The next 24 hours will be critical in Ukraine's defense, but in the event of a breakthrough, we cannot count on a quick victory. According to Major General Igor Romanenko, former deputy chief of the Ukrainian General Staff, Putin has few arguments left to surprise Ukraine and the world, but what he has cannot be underestimated.
Why exactly on the fourth or fifth day did the shelling of residential areas of the big cities of Kharkiv, Kiev begin, which Russia refrained from for the first 24 hours of hostilities?
They want to undermine stability and statehood, to destabilize the situation. This is a known technique, it should facilitate the offensive operation. That operation, which they planned and prepared, was thwarted in three days. The goals were not achieved, Gerasimov was dismissed from the post of the Chief of the General Staff, but then he was sort of returned. All this took place against a background of flagrant violations of international humanitarian law. If you watch Shoigu's speeches about how they are conducting the operation and take them apart point by point, it turns out that they are doing the opposite of what he said.
You mean they use unconventional weapons?
Yes, they use missiles, including cruise missiles, which have a poor guidance system and low accuracy, and so when they destroy military targets, they hit a lot of civilian targets at the same time. This is on the one hand. And on the other hand, they destroy civilian objects and deliberately - they use vacuum bombs, again, in violation of international law. According to the nature of the impact and the remnants that were found, it was determined that these were vacuum bombs. So what we see here is such a cynical approach - there is deception about what they say and what they do.
Are they really preparing an attack? Do they have any forces left?
Since the plan from was disrupted, the resources they have concentrated are already depleted, so they are regrouping, and preparing for combat operations in the main directions: this is the capital, this is in the south - Nikolayev (to break through the corridor and capture Mariupol), this is the northwest and northeast direction, because from the Russian border you can set up better logistics. Since they have problems with fuel, food, and supplies in general, they need to establish supplies for the advanced units that are cut off from the rear. So they are preparing all these issues for a decisive assault on Kiev. The landing in Odessa is postponed due to the weather. But this goal they most likely still have. They are bombing the same Vasylkiv with cruise missiles, and air strikes, and tried to land there, but Ukraine repulsed the landing.
How difficult will it be to liberate the occupied settlements?
-First of all, in those towns that are occupied - Berdyansk, Kupyansk, people come out without weapons and organize protests. There the administration can behave non-state, unpatriotic, as the mayor of Kupyansk did, and in Berdyansk people from the mayor's office just came out and did not cooperate with the occupants. Therefore, as for the liberation, the main thing for us now is to resist. The next 24 hours will be critical. The main thing is to hold Kiev. But it will be up to a week. Today is the sixth day, and so far they have not taken a single important, strategic city.
You mean there's a week left, and they're going to start to run out of steam?
No, it's not that simple. In the next few days, it is important to withstand the blow, and then they will regroup and develop another plan.
The fact that they have started negotiations is a sign that Russia is willing to make concessions.
Negotiations are a disguise. International criminals are trying to give themselves the appearance of a legitimate cover for what they have done. And they are not going to stop the fighting. And the fact that they allegedly went to negotiations is to create the illusion that they are so constructive, while these "fascist Banderaites" don't spare their military and don't spare their citizens.
The fact that Putin gave the decree to put strategic deterrence on special alert is the beginning of a nuclear war?
It's blackmail, it's not the first time. It happened in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and 1973, in the Middle East, when they threatened to use nuclear weapons and then the Soviets refused to use them. So according to the history of the USSR and its successor Russia, this is not the first time this has happened. Putin is bluffing, he no longer has anything to show for it. There was this operation - they hoped that two or three days and it would be over. But it turned out to be the second day of financial and economic pressure from the West. It is reacting very painfully, it is nervous.
And what does it mean technically - putting submarines on launch positions? The rise of bombers with atomic charges?
Actually, from the military point of view, it could be that he meant the following: if NATO intervenes on Crimea, he is ready to use tactical nuclear weapons. They can go for demonstrative use of nuclear weapons - blow it up somewhere in the ocean, in neutral waters. But this is to, on the one hand, scare them and, on the other hand, not to turn the situation into the Third World War. This option is possible. He did not use the term "nuclear weapons", but nevertheless he moved the subject into this area. That is, he uses it as a last argument, but it is blackmail.
As Podolyak said, Putin has no elite contract troops left, and now he can only use conscripts and reservists. Is this really the case?
He's gathering and concentrating his troops now, but these are conscripts and reservists with very low morale and poor firearms training. We have already seen how all the prisoners lie about how they did not know something, they were sent to the exercises, and here is the war. But then during the interrogation it turns out that they were trained since December: they were given combat tasks, they were taken out and instructed, they practiced their actions. But the fact is that they have been in the fields since December, so they are exhausted.
If Ukraine is now admitted to the EU, does it give any military advantage?
Well it gives that you can use EU economic instruments to help Ukraine. This is important. Well, politically it weakens Putin - he set one goal, but he gets something completely different.