Russo-Ukrainian war, day 47: Ukrainian forces destroyed Russian military column near Kharkiv, heavy fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts

Ukraine war

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun
The Ukrainian military destroyed a column of Russian forces moving toward the city of Izium in the Kharkiv Oblast. In the city of Mariupol the Russian occupiers continue to storm the areas of the Azovstal plant and the Seaport. Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian military have repulsed four enemy attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and destroyed a number of Russian tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery systems. Another mass grave was discovered near Kyiv, the total number of civilians killed during the occupation of the area exceeded 1200.

Morning report day 47 – April 10

The report is based on media reports, expert analyses, and official information posted online.

Situation

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 11.04.2022, supplemented by its (18:00 ) assessment.

“The Russian Federation continues its full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine.

Measures are underway to regroup and increase the management system and logistics of Russian enemy troops. The Russian occupiers are moving battalion tactical groups from the Eastern and Central military districts to the Belgorod, Voronezh and Kursk regions bordering Ukraine.Ukraine war

It is likely that Russian forces, in order to disrupt the supply of goods to the places of hostilities, will continue to strike at transport infrastructure facilities in Ukraine in order to destroy or disable them.

There are no significant changes in the position and activity of the Russian forces in the Volyn, Polissya and Siversky directions.

  • Certain units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus continue to perform tasks to strengthen the protection of the Ukrainian-Belarusian border in the Brest and Gomel regions.

In the Slobozhansky direction, separate divisions from the 6th Combined Arms Army and Coastal Troops of the Northern Fleet continue to partially blockade the city of Kharkiv, and artillery shelling continues in some areas of the city.

  • Russian forces continue to create an offensive group of troops to act in the Slobozhansky direction. Probably in the coming days, Russian occupiers will try to resume the offensive.
  • Aerial reconnaissance of the area is underway by Russian forces in the Izium direction in order to identify the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. To do this, the enemy uses the UAV “Orlan-10”.
  • With the help of two battalion tactical groups, the Russian forces tried to launch an offensive in the directions of the settlements of Dovhenke and Dmytrivka, which was unsuccessful, and the Russian enemy retreated to its former positions.
  • They do not stop trying to break through the defense of Ukrainian troops in the area of ​​the city of Izium, they are investigating possible directions for further action.
  • The enemy may increase its efforts in the direction of Sloviansk, part of the forces – in Barvinkovo. There is a possibility of intensification of hostilities for the city of Kharkiv.

In the Luhansk direction, the Russian forces tried to storm the area of ​​Zolote but were unsuccessful.

In the Donetsk direction, Russian forces continue to focus on taking control of the settlements of Popasna, Rubizhne, Nyzhne and Novobahmutivka, as well as establishing full control over the city of Mariupol.

  • In the city of Mariupol, with the support of artillery and aircraft, the Russian occupiers continue to storm the areas of the Azovstal plant and the Seaport.
  • With the help of independent units, a Russian enemy carried out artillery shelling of the positions of our troops in the areas of the settlements of Vysokopillya, Trudolyubivka and Maryanske.
  • In order to strengthen the air defense system in the Donetsk direction, the Russian occupiers moved a division of the S-350 Vityaz medium-range anti-aircraft missile system to the Taganrog district of the Rostov region.

Attempts by the Russian forces to break through our defenses and advance to the settlements of Siverodonetsk, Popasna, Avdiivka and Kurakhove are expected.

Over the past 24 hours, the defenders of Ukraine have repulsed four enemy attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and destroyed five tanks, eight armored units, six vehicles and eight enemy artillery systems.

In the Pivdennyi Buh direction, the Russian forces tried to restore its position – to take up lost positions in the area of ​​the settlement Osokorivka. Probably, the Russian enemy will try to attempt to reach the administrative borders of the Kherson oblast.

It is possible that the armed forces of the Russian Federation will carry out provocative actions in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova in order to accuse Ukraine of aggression against a neighbouring state.

The Defense Forces of Ukraine continue to hold certain borders, destroy the enemy and liberate the Ukrainian territory from the invader.

The Ukrainian military destroyed a column of Russian forces marching toward the city of Izium in the Kharkiv Oblast on the night of 9 April, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing Oleg Synegubov, Head of Regional Military Administration. “Tonight, our Armed Forces succeeded again – a large column of enemy equipment and manpower heading towards Izium was destroyed.

