The independent Russian military analyst on the current situation in Eastern Ukraine and the significance of Mariupol
The main problem is that for Russia, military defeat of Novorossiya is completely unacceptable. Recently, everything has been moving towards this outcome. Rebels have been driven out, and have retreated and retreated. Today, Russia has taken a step that had to be taken to avoid a rout. In other words, it has dramatically increased its presence.
The main battle will evidently now occur around and in the city of Mariupol. If there is no success in driving out Ukrainian forces, a real war will start. And a war from the air, throughout the whole of Ukraine. And then tens of thousands of Russian soldiers will follow. The air force will seek to gain air superiority and remove the Ukrainians. In an expanded version, perhaps not only from the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
Little time remains. Autumn is approaching. The shorter daylight hours and low cloud will make air force work more difficult. It will be hard to support forces on the ground – pilots in SU-25s need to be able to see their targets.
In addition, from October 1, it will be necessary to carry out a new rotation of troops, demobilizing those currently at the border. Precisely for this reason, the question will have to be resolved now.