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Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. After a short initial phase of the invasion, in which Russia's forces advanced quickly but did not take stable control of a lot of area and gradually met stiff resistance in many areas, it reconfigured its attack and began a very slow but artillery-heavy advance in the South and East of Ukraine. While the front lines have not been static - and there was even a Ukrainian/NATO counter-offensive late last year which regained a lot of territory around Kharkiv - quasi-static lines are what we seem to be seeing along most of the front. I don't recall a single major Russian/LPR/DPR ground offensive since the initial phase of the war - and their losses seem to be much lighter than the Ukrainians.

So, what is the strategy here? Is Russia expecting to:

  • Wear down the Ukrainian/NATO forces in terms of personnel, equipment or ordnance, until they can no longer maintain their stance?
  • Win the war piecemeal, by taking one town after another? (And if so - how does this square with the organized retreat from Kherson?)
  • Go out on a significant offensive at some point in the near future?
  • Keep a "draw" with hopefully small losses, until NATO, the US or the EU agree to negotiate a political arrangement?
  • Something else?

Now, please don't tell me what you think Russia is doing. I'm interested in what Russia thinks it's doing. So, an answer based on official or leaked Russian statements would be best, and barring that - estimates by specialists/professionals: Military historians, Russian affairs scholars etc.

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    This probably isn't answerable from public info. Putin seems quite deliberately vague about what exactly they will do - both for military (don't forewarn your enemy) and political reasons (don't commit to something you could fail at). On the other side, from Western military analysts, let's take round #2 of mobilization. Some groups, like Ukraine spokespeople, are claiming a second round is imminent. Other people, like Michael Kofman say that, no, too much political risk and Russia would struggle to train&equip them on short notice. Yet mob#2, or not, would be a key determinant to intent. Feb 3, 2023 at 0:56
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    This is a military secret such that even USA would not tell if they managed to spy this out. This can only be answered with speculations. Seems not going to surrender so far.
    – Stančikas
    Feb 3, 2023 at 5:53
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    "what Russia thinks it's doing" Problem is that we cannot look into Russia's heads, so we cannot know what they're thinking. What their saying is pure propaganda and useless. Or would you be satisfied with de-nazification as an answer? Complete operational planning documents aren't available, if you want them but for what it's worth, most people think that Russia wants to concentrate on occupying the remaining parts of Luhansk and Donetzk oblasts in the next weeks. Isn't particularly informative either. Feb 3, 2023 at 8:21
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    I find insistence on saying "Ukrainian/NATO" peculiar, considering that Ukraine is not part of NATO and there are no NATO forces in Ukraine. There was no "Ukrainian/NATO counter-offensive", there was only Ukrainian counteroffensive. Despite occasional russian claims otherwise, NATO is not directly involved in this war.
    – M i ech
    Feb 3, 2023 at 8:28
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    I have voted to reopen this question as there are ample sources to indicate what the Russians want and how their military tactics are aligned to the goals they want to achieve.
    – sfxedit
    Feb 3, 2023 at 20:32

5 Answers 5

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TLDR:

(note: I voted to close this Q. Since it got reopened and has no pending close votes, I'll instead try to explain why, IMHO, it can't be answered as asked).

We don't know what they'll resort to next. When it happens, we'll see. Or not - (see ongoing debate re. Bakhmut ** strategic efficiency).

Asking this question is understandable. Expecting it to be answered definitively is however unrealistic.


What has Russia stated?

Russia has stated very little to date. Putin has not even clearly articulated his overall political war aims besides de-Nazification, blocking NATO and annexing 4 Ukrainian regions.

Why would we expect him to communicate their military strategies??? Doing so would a) allow Ukraine to develop plans to counteract them and b) commit Putin and MoD to certain goals which would look bad domestically if they weren't met.

Military strategies are usually kept secret in wars.

Maybe too many of us have been brought up in the 2004+ timeline of communicated strategies by the US DoD about Iraq and Afghanistan: "we plan a surge", "we plan to develop the countryside", "we plan to transition to national forces". A counter insurgency war demands clear communication of to the local population and to the population back at home which has no direct risk from a war they are funding and a has say. That's why you have these statements of intent.

