The stalling of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the secret plans of power players
    Analysis by Mikhail Shereshevskiy

    ANALYTICS  28 November 2023 - 11:49

    Mikhail Shereshevskiy

    According to the Berlin-based Bild newspaper, US President Biden and German Chancellor Scholz developed a "secret plan". The meaning of the plan is as follows: the USA and Germany agree not to give the Ukrainian armed forces too much. The West is absolutely not interested in a Ukrainian victory but is ready to give enough to ensure that it does not lose.

    Moreover, the US and Germany, according to Bild, have decided to push Kyiv into negotiations with Moscow, using the quantity and quality of arms they supply as leverage over Zelenskyy. A source in the German government said: "Zelensky must understand that this is not the way forward, he must turn to the free parts of his country and declare that negotiations must take place." The German and US plan should therefore provide for supplying Ukraine with the "exactly necessary" weapons in quality and quantity so that its Armed Forces can "maintain the current front line", but not to retake lands lost by Ukraine.

    We know nothing about such an agreement since there are no published documents, but there is a simple fact: Western assistance to the Ukrainian armed forces is of this nature and not of any other. It is completely pointless to discuss the unknown plans of the West, but its current actions are obvious. If the allies wanted Ukraine to win, they would have provided it with a minimum of 300 modern Abrams tanks, not the 30 that were given to Ukraine, and a minimum of 100 combat aircraft of the latest F-16 block 70/72 models that Türkiye now wants to buy. They would allow the AFU to create a powerful fist of the Air Force, rather than a couple of dozen aircraft of outdated models. Finally, the West would never encourage an AFU offensive (and it did) without air superiority if it really wanted its ally to triumph.

    In addition, the AFU and the entire Ukrainian system of state capitalism (in this case, state capitalism is a market-based economic system in which the state plays a huge role, controlling (directly or indirectly) a large part of the economy and influencing its goals by awarding large volumes of military and civilian orders) have several problems. Firstly, judging by the statements of the Ukrainian military and a number of international experts, there is inadequate command. Secondly, there is a failure to establish military production, for example, by ensuring sufficient supplies of FPV drones: this critical weapon is still supplied by volunteers. The latter demonstrates the profound inadequacy of the industrial and arms supply management system.

    On the other hand, the Russian Armed Forces and industry have learnt how to solve a number of problems, in particular by managing to supply FPV drones on an industrial scale, already surpassing the AFU in this area, which, according to the Ukrainian military, is becoming a major factor in the war. In addition, the Russian Federation has spun up its military-industrial complex, creating some offensive capabilities. On the Russian side, a lot of modern weapons have appeared on the front, including Lancets, as well as FABs (guided aerial bombs), which, according to the Ukrainian military, are constantly increasing in number and have become a problem not only for the offensive of the AFU but also for their defence. The rapid development of the Russian military-industrial complex came as a surprise. It turned out that Russia still has room for scientific and industrial modernisation on a serious scale.

    Within two years, Russian state capitalism had learnt to solve some military-technical problems, gaining a strategic advantage, as Ukraine had not learnt to do. As things stand, it is doomed to retreat and defeat, but there are two obstacles that make the situation uncertain.

    The first thing is manpower and troop management. The situation with manpower and mobilisation in both Russia and Ukraine is unclear, which may influence the course of events in one direction or the other. Troop management and planning of military operations remain a problem for both sides.

    Second, it is doubtful that the West will allow Russia to win. Yes, it has destroyed the AFU's chances of victory, but a tangible large-scale Russian victory on the frontline would be a disaster for Washington, as it would demonstrate US weakness and could galvanise China towards Taiwan, making World War III a reality.

    In addition, Biden's position is already undermined by the defeat in Afghanistan, and defeat in Ukraine would bury his chances of winning the election. Therefore, the US is likely to react to the growth of Russia's military-industrial complex. The emergence of Ukraine's long-range Switchblade-600 drones and ATACMS missiles (the West denied supplying them for almost two years) may indicate such an approach. However, the scale of these deliveries is negligible at the moment.

    Altogether, this means the armed conflict is dragging out for an indefinite period of time.


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