The war in Ukraine has been going on for nine months now and there is no end in sight. Most observers assume that fighting will continue in 2023. The Australian ex-general and military expert Mick Ryan has now commented on Twitter what a possible strategy for both warring parties next year could look like.
He sees these five points as likely on the Russian side:
The first element of Russia’s 2023 campaign “is likely to be a continuation of strategic attacks. This could include more precision strikes on strategic military targets, particularly logistics and training centers,” he writes.
Above all, the focus will be on Ukraine’s air defense system, because “the increasingly effective Ukrainian protective shield is a threat to Russia’s strategic goals.”
A second part, according to Ryan, will be operations to secure the annexed areas. “This is an important political and strategic objective. This includes taking territory, but also crushing partisans.”
A third part of Russia’s 2023 campaign “is political activity to ‘Russify’ Russian-controlled territory,” the Australian believes. Cherson is a role model. “It’s a way for Putin to further legitimize his invasion.”
A fourth part of Russia’s campaign in 2023 could be “effort-saving” missions that pin Ukrainians in specific locations. That would have the advantage for Russia that Ukrainian forces “cannot be used in the south or east for offensives or defense against Russia,” analyzes Ryan.
As the fifth and final part of Russia’s campaign for the coming year, Ryan sees an attempt to improve the effectiveness of Russia’s ground and air forces on the battlefield. “This could include attempts to improve logistics and security in the supply chain, integration of air and ground forces, and operational security.”
For Ukraine, on the other hand, relatively little will change. “Continued Western support — equipment, training, financial and humanitarian assistance — will be required in the medium term,” Ryan said. Above all, more air and missile defense and technologies to combat drones are needed.
In addition, the West must not become war-weary, the ex-general demands. “While wars are not pleasant, this is the real war that must be waged now, and it must have the full support of the West,” he writes.
He believes combat operations will slow down somewhat over the winter. “The war will not stop in the coming winter. But he will be run at a different pace. And it offers political and military leaders the opportunity to plan for the coming year.”
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