasists and Weirdos.”

      Both as “the editor” and commenting as “Field Empty,” he’s now recurrently engaging in angry rants at those who refuse to accept his views (which, as I say, I find on the whole persuasive.). Relatedly, I’m not sure why he decided not to use his name any more, but perhaps the larger media environment is just too toxic.

      In the end, it won’t really matter who was right or wrong. Events on the ground will eventually explode whatever delusions or mistaken analyses exist now.

      I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by Marko’s behavior, because I thought his coverage of COVID was pretty obsessive and overly vituperative as well. I actually stopped coming here for a year while he was going on non-stop with his COVID rants.

      So, as with any website, you get what you get. It’s his site, and either you accept his tone or not. But the information he provides on the Ukraine situation still makes it worthwhile for me.

    2. Pink Unicorne says

      There is a significant but very loud-mouthed minority (as you pointed out correctly) in the West. Here I’m just using the US as an example:
      (1) Tankies, aka devotees to the communist ideology who still see Russia as some kind of heir to the USSR, mostly white babyboomer in their 60s who should, if I have a say in it, be Antifa-punched.
      (2) Tucker Carlson & Co, who just dissent from mainstream view for no reason. If Biden says get vaxxed, they say don’t. If Biden says Ukraine is turning the tide, they say Russia stronk. If Biden says don’t poop in your cereal, they say human feces act as natural medicine for their ED and ADD.
      (3) The Old Right, i.e. Pat Buchanan & Co. Their main obsession is that Russia is white (only in their imagination), has a 140 million population + 6000 nukes, therefore the not-so-white (and they are getting increasingly distraught by this fact) the US who is woke and weak and “decadent” and only has 5999 nukes should stay away and try to increase the white birth rate, send everybody (excluding the Jews this time) else to the gas chambers, and force-convert the rest to their favourite denomination (they haven’t settled on one, I read maybe the Southern Baptist, but recently Pentecostalism really has its own thing going recently), regain its imagined masculinity, widen the Rio Grande to maybe 100 miles wide, and then try to destroy China only.

  2. Agarwal says

    Is his analysis so original? There are a cornucopia of Western analysts who think Russia is losing for similar reasons to those stated on this website. This website’s take on Snake Island recently seems to have been quite wrong. I agree with Marco’s broad position, that Russia has severely underperformed its own recent military reputation, but that position is the opposite of unique. It is instead the dominant opinion shared by 99.9% of analysts writing in the English language. Is Marco so angrily battling the (completely marginal, powerless and reviled) 0.1%? Why? What for?

    Being angry at Putin will not make Putin listen. Neither Putin nor anyone else within the Russian leadership reads this site, and anyway as the author stated himself, the doomer position is well represented within Russia and Russian-language sources. This site is like watching someone really angry at his girlfriend, and taking out his anger by kicking his dog.

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      Agarwal, I assume your most recent post was meant as a reply to mine above.

      Most western analysis (e.g., MSM) is too entwined with propagandistic intent to be useful even if some of its conclusions do overlap with some of the views at Anti-Empire.

      This site, unlike the general run of our US media, does not constantly try to convince me of the essential evil of Putin and Russia. And I agree with Marko’s implicit view that Russians who support Putin’s intent, yet are clear-eyed about the developing situation, are the best analysts and critics of the “special military operation.” I can at least believe here that truth is being sought, if not, in every case, actually found.

      Before the operation kicked off, Marko wrote a piece talking about how Russians in no way wanted to saddle themselves with responsibility for the decrepit Ukrainian state but might feel the need to go in anyway. I remember thinking that that was refreshingly unorthodox analysis.

      Yes, I guess the Snake Island may be a Russian success rather than the drone-fueled disaster the article at this site depicted it as, though I’m not yet confident in sorting out all the conflicting claims. (Ironic as there was already a precedent for a major narrative-change in the original Snake Island story two months or so ago.) But that doesn’t loom too large for me in the big picture. I’m not looking for perfection.

      As I indicated above, I agree with you on the anger issue. It takes all kinds of personalities to make up the world, I guess.

      1. Pink Unicorne says

        I guess the greatest irony here is that for certain dumb Americans on the right, Russia has somehow become what the USSR was to the Tankies of 1960s, i.e. an object to project their inner dissent against Western authorities. Pentagon has been keeping mum about what the war is really like, and they want to tear Pentagon (really the US government) down by “proving” Russia is “winning” by looking at “alternate” sources, and just to create their own narratives. Do you think it was any different from the original Cold War? Do you think the portrayal of the USSR back then was entirely accurate in Western MSM? Do you think the Soviets were really just immoral, diabolical Others? But do you also not think the collective West really had an upper hand back then just as they do now? Then how come we did not hear anyone, especially NOT from the GOP base back then, letting loose of their sinkholes and spewing crazy pro-USSR lines just because MSM demonized USSR too much? Where is that cooperation NOW?

    2. ken says

      The problem is,,, Russia’s handling of the ‘war’ differs greatly with what most accept as “Western normal”.Western normal is, destroy it all,,, communication, electricity, transportation and kill as many as possible. Iraq, Syria, Libya Afghanistan are no longer functioning nations in the normal sense. The fact that Russia has left all that intact boggles peoples minds. Does anyone really think Russia could not knock out power and communication easily if they wanted to. My God,,, People are still using their cell phones. Their refrigerators are still working. They are being brought food and other supplies. If Russia can bomb warehouses of military equipment in Odessa than bombing a generating plant would not be a problem for them…. right?
      No one knows what the plan is except for Putin and his generals. We will just have to wait until the fat lady sings. Right now it appears Russia is securing the Donbass republics historical borders. We’ll have to wait until that is done…..

  3. Dianthus says

    The fact is, it is not about war! This war is an BS-distraction for what is really going on and what the really want. The core is that Putin is just playing his role. If he knows it or not I leave in the middle but the Elite, Cabal or how do you want to call them, wants the West like the East and the East like the West bc those Easter-lings are conditioned like they want us all and so they need to get the West on their knees and what is better to pull a war-card out of their sleeves (again) to get energy and food-crises soon…

    This are the facts and the reality that we need to address: (from an hour or wo with Maajid bc it is a gem)

    Nukes are prehistoric. A must see what they really have and nukes are a joke against this tech

    a must listen…

    Good articles to read that does not fall in this war-trap:

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