During the last 24 hours, the Ukrainian General Staff has reported on the Russian manning and logistic challenges:

  • Weapons and military equipment are being prepared at the permanent deployment point of the 60th independent motorized infantry brigade (permanent location – Monastyryshche, Primorsky Kray) of the 5th Combined Arms Army of Eastern Military District of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Russian Federation. It is likely that these weapons will be moved to the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk Oblast. Also, in order to recover the losses of the battalion tactical group from the 36th independent motorized infantry brigade (Borzya, Transbaikalia region) of the 29th All-Military Army of the Eastern Military District, recruits are being recruited from the brigade. The enemy feels a special problem recruiting drivers and mechanics drivers. The departure of the selected personnel from the point of permanent deployment is scheduled for the second half of April this year.
  • In addition, Russian forces continue to train and send personnel, weapons and equipment to participate in hostilities in Ukraine.
  • To restore the losses of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, additional weapons and military equipment are being moved to the territory of Ukraine from the Southern Military District.
  • The Russian forces have a number of problems in the logistics of the Western Military District. This is the lack of spare parts, certain types of artillery ammunition, as well as the imperfection of the system of storage and supply of logistics.

According to British Defense Intelligence, (last 24 hours):

  • Russian forces prior use of phosphorous munitions in the Donetsk Oblast raises the possibility of their future employment in Mariupol as fighting for the city intensifies.
  • Russian shelling has continued in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with Ukrainian forces repulsing several assaults resulting in the destruction of Russian tanks, vehicles, and artillery equipment.https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1513411304995934208?s=20&t=IAoMMHVnnymngGCMX6s29g
  • Russia’s continued reliance on unguided bombs decreases their ability to discriminate when targeting and conducting strikes while greatly increasing the risk of further civilian casualties.
  • Further evidence of alleged Russian war crimes continues to emerge following Russian withdrawal from northern Ukraine. This includes the reported discovery of a makeshift grave containing deceased Ukrainian civilians near Burzova.
  • Allegations of sexual violence perpetrated by Russian military personnel persist.

As of Monday 11.04.2022, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:Russian losses

  • Personnel – more than 19500 people (+200),
  • Tanks – 725 units (+3),
  • Armored combat vehicles – 1923 units (+12),
  • Artillery systems – 347 (+5),
  • Multiple rocket launchers – 111 (+3)
  • Air defense means – 55 (no change),
  • Aircraft – 154 (+2),
  • Helicopters – 137 (no change),
  • Automotive technology – 1387 (+3),
  • Vessels/boats – 7 units (no change),
  • Fuel and lubricant tanks – 76 (no change),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 119 (+7)
  • Special equipment – 25 (no change)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (no change)

Humanitarian  

According to UNHCR 4,503,954  refugees have been registered as of April 9. The UN says that so far Poland has taken in 2,593,902 refugees, Romania 686,232, Hungary 419,101, Republic of Moldova 410,882, Russia 404,418, Slovakia 314,485 and Belarus 19,096 (no changes since April 7). Among those who fled Ukraine are also Ukrainian nationals with dual citizenship. An additional 113,000 people moved to the Russian Federation from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions between 21 and 23 February.

OHCHR recorded 4,232 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of midnight of April 9. 1,793 were killed (including 142 children) and 2,439 injured (including 229 children).

183 children were killed, and 342 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of 8 a.m. on 11 April.

The agreed humanitarian corridors allowed for the evacuation of 2,824 people on April 10. According to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine:

2,622 people traveled from Mariupol and Berdyansk by their own transport or evacuation buses to Zaporizhzhia. Among them: 213 were from Mariupol; 2409 – residents of cities of the Zaporizhzhia oblast (Polohy, Vasylivka, Berdyansk and Melitopol). 

202 people were evacuated today from the Luhansk region cities of Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk, Rubizhne, Kreminna and Popasna, despite constant violations of the ceasefire by the occupiers.

Environment

Russia’s invasion is pummeling Ukraine’s agriculture, threatening harvests in Europe’s breadbasket, The New York Times reports. In the past six weeks, Russian shells have destroyed Ukrainian cities, homes, hospitals and schools. But the war has also reached deep into the fertile plains of a region known as Europe’s breadbasket, paralyzing harvests, destroying granaries and crops, and bringing potentially devastating consequences to a country that produces a large share of the world’s grain.

