Ukraine Observations 27 April, 2022: Escalation

We are reaching a point in the Ukraine-Russia Conflict now where the threat of escalation is becoming alarmingly credible. The failure of the Russian offensive in the north has shifted the battlefield to the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. A new Russian offensive is underway there, but its unclear how successful it will be in the face of the heavy casualties and equipment losses Russian forces have suffered thus far. On the flip side, Ukraine is enjoying plentiful resupply of material and weapons from the United States and her NATO allies in Europe. Russian defeats on the battlefield have emboldened many NATO member-states to give weapons and ammunition until it hurts, so to speak. Self-propelled artillery, main battle tanks and SPAAGs are taking the place of Javelins and Starstreaks.

Russia is growing alarmed by the increased activity and the expanding resupply operations. NATO efforts are ramping up as Russia feels the bite from economic sanctions at home and the failure of Russia’s conventional forces to secure victory in the early days of the war have helped to create a stalemate on the battlefield. From the Western perspective, now seems to be the perfect time to increase pressure on Russia. In Moscow, however, the situation looks very different. How Vladimir Putin reads the situation now is a crucial factor. The Ukraine adventure has gone sour in every way. The West has declared an economic war against Russia and now NATO members are pouring weapons and other war material into Ukraine. Those weapons will soon be put to use against Russian forces on the battlefield and transforming the conflict into a proxy war.

This week, Russian warnings to the West have increased in number and tenor. Amid Western calls to decrease the aggressive rhetoric, Vladimir Putin raised the ante today. He pledged ‘lightning’ fast strikes against any nation ‘interfering’ with Russia’s war in Ukraine. “If anyone ventures to intervene from the outside and [pose] unacceptable threats of a strategic nature to Russia, they should know that our counter-retaliatory strikes will take place with lightning speed,” he said.

Hyperbole? Perhaps. But in the wake of Western government officials publicly proclaiming a desire to see Russia weakened and unable to undertake a military operation like this again in the future, one must wonder how Putin will regard these comments in the coming days and weeks. The greatest concern is how he will respond if he reaches the point where he considers NATO resupply in Ukraine to be an existential threat to Russia.

Conventional Russian missile or air attacks on military targets in Poland, for example, will assuredly bring on a Western response. Where does it go from there? Nowhere good, that’s for sure. We’re not at that point yet. However, right now the threat of escalation is the very real elephant in the room.

Alright, that’s enough real world. Back to 1987. North Atlantic/Norwegian Sea and the return of the Vampires tomorrow night or Friday morning. Hope everyone’s doing well! –Mike

12 Replies to “Ukraine Observations 27 April, 2022: Escalation”

  1. Not as worried about direct escalation as you make out to be. Russia talks like this every time a NATO guy sneezes.

    As for the war itself, we’re talking “are they going to get 90 or 60% of the two rebel oblasts?” The actual attempt to take over and turn Ukraine has loooooooong since been lost, and was never viable to begin with.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m just worried because Putin is starting to feel like he’s trapped in a corner. God knows where that could lead.
      Aside from that, this war is going to present one hell of a case study

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wish we could have discussed some of this stuff. Many of my thoughts on this mirror your own (though likely for different reasons) and as NATO/others ramp up support for Ukraine and the Russian Bear shows his poor bite , the prospect of actually LOSING- being pushed out really begins to be possible.

    Heck, the Ukrainians are starting to strike at stuff on the RUSSIAN side of the border… which is hard for the Russians to wave away…. Moskva and Belograd(?) were only the start of the snowball gaining momentum….

    Granted, the Russian Army is still dangerous but oh so not as fearsome as thought a year ago, hell four months ago, by so many experts. As the lack of maintenance and training show, the Bear’s teeth are rotten- and I am not so sure we’ve seen the last of the rot. IMO, there is still far more epic failures to come from them… for many reasons discussed at one point or another.

    Desperate men do desperate things… and any use of WMD is a direct result of desperation. You are writing about it in your story… and as others (as well as us) have said, there is some crazy similarities between the Real and the Fiction here… Who knew how much the real would be more intense than the fiction? I mean, I can’t think of anyone who really said they would be this ill-prepared for a PLANNED invasion?

    And with how poorly their equipment is doing, I am fairly sure the PLA is wondering if they have the wrong sort of equipment now… as like 75% of it is based on Russian design.
    I mean, the PLA likely has better maintenance which is about a third to two-fifths of the Russian problems (imo)… but still- even in optimal environments over there, the gear isn’t performing all that well.

    *shrug*

    Whenever this ends, however this ends… Russian personnel and gear performance is going to be analyzed to death…

    Side note- Moldova? Really? They have not even come close to taking Ukraine and they be talking about going for Moldova? That is some serious delusions…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Moldova, yep. Looks like its starting to come to a head. In fact, I need to ask you about a few things you mentioned about the area and events there. I’m back home tomorrow so I’ll shoot a text or email

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Very interesting read… and I find it fairly clear on many of its thoughts going forward. Especially the Moldova piece. As other events have happened there since this was written, the document is of even more interest.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not trying to be alarmist or a fearmonger (I am not a Russian ‘bot, I promise!) but at this point, with the President saying the terms “Lend-Lease” with regard to more and more weapon systems going to Ukraine…we are effectively in a soft Third World War.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. Honestly, I think the President is using some of those borrowed terms from 1940-41 to pump up the volume on supporting Ukraine. Partly for his own political reasons because it looks like the midterms are going to be a blood bath

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The real world seems worryingly close to your story line. My take on things is that an escalation is more likely as the ground war increasingly slips away from Russia. Nuclear or chemical? My best guess is chemical strikes against Ukrainian combat formations, easier to disavow than a nuclear strike as the world knows Ukraine has no nuclear arsenal.

    If Russia goes for the nuclear option I’d expect strikes against transport hubs in the west of Ukraine. That’s for several reasons, shorter flight time so less reaction time, shuts down NATO supply lines, sends the message that with no more effort the strikes could have flown just a few more clicks to hit NATO targets, and Putin can argue the war is still restricted to Ukraine.

    Worrying times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about the escalation. Chemical weapons against combat formations are the best option.
      As for nuclear options, I think if it comes to that the first salvo will be very low yield…maybe even sub-kiloton range weapons used against NATO supply depots in Poland that are supplying Ukraine.

      Definitely worrying times, David.

      Like

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