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Movement and weather will be key to Ukraine counteroffensive

May 11, 2023

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The timetable for the next significant step in the Ukraine War remains up in the air. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his army needs more time as it awaits the arrival of additional military aid from the U.S. and European allies. Russia, meanwhile, has moved to target Ukrainian grain imports, which would have global consequences.

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan says when Ukraine does launch its counteroffensive, ground movement and warmer weather will be the keys to success.

Excerpted from Peter’s May 10 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

Ukraine has done all the prep work to launch its counteroffensive against the Russians. Now they just need Mother Nature to do her part and let the ground firm up. So, I would expect the tanks to roll out at the end of May or June.

Preliminary attacks by the Ukrainians have helped weaken the Russian’s ability to move. Since Russia typically fights by rail, these attacks have focused on rail nodes and connections. As Russian strategy pivots to trucks and vehicles, Ukraine targeting will shift to fuel depots and supply lines.

The Ukrainians have seen success by punching through the Russian front, cutting off supply lines, and forcing a route. We will likely see a similar strategy used as the Ukrainians push into the Donbas and eventually out to the Sea of Azov.

If you’ve followed me for a while, much of this will sound like my predictions for a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the winter. As we’ve learned, the weather always wins and the Ukrainians are pretty sneaky…so these predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. What I’m looking to do is outline the logical next steps that Ukraine will take to win this war.

Hey everyone, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from the bluebird trail which just just above Ken Carl in Colorado, you got the red rocks and the Lockheed Martin research facility down there below me looks really cool after sunset, it’s lit up looks like a spaceship sitting down in the rocks. Anyway, this is part two of our ongoing series on becoming Ukrainian counter offensive. Expect to see that starting probably either in the last week of May or sometime in June once the ground has firmed up enough that it’s not muddy and tanks can actually maneuver. We’ve already seen the Ukrainians do a significant amount of prep, in terms of preliminary tax to hobble the Russians ability to move. Now for those of you who’ve been following me for a while you know that the Russian system the military is designed to fight by rail, it does not do well with truck they don’t have very money and they’ve lost most of what they have. They prefer to put their troops and their equipment on rail lines, rail them as close as possible and then throw everything like a giant fist at their foes. That has been a problem in this conflict so far because the Ukrainians managed to take out the Curt strait Bridge, which was the only reliable rail connection into the Crimea. And they’ve gone after a number of rail connections and nodes in the eastern sections of Ukraine, an area known as the dawn boss, which takes up the two provinces of the Luhansk and Donetsk. And that has made it more difficult for the Russians as well though not nearly as bad as Crimea. What they’ve been doing of late with the Ukrainians have been doing of late is using a mix of missiles, drones and other air craft to target fuel depots and fuel trains and they’ve hit some very close to the border of Bella roost in the north. They’ve hit some near Rostov on Don Sumner and overseas on the Black Sea. And of course in Crimea herself. Because trucks use a lot lot lot lot more fuel to move the same amount of cargo compared to trains. So if the Ukrainians can hobble the Russians ability to move about the battlefield, then the Ukrainians can use superior movement. And this has always been a war of movement for the Ukrainians. The Russians are slow but powerful. So Ukrainian strategies has been to move quick punch through the lines, get behind them partially and circle the Russians and then force a route where the Russians just leave everything behind. And that’s what they did in Kharkov province and their summer offensive, and in their fall offensive in KEARSON. The hope that the Ukrainians have is they’re going to be able to do that again with their spring offensive, and it really breaks down into two major pieces. The first is going to be a series of eastward thrusts into the dawn boss to hit those other rail connections to break up Russian formations in the Donbass so they can’t maneuver to assist one another, allowing the Ukrainians to dice them up and take their stuff, you know, reasonable strategy has worked with a couple of times already. And that but the second, the bigger push is going to be going on the east side of the Nieper river and then punching straight south through the province of zap Vinnytsia in order to get to the Sea of Azov, which is a an inlet off of the Black Sea. And if they can do that they not only cut whatever remaining light rail connections that might be partially available to the Russians for logistics right now. They also cut every single land connection, and basically take the entirety of the southwestern part of the front and all of the Crimean Peninsula and put it in a box. Because once the Ukrainians can get to the Sea of Azov, they’ll be able to take out the rest of the courage bridge and then not even military trucks will be able to get into resupply. And then you’ll have the best forces that the Russians have completely trapped completely devoid of reinforcements, the Navy will have to withdraw because the Ukrainians can then hit anywhere, any of the Crimean ports, with missiles that they have. And the beautiful thing from the Ukrainian point of view is these attacks that they’ve already used across into Russia proper that uses Ukrainian gear, American gear at the moment is not allowed to be used on Russian territory. So with every inch that the Ukrainians closed towards the border, more and more of their own stuff can do deep strike into Russia proper. Now, if some of this the Donbass campaign is up or needs to campaign sounds a little bit familiar. That’s because I mentioned this before, I thought there was going to be a winter counter attack. And so back in November, I basically released a video more or less lining up about half of what I just did right now. Which brings me to why you shouldn’t take what I’m taking too seriously. Number one, weather winds and if we get a wet May, then this attack is going to be pushed back not just to June, but maybe into July and even in August, and there might not be enough time to do it at scale anyway. Second, the Ukrainians have proven themselves very adept at fooling people into thinking what their actual intentions are. So for example, the Kharkiv offensive last year, which was the biggest victory for the Ukrainians of the worst so far, they didn’t advertise that at all. They made everybody think they were going after KEARSON first and that attack did happen. But it was really just designed to draw Russian troops away from where the Ukrainians really wanted to go. I wouldn’t in the end, they ended up getting them both. So obviously the Russians gonna vote in this, obviously the Ukrainians gonna decide where they go. What I’m outlining are the logical steps and things that ultimately Ukraine is going to have to do if it’s going to win this war. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to do it on my timeframe. All right. That’s it for me. You all take care. See you tomorrow.

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