“Ukraine has already lost at least $1.5 billion in grain exports since the war began, the country’s deputy agriculture minister said recently. And Russia, the world’s leading grain exporter, has been largely unable to export food because of international sanctions. … The combination is creating a global food crisis “beyond anything we’ve seen since World War II,” the chief of the United Nations World Food Program has warned.

In Ukraine, warehouses are filled with grain that cannot be exported. Russia has blocked access to the Black Sea, Ukraine’s main export route, cargo trains face logistical hurdles, and trucking is stymied because most truck drivers are men aged 18 to 60 who are not allowed to leave the country and cannot drive agricultural exports across the border.

Ukraine has also banned some grain exports to ensure that it has enough food to feed its people. On Tuesday, the Agriculture Ministry said that six large granaries had been destroyed by Russian shelling. Farmers say they face shortages of fuel and fertilizer, and that some of their workers have gone to the battlefield. Some farmers have been pushed off their lands by the fighting, with shells and rockets destroying their machines, wounding their workers and killing their cattle.

Farmland covers 70 percent of the country and agriculture was Ukraine’s top export, producing nearly 10 percent of its gross domestic product. Ukraine was one of the world’s main exporters of corn and wheat and the biggest exporter of sunflower oil.

The country now has 13 million tons of соrn and 3.8 million tons of wheat that it cannot export using its usual routes, primarily by sea, the deputy agriculture minister, Taras Vysotsky, said last week.”

Legal

Dozens of civilian Ukrainians were found in a grave near Kyiv, Reuters reports. A new grave with dozens of civilian Ukrainians was found on Saturday in Buzova, a liberated village near the capital Kyiv that for weeks was occupied by Russian forces, a local official said.

Charred bodies of Russian invaders’ torture victims found in Kharkiv oblast, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group reports. In the recently liberated Kharkiv oblast village of Husarivka, the regional police reported on 8 April 2022 that the Russians had used a basement as a torture chamber, with one of the victims killed being a child. A number of residents have also disappeared without a trace.

Atrocities in Kyiv region: at least 1,222 killed, 500 war crimes suspects, Ukrinform reports. According to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova as of April 10, they have already counted 1,222 deaths in the Kyiv oblast alone. According to Venediktova, law enforcement officers have opened 5,600 criminal proceedings over Russian war crimes in Ukraine, and 500 suspects have been already identified. As Ukrinform reported, Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel cities and the entire Kyiv region were liberated from Russian invaders in early April. Mass killings of Ukrainian civilians by Russians have been recorded in liberated towns and villages.War crimes

5899 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 2651 crimes against national security were registered as of 11 April. 938 educational establishments are damaged because of shelling and bombings, 87 of them are destroyed fully. 

According to the General Staff, the Russian occupying forces continue to restrict the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens in the temporarily occupied territories. Robberies and killings of civilians continue.

Support

The US will supply Ukraine with ‘the weapons it needs’ against Russia, Reuters reports.  The United States is committed to providing Ukraine with “the weapons it needs” to defend itself against Russia, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday as Ukraine seeks more military aid from the West. Sullivan said the Biden administration will send more weapons to Ukraine to prevent Russia from seizing more territory and targeting civilians, attacks that Washington has labelled war crimes. “We’re going to get Ukraine the weapons it needs to beat back the Russians to stop them from taking more cities and towns where they commit these crimes,” Sullivan said on ABC News’ “This Week”.

Slovakia could sell howitzers to Ukraine, defense minister says, Reuters reports. Slovakia could sell Ukraine some of its Zuzana self-propelled howitzers, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Sunday. “I can confirm that we are in talks (about the sale),” Nad said in a televised debate. He did not give further details. The Zuzana 2 howitzer, a modernised version of an older model, is using 155-mm rounds and has an effective range of 40 km to more than 50 km (30 miles) depending on ammunition type.

Germany has reached its limit for supplying weapons to Ukraine, Uawire reports. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said that Germany had reached the limit on the supply of weapons to Ukraine from the warehouses of the Bundeswehr.

