Russia has been told about the plight their shelling had caused in the northern city of Chernihiv, as well as right outside of Kyiv. They vowed to pull back and allow the civilians time to escape and to get the injured to safety. This promise only lasted hours, because just after their own weary, underfed, undersupplied, and poorly trained troops got away, they started launching rockets and missiles.
With so much of Russia’s ground forces retreating into Russia or Belarus, experts had warned of a surge in air raids and attacks to ensure the Russians did not lose any ground gained. The Ukrainian military claims they also saw a massive increase in the fighting near the eastern city of Izyum and the eastern Donetsk region. This is all a very well-known shell game of moving pieces around looking to make an advancement. Older tactics for sure, but still incredibly effective.
Regional governor Viacheslav Claus spoke out about the Russian offensive and what happened on the ground. “The so-called reduction of activity in the Chernihiv region was demonstrated by the enemy strikes including airstrikes on Nizhyn, and all night long they were shelling Chernihiv. Civilian infrastructure facilities, libraries, shopping centers, many houses were destroyed in Chernihiv.”
All this moving has also made the refugee problems for Ukraine even more difficult. Their people cannot get backed up much further. While the men (and some women) are fighting with all their might for their country, Russia has them beaten in simple numbers. Especially since their military claims they are not after civilian targets. With an estimated 4 million in refugee status, Ukraine is looking to lose a substantial number of its people.
They aren’t the only ones losing here, though. Germany has warned its citizens that there’s a possibility of Russia turning off their natural gas deliveries unless they suddenly start paying in rubles. Poland on the other hand has vowed to stop all Russian oil imports by the end of 2022. While these events might help cripple the Russian economy, it also leaves their citizens vulnerable. As it sits, the amount of liquid natural gas Biden has vowed to sell them may require we purchase it elsewhere to resell to them.
Conflicts like this never really generate any clean winners. The Russian people are losing back at home as many of their favorite retailers have closed shops and stopped sending any supplies. Their troops are being beaten rather soundly in various parts of the country. While they are making some headway in Donbas where their Russian-backed Rebels have been involved in conflicts with Ukrainian forces since 2014.
Focusing on this region gives Britain’s Ministry of Defense a theory. They believe the focus on Donbas is “is likely a tacit admission that it is struggling to sustain more than one significant axis of advance… Russian units suffering heavy losses have been forced to return to Belarus and Russia to reorganize and resupply. Such activity is placing further pressure on Russia’s already strained logistics and demonstrates the difficulties Russia is having reorganizing its units in forward areas within Ukraine.” This theory has a certain degree of truth to it.
Looking at the overall picture of the situation on the ground, Russia has been bringing back old divide and conquer strategies and doing a rather poor job at it overall. Their troops have proven to be far less capable than anyone would have expected. This isn’t to say that the Russians should be taken lightly, but the estimations of their capabilities on land have proven to be blown way out of proportion. Their reliance on missiles and rockets has taken many by surprise, and it is the only thing that is keeping them from being driven back into Russia.