Ukraine 2022 is not that war. It's more akin to WW2, where strategic misdirection was a common ploy (or Ukraine's announcement of "all in for Kherson" in July/August).

What's are they gonna do, from their options?

Wear down the Ukrainian/NATO forces in terms of personnel, equipment or ordnance, until they can no longer maintain their stance?

Win the war piecemeal, by taking one town after another? (And if so - how does this square with the organized retreat from Kherson? *)

Go out on a significant offensive at some point in the near future?

Keep a "draw" with hopefully small losses, until NATO, the US or the EU agree to negotiate a political arrangement?

Any of them are candidates. Either one after another or simultaneously. All of these seem valid approaches. Maybe they'll try one, then shift to another? Maybe they'll do any of these in the short term, but hope to cash in on Western weariness and energy insecurity in winter 2023? More people can chip in with more options to choose from.

After a year of operation...

We can see Russia has followed several strategies:

  • Decapitation of existing Ukraine regime, until April

  • Grinding battle of attrition and territorial acquisition - Severodonestk - until Sept

  • Defense, then force conservation - Kherson * - until Dec

  • Back to grinding - ongoing

    Bakhmut ** being one location, but they are attacking at many locations.

We also see a strategy of attacking civilian energy infrastructure.

They haven't stated their reasons there, but the Western press consensus is to use their vergeltungswaffen to terrorize the population, which is brutish but unlikely to work. On the other hand, people like Kofman (War on the Rocks) state that there is a major economic risk by a) shooting down cheap plentiful missiles with costly, scarce, counter missiles and b) driving down Ukraine GDP which will require even more Western cash infusion to keep Ukraine, the country going, on top of weapon donations.

Which is it? Gotta read Putin's and his pals mind for that.

Limits of analysis

We have had a number of major strategic possible axis of action by Putin and the gang.

  • use, or not of nukes
  • re-invasion from Belarus
  • round 2 of mobilization
  • state of Putin's constraints wrt Russian public opinion support/opposition to war

Besides a lot of poor trees being cut down to chat about these, what have we learned, concretely, about their intentions? Very little. Even the pronouncements by different actors - Medvedev re. nukes, round #2 of mobilization by Ukraine intelligence have political motivations for being made.

A lot of what we are told in the Western media is gleaned by analyzing milbloggers, or by listening to Ukraine PR, which has its own agenda.

Another risk in assessing possible strategies is that most Western press tends to summarily dismiss most Russian military activities as being brutish and inefficient. Yes, it has been mostly so, to date, but the risk remains that they may yet learn (Russia's military leadership in '44/45 was light years past its '41 version).

Russia's "strategy" seems driven very much from the top

So there is little to be known about it beforehand without reading Putin's mind.

For example, the numerous reports of soldiers thinking they were still on maneuvers and exercises Feb 23 and 24, 2022, right as they were invading. As well as the near-constant rotation of top commanders. So it is secretive, capricious and not always best practices in military terms (way too much diffusion of efforts in the first phase and under-use of aviation).

I could make a comparison to Hitler dictating illogical military strategies in late WW2, but I know that will upset Russians, so I'll use one which should make them much happier: Stalin dictating illogical military strategies in early WW2 (before he let the generals do their job).

Bottom line:

Without deep access to Russian leadership's thinking we can't say for sure. Only hypothesize. And even then that is limited by trying to apply logic to a war which seems, at core, illogical. Both in starting it ("The only winning move is not to play"), or the way Russia has failed at effectively prosecuting it.

p.s. what we do know

  • Russia has mobilized 300+k men. Only some of them had been used until mid-January, to stiffen resistance in the Kreminna area. They have the rest to do something with or train some more.

  • Mud season starts in mid/late March and will last into summer

  • Russia may want to do something before the 150-ish Western modern main battle tanks make it to the front, which will be 4-6 weeks at least.

  • Russia used to "spend" lots of armor to conserve manpower. Now, it has reversed, especially in Bakhmut. They husband their hardware, but throw lots of warm bodies. Does that mean they've given up on maneuver warfare? Are they saving their gear for a big offensive?