Of course, we are urged to support Ukraine in its courageous struggle. As for supplies from the Bundeswehr warehouses, I must honestly say: we have now reached the limit because our troops should still be able to guarantee the national defense and defense of the Alliance, she said in an interview with Augsburger Allgemeine. At the same time, according to Lambrecht, this does not mean that Germany cannot do more for Ukraine. According to her, German companies can supply weapons directly to Ukraine.”

German arms maker offers weapons to Ukraine, a German government source says, Reuters reports. German weekly Welt am Sonntag had reported on Saturday that armaments manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann offered 100 self-propelled howitzers, a type of artillery weapon, to Ukraine, quoting anonymous government sources in Kyiv. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann was not immediately available for comment. A spokesperson for the German defense ministry declined to comment.

Mines may have been left in the Black Sea intentionally, DuvarEnglish reports. Naval mines found in Turkish waters may have been left in the Black Sea intentionally to draw NATO minesweepers into the sea, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said. Akar stressed Turkey would adhere to the rules of the Montreux Convention, which gives Turkey control of its straits and authority to regulate the transit of naval warships, and that Ankara would not let warships enter the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s economy could shrink 45 percent this year, the Washington Post reports citing the World Bank. The Ukrainian economy is projected to shrink by 45 percent this year, according to a report from the World Bank, and Russia is expected to lose more than one-tenth of its economic output.

Ukraine needs massive financial support immediately as it struggles to keep its economy going and the government running to support Ukrainian citizens who are suffering and coping with an extreme situation, Anna Bjerde, the World Bank’s vice president for Europe and Central Asia, said in a statement.”

Russia’s first external default in a century is almost inevitable, Economic Truth reports citing Bloomberg.

Russia’s first external default in a century (since 1917) seems virtually inevitable – in particular, the Russian treasury has stopped paying dollar debts from Russia’s accounts in American banks. When the attempt to pay in foreign currency was blocked, Russia violated the terms of two bonds, paying investors roubles instead of dollars, the agency said. This is one step closer to default.

New developments

  1. President Zelenskyy reiterates requests for arms, a no-fly zone in 60 Minutes interview, the New York Post He reiterated Ukraine’s dire need for additional arms and closed skies as Russian forces. Despite numerous requests from Zelenskyy, the United States and its Western allies have refused to establish a no-fly zone over Ukrainian skies, arguing the escalation could lead to WW3. “When you have the ability to close the sky – yes it’s scary, that a world war could start. It’s scary. I understand that. And I cannot put pressure on these people because everyone is afraid of war.” He holds the West responsible as it is watching from afar when having the ability to stop the Russian atrocities. Zelenskyy said he does not believe that Russian aggression will stop at Ukraine’s borders and President Putin will continue to push closer to Europe.
  2. Austrian chancellor will meet with Putin on Monday, the Washington Post Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer announced Sunday that he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday. Nehammer wrote on Twitter that Austria is “militarily neutral, but we have a clear position on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. It has to stop!”
  3. Zelenskyy to meet Putin after Ukraine’s victory in major battles, Ukrayinska Pravda reports citing Mykhailo Podoliak, Adviser to the Head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine. “Ukraine is ready for major battles, Ukraine must win these battles, including the battle over Donbas. After that Ukraine will have a more substantial negotiating position to dictate certain terms. After that, the presidents will meet. It may take two weeks, it may take three. According to Podoliak, Russia has not yet fully understood the necessity to talk to Ukraine on an equal footing at the very least, and at the most, to hear Ukraine.”
  4. Ukrainian foreign minister says peace talks are still worth pursuing, the Washington Post Kuleba said Sunday that although it is “extremely difficult” to think of sitting down for peace talks with Russia after recent attacks on Ukrainian civilians, he would still be willing to do so if it meant future atrocities can be prevented. “If I have a chance to save a human life, a village or a town from destruction, I will take that chance,” Dmytro Kuleba told Chuck Todd on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”
  5. The Pope called for an Easter truce in Ukraine, European Truth Pope Francis has called on Moscow and Kyiv to conclude an Easter truce in Ukraine, which will lead to talks on a lasting peace. He stated this during the service on Palm Sunday.
  6. The Head of Russia’s Orthodox Church calls for “war on Ukraine”. The head of Russia’s Orthodox Church called on people on Sunday to rally around the authorities as Moscow pursues its military intervention in Ukraine, Reuters Patriarch Kirill has previously made statements defending Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and views the war as a bulwark against a Western liberal culture that he considers decadent.
  7. Almost 200 UOC-MP priests want a church tribunal for Patriarch Kirill, Ukrayinska PravdaToday, when Moscow Patriarch Kirill openly supports Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, we, the priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, have decided to appeal to the Council of Primates of the Ancient Eastern Churches against Patriarch Kirill.”
  8. Finland and Sweden are set to join NATO as soon as summer, The Times Russia has made a “massive strategic blunder” as Finland and Sweden look poised to join NATO as early as the summer, according to officials. If this becomes a reality, the Alliance will increase from 30 to 32 members as a direct consequence of President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. “US officials said NATO membership for both Nordic countries was “a topic of conversation and multiple sessions” during talks between the alliance’s foreign ministers last week attended by Sweden and Finland.”

