The Russian invasion of Ukraine (called by the Russian the ‘Special Military Operation’) represents the first large scale, high-intensity warfare since the ‘First Gulf War’ of 1991, when a large nation-state army confronted a coalition of armies on a large scale, on land, at sea, and in the air.
Most of the conflicts fought since 1991, excluding ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ of 2003 and the three-week war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno Karabakh region, were low-intensity conflicts (LIC).
These mainly were defined as low-intensity conflicts or ‘hybrid wars.’ The war between Russia and Ukraine tested many new concepts developed in the East and West since the late 20th century. Some of the most modern unmanned systems technologies currently under development are among these.
We assess this land aspect of this war in several clearly defined phases and focus areas:
- Introduction and Summary (this page)
- Preparations for War
- The Opening Moves
- Rockets and Missiles Attacks
- The Artillery War
- Consolidation in the Eastern Front
- Air Support
Despite the extensive disinformation on both sides, victory isn’t in sight for either side. The War in Ukraine seems to continue to simmer for a long time in the East since, as big as it is, Russia can’t muster the force necessary to win the war, and neither is Putin willing to give up what he gained so far. While Russia suffered extensive casualties and losses in equipment, Ukraine seems to have replenished and even increased its weapons stocks absorbing large shipments of arms from the West. Moreover, despite the Russian attacks and systematic destruction of Ukraine’s defense industries, Ukraine has increased the number of tanks, armored vehicles, and air defenses it operates by repairing and fielding combat vehicles abandoned by the Russian troops.
In this conflict, Russian faces a silent coalition – Ukraine in the front and the entire Western world behind it. This can escalate to a frontal confrontation between Russia and the West. Stopping this flow of weapons is a primary goal for the Russian attacks on railroad stations, bridges, and infrastructures, and attacks on airfields (one of the most recent in Odesa) are also aimed at stopping the deliveries, but weapons continue to flow in and it seems the Russians have difficulties in interdicting those shipments once they leave the point of entries.
Suppose this local war spills over the Ukraine borders to the Baltics, Transnistria, or the Black Sea. If Russia compromises Western interests, it can escalate to the brink of nuclear war or absorb more Western intervention. Unfortunately, we’ll have plenty to add to this and future report in the coming months.