  • Putin has given no serious indication of negotiation. Russia is somewhat restructuring its economy to strengthen their military industrial complex, which indicates wanting to stick it out.

  • Russian wunderwaffen aren't very wonderful or plentiful and are being kept out of harms way in Ukraine (Armata tanks, Su-57). T-62s seem considerably more on the menu, perhaps indicative of having to fight with men rather than equipment in the future (which might lead to more slow attrition like we are seeing now, maybe at higher scale. Rather than any novel strategies).

  • Russia is getting more disciplined. They are digging defensive positions and being more careful, have lots more troops and have a much shorter front. On the defense, they won't be as easy to catch with their pants down a la Kharkiv/Izyum.

  • Russia has annexed several regions in their entirety and Crimea too. Until such time as Putin walks that back, they will want to capture all of their territory, because they are "Mother Russia Land". Due to the river, Kherson is somewhat out of the question and they already have Crimea. That leaves the others.

  • It is hard to see how Russian atrocities in Bucha and other areas would be conducive to achieving limited goals by Russia without needing to first fully defeat by Ukraine by force of arms or by starvation from Western arms (donations which are rendered more politically palatable to Western publics due to Russian war crimes).

  • Comparisons to the casualties accepted by Russians in WW2 are misleading. Stalin had absolute power, backed by Gulags and the NKVD. But more importantly, Russians had no choice but to keep on fighting, having been designated, and treated, as "untermenschen" by the Nazis. Russia, in 2023, can... leave Ukraine. If anything the comparison applies more to Ukrainians who know to expect very little good from Russian governance.

*Kherson.

This place had a strong potential to become a Russian Dien Bien Phu, with their best troops getting cut off from supplies across the river. Getting out was a military decision and, unfortunately, shows that at times Putin can be rational about respecting military necessities over political expediency.

** Bakhmut

In the case of an ongoing operation, Bakhmut, there is even disagreement in the Western press of what the strategy is there, with the overwhelming (but unconvincing) narrative being that is no military strategy at play, only political posturing within Russian elites, leading to massive losses.

Russia hasn't told us.

An alternative, less popular, more alarming, interpretation, Michael Kofman's for example, says that Ukraine is forced to trade good soldiers against throwaway low quality troops (convicts) and units outside the MoD (Wagner). And that, as we don't know the extent of UA losses we are unable to ascertain exactly how Bakhmut is playing out.

When judging whether UA is wise to hold out Bakhmut you may also want to assess if it's favorable enough terrain on the defense. If other areas in the vicinity are not as favorable, might as well hold out there.

Last, one thing we certainly know about Bakhmut is that Russia media is trumpeting their great achievements in almost conquering a city of 70000 after 5? months of going for it. If it falls, expect a Russian narrative of strategic genius and overwhelming victory. Like Sievierodonetsk which achieved little of the sort in hindsight.

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  • Well, Putin announced his troop surge too. Stuff like that is really hard to keep hidden nowadays, unless you're North Korea, which Russia isn't quite yet. OTOH for strategic misdirection by announcements one doesn't have to look back as far as WW2. The US+allies plan in the first Gulf war or even the Izyum [counter-]offensive by the Ukrainians... Feb 5, 2023 at 21:06
  • Yes, true about Gulf War 1 and updated re. Ukraine - I think they would have taken any area they could, Izyum happened to work for them. But Kherson was a trap to lure Russia in. The ongoing expectation seems that RU will try something on Svatove Kreminna area. But that's speculation... which this Q is above ;-) Feb 5, 2023 at 21:07
  • About keeping hidden - I think satellites are making that very hard. Even the Maxar pix released to the public are pretty telling, I imagine NATO is busy reading license plates by now. Not a valid subject for this site, but I do wonder how Russia dropped the ball so much with their sats on Izyum/Kharkiv. Maybe UA just didn't really mass until they had a breakthrough and it was too late? Otherwise another good one from the fail army. Feb 5, 2023 at 21:14
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    Nah, Ukraine even massed their best (i.e. most accurate, i.e. M777 guns) for that offensive. Russia seems to have poor recon. When (or more precisely did you see high res images of the enemy in Russian propaganda? Most of it is blurry crap. Feb 5, 2023 at 21:31
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    @einpoklum I didn't describe B. the way you think (I'll adjust my wording). I think UA losses there are probably more significant than we are led to believe. Which leads me back to Western press coverage making too easy to cite to support the narrative of Russian incompetence making it hard to get good answers until operations are well underway. Generally, the more dismissive the answer re. RU here, the higher the votes. Feb 5, 2023 at 22:02
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Well, if you take CNN's word for this, Putin's most obvious strategy is to bank on a collapse of Western support for Ukraine:

“By and large, the Ukrainian economy cannot exist without external support,” [Putin] said. “Once you stop this, everything will be over in a week. Finished. The same applies to the defense system: Imagine that supplies will stop tomorrow — you will only have a week to live when the ammunition runs out.”

These remarks were perhaps Putin’s most clear articulation to date his strategy in Ukraine: He is counting on the Western alliance that backs Ukraine to fracture, the longer the gruesome war of attrition grinds on. And developments in recent days, to the alarm of Ukraine’s supporters, suggest that Putin’s plan may be gaining some traction.

Aside from this, it looks like China got serious about limiting the supply of drones, not only to Ukraine, but to Europe as a whole.

Russia has not given up on offensives. They've attacked Avdiivka repeatedly in the past month, mostly with mechanized columns of Donetsk militia, as I understand. Anyhow, the intensity of this effort surprised some Western observers:

Moscow's latest offensive began on October 10 and saw "Russian forces simultaneously attacking the northwest, west and south of Avdiivka using armored assault groups, rotary wing aircraft and concentrated artillery," a joint forces maneuver previously rarely used by Russia because it had been poorly executed. "It is likely to be the most significant offensive operation undertaken by Russia since at least January 2023," confirmed the British Ministry of Defence in a note [...]

Analysts are puzzled by the sheer size of the attack, given that Moscow has so far seemed to be concentrating its efforts on defending the front in southern Ukraine, where Kyiv's troops have been engaged in a vast counter-offensive since June.


What I wrote back in Feb:

I think you'll find the official Russian pronouncements rather vague. Or at least those that get translated in the Western media; mid-January:

"The dynamics are positive," Putin said. "Everything is developing within the plan of the Defense Ministry and the General Staff. And I hope that our fighters will please us more than once again with the results of their combat work." [...]

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu admitted during a meeting with top generals that the military was falling short in several areas, and stressed the need for improvements in the country's air force, including its overall striking capabilities, as well as its communication and training systems. He also said that the air force should also make greater use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones.

"Our immediate plans are to expand the arsenals of modern strike weapons," Shoigu said. "We need to improve the management and communication system."

So the Russian leadership message is that all is going "according to plan", even though there are some improvement to be made in terms of equipment.

The US or at least CIA director Burns interpreted that and other signals from Russia as Putin having no intention of really negotiating, so essentially that he's looking to outlast Ukraine in a long slugging match on the battlefield. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby came to the same conclusion.


And this may not be stated much (as a strategy, from the Russian side), but attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure have kicked up in high gear in November.

The national energy system had been resistant to attacks in September and October, localising power outages to certain badly hit communities. On average, only 0.5% productive time was lost in September and 2.3% in October. [...]

Overall, Ukraine lost over 12% of its productive time in November, which is a substantial increase compared to September-October. This increase included a loss of over 23% of productive time during the last seven days of the month.

So it's starting to resemble much more of a total war on the Ukrainians, or at least on their economy.

Putin acknowledges the energy campaign/attacks as such, but he says it's justified by Ukraine having "started it" by attacking the Kerch bridge and the Kursk nuclear power plant.


One can hardly call Prigozhin the ultimate authority on Russia's strategy, but FWTW:

He said that could take 1-1/2 to two years [to completely retake the full territory claimed by the DPR].

"If we have to get to the Dnipro, then it will take about three years," Prigozhin added [...]