Assessment

On the War

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Sunday 10 April::

Russian forces made territorial gains in Mariupol in the past 24 hours and continued to reinforce operations along the Izium-Sloviansk axis but did not make other territorial gains. Russian forces bisected Mariupol from the city center to the coast on April 10, isolating the remaining Ukrainian defenders in two main locations: the main port of Mariupol in the southwest and the Azovstal steel plant in the east. Russian forces, including a convoy of hundreds of vehicles captured in Maxar Technologies imagery on April 8, continue to reinforce Russia’s offensive in Izium to link up with Russian positions in Luhansk Oblast.

The Russian Defense Ministry is reportedly offering cash bonuses to incentivize forces withdrawn from northeastern Ukraine to reenter combat operations. Radio Svoboda published images of a document on April 10 that it reported was issued by the Russian Ministry of Defense on April 2 offering specific bonuses for Russian troops in Ukraine. The document specifies large payments including 300,000 rubles for destroying a fixed-wing aircraft, 200,000 for destroying a helicopter, and 50,000 for armored vehicles and artillery. Radio Svoboda stated the payments are intended to coerce units withdrawn from the Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy regions to reenter combat. We have previously reported several instances of Russian soldiers refusing orders to return to Ukraine after being pulled back.

Russian forces are implementing increasingly draconian measures to conscript previously ineligible personnel. The Ukrainian Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on April 10 that Russian forces are now conscripting previously ineligible categories of people, including those with childhood disabilities and workers in protected industries. The GUR reported that DNR/LNR authorities are enabling traffic inspectors to issue on-the-spot conscription notices and are establishing checkpoints on key highways. DNR and Russian military police are additionally reportedly destroying documents granting exemptions—such as medical records or work certificates—to forcibly conscript people.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces bisected Mariupol from the city center to the coast on April 10, isolating the remaining Ukrainian defenders in the southwestern port and eastern Azovstal Steel Plant.
  • Russian forces again made little to no progress in frontal assaults in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts but continue to cohere further reinforcements.
  • Maxar Technologies satellite imagery captured hundreds of Russian vehicles in Kharkiv Oblast redeploying to support Russian operations near Izium.
  • Ukrainian counterattacks may threaten Kherson city in the coming days or weeks.“

Battle for Donbas: Somewhere at 3-4 o’clock in the morning massive artillery shelling will begin, then they will go on the offensive with a huge number of tanks, infantry, Censor.net reports. The head of the Luhansk regional military service Serhiy Gaidai told what course of events he expects during the battle for Donbas.

“We understand that there will be an offensive shortly. There will be a huge battle for Donbas. We see that there is an accumulation of forces and resources. A huge amount of equipment. Well, we are preparing,” he said. Gaidai noted that the invaders need “at least some victory.” Therefore, they will try to reach the geographical borders of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

“I think there will be something like this: a massive shelling will begin at around 3-4 o’clock in the morning. Heavy and large-calibre mortars, artillery, aircraft, MLRS Grad, Smerch, Uragan, “Tochka-U” and “Tochka-B” will be used.” They will use everything they have. It will last for several hours in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and then they will go on the offensive with a huge number of tanks and infantry, “he said. Gaidai.

