In an interview with UNIAN, military expert Colonel Petro Chernyk told whether the Russian Federation will be able to mobilize a million citizens for the war with Ukraine, how Ukrainians should prepare for it, as well as when the fighting will enter a new phase and what will contribute to this.
In a few days, the Ukrainians have already enjoyed the panic among the Russians, who were stunned by the announcement of “partial mobilization” in Russia. But, seriously: is this how Russia admits that it will lose the war?
Yes, Russia is suffering a devastating strategic defeat in Ukraine. The mobilization was announced just after they lost the crushing Kharkiv operation. And for them it is a disaster.
It is significant that Russia has officially announced mobilization in the country only for the third time in 110 years. The first mobilization was in 1914 on the eve of the First World War, the second mobilization was during the Second World War in 1941, and now – the third time. The Russian Federation is preparing for a serious confrontation with Ukraine. They realized that they are in a losing position and want to save this position.
Now they have received a serious psychological trauma, because the “second army of the world” is defeated by the army of Ukraine, from their point of view, the “twenty-second”. Putin cannot accept this, which is why the mobilization was announced. He is not going to give up.
That is, did the Kremlin realize that they suffered enormous losses in the war they started?
The Russians have currently lost more than 55,000 military personnel. This is without injuries. And this is only something that can be confirmed and counted. I think that it is possible to add about 10 thousand people who have not yet been counted. They have not had such losses since the Second World War. And if you compare these losses with time parameters, the situation of the Russians has no analogues in history.
First, they have huge losses not only among the rank and file, but also among the officers. They have a big problem with what is called “understanding the battlefield”. Why are so many officers and even generals of the Russian Federation dying? They have poor intelligence, insufficient technical means to understand the current situation. Because of this, senior leaders are forced to go to the front line to find out what is happening. They die there. And let them continue to die!
Secondly, the Russian army has a very centralized system. Junior commanders at the company or battalion level are afraid to make decisions. As a result, the military machine of the Russian Federation will suffer a catastrophic defeat.
Russian mass media write that Putin’s decree provides for the mobilization of not 300,000, but 1 million Russians. How do you rate these numbers? How much will they really be able to mobilize?
In fact, they will have problems with mobilization. For example, this year the Russians failed to fulfill the spring draft plan. They were going to collect 130,000 people, but they barely succeeded in mobilizing 90,000 people. That is, at least a quarter was not taken.
I am sure that the situation will be the same with the currently announced mobilization. There are doubts that the declared figure of 300,000 will be realized at least in 150. I assume that they will definitely be able to mobilize up to 100,000 people. This is about half of the contingent that the Russian Federation had at the beginning of the large-scale invasion.
However, such a replenishment of the Russian army is very unpleasant news for us.
100 thousand is two full-fledged army corps: as eight divisions, or as 20 brigades. That is, quite a lot.
But in reality, it does not matter how many people Russia throws to the slaughter in Ukraine. Will we kill everyone who comes to our land? Let’s kill! I completely agree with the words of Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhnyi that no matter how many of them come here, the Armed Forces will dispose of them.
But if you look at the cost we have to overcome the enemy in the last seven months, you must understand that it will not be easy for us either.
Will this mobilization help the Russians in the war? In the strategic conclusion, no, because there are no fundamental things in them. In particular, reasons for the army to be technological. In fact, all the best that they had has already been destroyed in Ukraine. Therefore, they will throw junk into battle. But it will still mean a lot of work for our military personnel. After all, it is not a tank or a gun that fights, but a man. Therefore, the fact that a difficult war awaits us must be taken very seriously. It should not be taken lightly.
Knowing how many mobilized Russians, as you said, will be thrown into Ukraine for slaughter, how can we prepare for this in order to save the lives of our soldiers as much as possible?
How to prepare? First, we must immediately abandon the euphoria that society had after the Kharkiv operation. There is no way to relax. On the contrary, it is necessary to exert all forces: mine the territories where the enemy can strike, build up the artillery missile potential, wait for aviation and beat the enemy mercilessly every day.
Every day more and more Western aid in the form of heavy weapons arrives in Ukraine. We are waiting for the beginning of the new financial year in the USA. The 100 million dollars allocated by the US Congress for the training of Ukrainian pilots will be implemented. I have no doubt that by late autumn or the beginning of winter we will have a very high-quality and powerful aviation. That is, we will fight quantity with quality.
Secondly, you should remember that winter is coming. We need to close the need for a huge number of small houses so that our boys can keep warm. And in general, to do everything possible so that the Ukrainian soldier is fully provided for. You need to concentrate on this.
But the military component should be left to our professionals at the General Staff. Still, the enemy should not know exactly how we will act.
In your opinion, how long will it take for the Russian Federation to send new conscripts to the front?
In my opinion, it will take about a month for the first mobilized Russians to appear at the front. That is, the closest party – after the Intercession (October 14).
But it is worth taking into account that we care about our soldier. Each of us has a body armor and a helmet, we try to equip our soldiers with the most modern devices: drones, thermal imagers, solar batteries, and the like. Russians do not think so. It is enough for them to take out a hundred people at some point just to destroy one of our fighters.
That is, we try to find civilized approaches in them, thinking that they will train a soldier, but they will not. The people who will be sent in the first wave will probably be taken in echelons to the border, lined up in foot columns and sent into battle. In my opinion, that’s exactly how it will be.
Should we expect that the Russians will try to advance, having selected a certain number of mobilized people planned by the Kremlin? In which directions is there such a danger?
They can try to attack in any direction, including the northern part of the border. They may try to strike again in Kyiv region and Sumy region, even from the territory of Belarus. But, in my opinion, they don’t have the quality forces to break through our defense.
It is difficult to say whether to expect from the Russians new tactical dimensions or correction of the logic of actions. At this moment, positional battles are going on almost along the entire front line. The enemy went on the defensive.
Most likely, all the forces gathered during the mobilization will be used by the Kremlin to deter our counteroffensive. The main thing that I can state with certainty: we seized the strategic initiative in the war. But this should not be confused with a strategic turning point.
Has he not arrived yet?
A strategic turning point is when the pace of the offensive is so rapid that it is possible to calculate how long it will take to liberate all territories. We have not yet reached the turning point. Yes, we won a brilliant, phenomenal battle. But the victory in the war is still far away.
In just a few weeks the rains will start, it will get cold, and in my opinion this phase of the war will subside. Fighting in such weather is incredibly difficult.
Explain how exactly the weather factor will affect the situation at the front?
First, the rains will soak the soil. Combat equipment is heavy: a tank weighs up to 40 tons, a heavy artillery installation “Msta-S” – 42 tons, an infantry fighting vehicle – within 12 tons. As the soil will be wet and viscous, this heavy machinery will not be able to move it. She will only be able to move on roads, which will make her a very convenient target for us. Remember the beginning of the war: the Russians moved only by road, which then helped to effectively crush their “steel tentacles”.
Therefore, it is most likely that with the onset of rains, everything will turn into artillery counter-battery duels. These art duels will be the main competition in the cold season. And in terms of the quality of artillery, we are ahead of them by an order of magnitude.
Secondly, the resources to support the soldier will begin to run out. Hungry, frostbitten Russian soldiers will begin to refuse to go into battle. In my opinion, this phenomenon can become massive. We also count on this. In the strategic outcome, there is no doubt that we will win.