‘Russian offensive began with the appointment of Gerasimov’

12 February, 02:26 PM
Andriy Tsaplienko, a military journalist (Photo:https://t.me/Tsaplienko)

Andriy Tsaplienko, a military journalist (Photo:https://t.me/Tsaplienko)

Russia’s so-called great offensive began with the appointment of Valery Gerasimov as the commander of the Russian military in Ukraine, military correspondent Andriy Tsaplienko believes. The only questions now are when it will culminate, and where the enemy’s main attack will come, he says.

Tsaplienko shared his thoughts on what to expect by the end of spring, looking from today’s perspective, in an interview with Radio NV on Feb. 11.

— The enemy’s fiasco at Vuhledar, about which the Russians themselves are writing, left dozens of vehicles either destroyed or abandoned. Is it the result of haste? How would you assess the situation around Vuhledar?

Video of day

— You’ve probably seen the videos. We saw how senseless this operation was from the viewpoint of its organization. That is, the columns moved along the forest strip on a regular road, one combat vehicle followed by another at a fairly close distance. And, apparently, only a lazy soldier, a lazy gunner wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity.

I do not understand the logic of such an attack at all. That is, either they underestimate Ukrainians – and they underestimate them very much, or they absolutely do not care about their own people, their own equipment. The main thing for them is to achieve the goal at any price. And they really measure this price in thousands of people, in hundreds of pieces of equipment. This is what we see in the videos.

Yes, they probably took that road because the fields were mined. I just don’t want to give them any advice. It is a very positive factor for us that they waste their equipment and their people so much. But, on the other hand, this is a sign that they have a lot of both the first and the second. And they don’t spare it.

— What should we expect from them now, considering the losses they have already suffered, which they are currently suffering? Will they continue to do the same because they have no other choice?

— Technically, the so-called big Russian offensive has already begun. It began with the appointment of (Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery) Gerasimov. And from this moment, they have been gradually raising the degree of military tension. They are gradually putting pressure on us from various directions and increasing the intensity of hostilities. And this has been going on for some time.

How long is our active front line as of now? Nine hundred kilometers. A little more than 300 kilometers of it is along the Dnipro River, that is, we have a front line of almost 600 kilometers by land. So, we can see an intensification of hostilities, an intensification of shelling along all of that 600 kilometers. And they are trying to conduct limited or full-scale assault actions basically everywhere. So, I think this offensive is pretty much already underway.

But this offensive has one point that is important for us. In order to actively advance, they need more people. These people need food, uniforms, and equipment, which needs to be loaded with shells, cartridges, and ammunition. This equipment must be serviced and refueled. And they also need to set up hospitals.

If we’re talking about the hundreds of thousands of people they need for this offensive, then we are talking about even more people involved in the logistics scheme. And they don’t have this logistics, which is their main problem.

Therefore, I don’t think they will launch a full-scale offensive on the entire front, on all 600 kilometers of the front line, but will look for our weak points – those locations where they think they could break through our defenses. And in those locations, they will try to concentrate significant forces and break through.

— A representative of the HUR (Ukrainian intelligence) Andriy Chernyak in an interview with the Kyiv Post said that the Russian command does not have the resources to launch a large-scale offensive before the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Then I see the statement of the representative of the U.S. Security Council, John Kirby, who said that Russia is planning a new offensive in the spring. It seems to me that this is contradictory information. How should we treat such statements from our U.S. partners?

— Even very intelligent people often make mistakes. The Americans were wrong in their assessment of Ukraine at the beginning of this war, before it. A lot of people were wrong, not just the Americans. I can count on the fingers of one hand analysts who, before the war, predicted, firstly, this war, and secondly, predicted the nature of hostilities. And one of these analysts is the former commander of U.S. forces in Europe, General Ben Hodges.

And now I see his assessment of the situation. It is similar to mine. He says that the Russian offensive has basically begun. The question is when it will culminate.

Дайджест главных новостей
Бесплатная email-рассылка только лучших материалов от редакторов NV
Рассылка отправляется с понедельника по пятницу

I do not see any particular contradictions. And those who say that the Russians are in a hurry until we get the full aid package are absolutely right. You see, there’s an interesting situation here. We’re getting a lot of Western weapons. A lot. From different countries, different manufacturers, different types of equipment — from quite old, like the M101 guns, which were used even during the Second World War (which are, by the way, still pretty good), to the latest technology — such systems as IRIS-T, which are being used for the first time in the battlefield in Ukraine.

That is, it looks like there is a lot (of equipment), but if you take each item, then it’s not so much. We currently lack Western equipment in order to carry out any effective counteroffensive actions against such a mad rush of Russian soldiers and equipment.

Right now, I believe we have at least 300,000 Russian soldiers in the occupied territory.

Of course, when we get enough quality equipment, if we put our trained soldiers who have real war experience on that equipment, then we will get our key quality advantage. And, of course, the Russians understand this. At least their commanders aren’t that stupid. And they are rushing to the point until we get this aid package.

So, I think there will be a (Russian) culmination by the end of March.

— What conclusions can we draw after the situation in Soledar?

— I would not like to share a public analysis of our mistakes with our enemy. Although, of course, they understand some things. But they used the tactics of small assault groups in large numbers. And it was actually an unlimited resource.

If you compare the number of those who stormed Soledar – the “Wagnerites “and others together with them (Russian conventional forces) – and our soldiers who were there, then their troops outnumbered ours by dozens of times. This speaks of the heroism of our soldiers and their better training. On the one hand.

On the other hand, these small assault groups operated in this way. The first group received the task, the maximum number of weapons. That is, each of this group (there were up to eight people) was equipped with grenade launchers and a kit. Their task was to reach a point of 300, 400 or 500 meters, tie some white cloth so that it was clearly visible, and die heroically.

Next, the second group was to approach, to take those weapons (from the first group), and moved on. They may have already lost certain number of people. And then the third group approached. And this is how they stormed every one of our positions 24/7 for many days in a row.

What does this say? They do not feel sorry to lose a lot of human resources. And they can operate precisely with these resources. It seems to me that in those circumstances, given the resources they have, the tactics were correct on their part.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news