The head of the OVA noted that the Russians will not be able to advance from the north, south and east at the same time – there will not be enough forces and means. “I think a few days, and they will go on the offensive. The negotiation process will depend on how this offensive will develop,” he added.”

Consequences and what to do? 

“This war is a world crisis not just because the Russians have driven a tank through international law, or for what they have done to civilians, but because it has brought the biggest military powers with nuclear weapons closer to a potential confrontation than at any time since the Cold War that ended with the fall of the Soviet Union, culminating in 1991, BBC argues.

The 21st Century now has its own Cold War, with the same risks attached if it gets hot. The head of defense intelligence in Ukraine, Maj Gen Kyrylo Budanov, told BBC that the risks of not confronting Putin’s Russia are much worse for NATO than risking escalation by standing up to him and sending Ukraine the much more lethal arsenal it wants.

“This is a war of aggression in the heart of Europe that completely destroys existing political and military security systems. If the world swallows Putin’s aggression and offers no radical solution, it will be repeated over and over again,” he said.”

Di Maio, Italy will oppose a NATO military intervention, risk of World War, RAI News reports. “We will oppose a military intervention by NATO in the war in Ukraine because this would lead to a military world war” the Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi di Maio, said. “We are already in a world war – explained the head of the foreign ministry – but fortunately not from a military point of view”. The statement has been reiterated in several papers, including TASS.

Assessment by Hans Petter Midttun

The two quotes represent two opposing positions, one asking NATO to engage; one deciding not to engage. Ironically, both agree that the so-called “war in Ukraine” is in fact a wider war between Russia and NATO.

According to the Italian Foreign Minister are we ” already in a world war but fortunately not from a military point of view.” The statement echoes the Russian perception of the global security situation.

Medvedev called the international sanctions an act of aggression only 3 days ago. Sanctions in the current situation can be described as an act of aggression against the Russian Federation, as a form of hybrid war. In this case, Russia has the right to individual and collective defense under national law and international law. His Telegram post has later been deleted and his statement softened in an article in TASS, indicating that Russia does not want this to escalate into a military confrontation. The original statement is all the same in line with several similar Russian assessments.

Russia sees NATO as a major threat and believes we are waging a total (hybrid war), economic, information, and cultural war against Russia, and are convinced that we are an active party to the war in Ukraine. Russia even blamed Ukraine and the West for fueling tensions that led to its so-called “special military operation”, 8 years after itself started the war.

Luigi di Maio is expressing the “mantra” of most NATO member countries. In my humble opinion, it is a statement all NATO members can agree on as it helps conceal discord within the Alliance, lack of moral courage, unwillingness to care about the economic fallout, lack of military ability, or whatever reason the individual nation has, to not engage properly. It is not at least a statement that seems credible given Russian belligerent rhetoric, ultimatums, and threats.

The battlespace of the Hybrid War occurs in the mind. The battlefield has moved from the physical domain to the cognitive sphere. It aims to destabilize, create fear, and promote passivity. The hybrid war confuses and manipulates. Through disinformation, lies, cyber-attacks, extortion, provocations, fabrications, military escalation, and more, a “virtual reality” is created that motivates countries to make the political decisions Russia wants.

The Russian Hybrid War is, however, designed to avoid a confrontation with the West. For 8 years, Russia has done its utmost to prevent the West from becoming actively involved in Ukraine. By establishing a military fait accompli on the ground, the West feel compelled to avoid military intervention to avoid the risk of an escalation up to and including a nuclear confrontation.

Today, this is more crucial than ever. While it has failed to hinder the delivery of light weapons, Russia has, however, until recently succeeded in stopping the delivery of weapons more suitable for the next phase of the war. While the West is slowly realizing that they need to do more, combat aircraft and advanced Air Defense systems are still not on the table. Neither is a more active NATO role, including an UN-mandated No-Fly Zone or a Humanitarian intervention.

NATO members are either still being influenced by the Russian hybrid war; or the Russian rhetoric is supporting the individual NATO member’s lack of willingness, lack of ability, or both.

The crucial questions are, therefore, what end-state does NATO want, and how does it plan to achieve it? If the Alliance is supporting a Russian defeat in Ukraine, it needs to start acting accordingly. Presently, only the UK, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Chez Republic, Slovakia, and Slovenia is fully supporting this effort.

 

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