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(Source: Presidential Executive Office of Russia/Wikimedia)
Yesterday, SOFREP reported about Russia’s push for its more competent soldiers who had just gone out of training. At the same time, Ukraine has fired drones toward two Russian military bases and an oil depot. Unfortunately, the latter was not received as well, as Russia retaliated with a brutal attack on cities and towns.
According to reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin “is setting conditions for a protracted war of conquest in Ukraine.” The Russian attack continues to knock out Ukraine’s power and water infrastructures as their military pushes for nationwide demoralization. It was noted that more than 70 missiles were fired, and Kyiv’s governor confirmed that about 40% of the city was left in the dark after the attack.
Other Ukrainian officials confirmed that Russia’s missile attacks continued coming in. Even in the newly liberated city of Kherson, volunteers were seen cooking meals on the open fire so people would have something hot to eat.
Russian forces still use Iranian-made drones to attack Ukrainian cities, even though Kyiv said Russia’s Shahed drones are almost exhausted. Ukrainian Air Force Command Spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said the Russian forces resumed these drone loitering munitions after a three-week break, suggesting that the Russian troops had challenges replenishing their supplies. However, it is also highly possible that they were trying to find a way to fix the icing issues on the drones, especially as the war forges on in the middle of winter. Additionally, Ukrainian Southern Command Spokesperson Natalia Humenyuk said that they believe these drones are getting deployed in open areas to fight Ukrainian air defenses.
“Russian and Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces deployed Shahed-136 drones in attacks on Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Zhytomyr, and Zaporizhia Oblasts. Russian forces have likely modified the drones to operate in colder weather conditions and will likely increase their use in Ukraine in the coming weeks in support of their campaign against Ukrainian critical infrastructure. ISW has previously reported that Russian forces are increasingly reliant on Iranian-made weapon systems due to the depletion of the Russian military’s high-precision weapons arsenal.”
Meanwhile, the Russians are also increasing the pace of their counterattacks in Kharkiv and Luhansk. A counteroffensive operation is reportedly underway.
“The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed on December 7 that Russian forces continued offensive operations in the direction of Lyman. Furthermore, Russian forces may be preparing for an increased pace of spoiling counterattacks in eastern Kharkiv and western Luhansk Oblast to preempt Ukrainian forces from increasing the pace of their eastern counteroffensive as conditions become more conducive for mechanized maneuver warfare in eastern Ukraine due to the winter.”
Could Russia’s Counterattack Work?
Russia could succeed in its counterattack this winter due to its increased use of advanced technologies and tactics. Their utilization of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), such as the Shahed-136 drone, has enabled them to conduct precise strikes on Ukrainian critical infrastructure with less risk to their own forces. In addition, these drones are now outfitted to better perform in colder temperatures, allowing them to be used during the winter months when traditional aircraft may be impeded by weather conditions.
Furthermore, Russia has also been engaging in cyber warfare against Ukraine. In particular, they have been using malware and ransomware attacks against Ukraine’s government networks, power grids, and internet infrastructure. This attack not only enables Russia to disrupt Ukrainian operations but also allows them to gain access to sensitive data and potentially infiltrate further into Ukrainian networks without physical presence.
In addition, Russia still has a strategic advantage over Ukraine regarding military manpower. The Russian Federation maintains a much larger military force than Ukraine—having around 1.2 million active personnel compared with Ukraine’s approximate 250,000 active personnel—allowing them greater flexibility in deploying troops for any fighting that may arise during a counterattack.
Russia also benefits from having vast amounts of natural resources available for their use in warfare. As one of the world’s top oil and natural gas producers, Russia possesses the necessary funds and materials to support long-term operations such as a large-scale counterattack throughout the winter season.
Finally, it should be noted that Russia’s long history as an empire has enabled them to develop strong propaganda tactics that it can use against foreign nations and within its own borders. Through effective messaging and manipulation of media outlets within both countries, they can rally public support behind their current campaign or attempt to discredit Ukrainian forces over social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. With these tools at its disposal, Russia is better equipped than other nations to project power abroad during times of conflict, such as this winter season’s potential counterattack.
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