Late 2023 update:

Russian President Vladimir Putin can certainly read the writing on the wall. In a press conference this week, he was defiant, stating clearly that there was no change in his plans in Ukraine. “Peace will come when we achieve our goals,” Putin said. He also added that it would be possible to repair relations with the US once “internal changes” were made.

Reuters had more extensive quotes from that Putin presser, e.g.

"Almost along the entire front line, our armed forces, let's put it modestly, are improving their position. Almost everyone is in an active stage of action. Our troops' situation is improving throughout."

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    Yup. The Dear Leader's speeches are transcribed here. See Dec 22 Q/A journalists : As for me speaking little or sparingly about it, this is logical. On the one hand, I may be sparing words, but the Defence Ministry holds daily briefings to report to the public and the country about what is going on, where this is taking place, in what manner and so on. "it" being the war. Maybe the MoD is more specific, but doubt it or whether their briefings get translated. Feb 3, 2023 at 22:54
  • We could do the translation ourselves and see if maybe in Russian Russian politicians mentioned any details, but I doubt it. Feb 4, 2023 at 0:08
  • I'm assuming Russia has some sort of plan. The question is what plan... :-\
    – einpoklum
    Feb 4, 2023 at 15:42
  • Avdeevka is a suburb of Donetsk from which Ukraine can shell Donetsk with artillery, and repeatedly does. Not surprising that an attempt is made against it.
    – alamar
    Oct 23, 2023 at 6:11
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They’re running low on artillery. They’re running low on standoff munitions, and they are substituting by sending convicts in human waves into places like Bakhmut and Soledar

This is the citation from the The New York Times article, according to that the number of Russian troops killed and wounded in Ukraine is approaching 200,000. Russia analysts say that the loss of life is unlikely to be a deterrent to Mr. Putin’s war aims. He has no political opposition at home and has framed the war as the kind of struggle the country faced in World War II, when more than 8 million Soviet troops died. Putin can sustain hundreds of thousands of casualties in Ukraine.

Hence the strategy is to use the victory on the internal propaganda field to build the large army that would not care about the own losses much.

NATO intelligence estimates that for every Ukrainian soldier killed defending Bakhmut, Russian forces have lost at least five (source). This is of course the "western" narrative. But they do not say Russia cannot really win with these methods:

What we see is that Russia is throwing more troops, more forces and what Russia lacks in quality they try to make up in quantity (...) It just highlights that we should not underestimate Russia. We must continue to provide support to Ukraine (source).

Still, V. Putin must supersede even J. Stalin for this to work. While numerous victims were accepted in Stalingrad, this was a fight very clearly inside the territory of the Soviet Union, and it was very obvious that the country is in danger. Now the own aggression into foreign country must be raised to the same level of significance.

Recently some sayings also appeared that Russia is ready for a war against Ukraine to become a permanent, essential and long lasting part of the national strategy:

Not everyone in this country yet understands what we’re going to have to pay to win this war (Alexander Dugin).

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    Ukraine is also running low on some kinds of arty. That has actually enabled more Russian infantry advances, even without much armor support. Feb 3, 2023 at 8:23
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    Why do you believe it is relevant to cite the prominent establishment newspaper of Russia's greatest adversary as a news source about Russia is faring? Especially after its atrocious record on covering Russian affairs over the recent several years? You might as well cite the Atlantic Council... Anyway, that's note what I asked for in my question.
    – einpoklum
    Feb 3, 2023 at 9:19
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    And from a military standpoint, this is a very, very difficult fight. This fight stretches all the way from right now, as the front line goes from all the way from Kharkiv down to Kherson, and there's significant fighting ongoing ... So from a military standpoint, I still maintain that for this year it would be very, very difficult to militarily eject the Russian forces from all -- every inch of Ukraine and occupied -- or Russian-occupied Ukraine. That doesn't mean it can't happen; doesn't mean it won't happen, but it'd be very, very difficult. (contd.)
    – sfxedit
    Feb 5, 2023 at 11:06
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    (contd.) How do you resolve your views with opposing statements like the above, from a US general, that says that Ukraine is unlikely to dislodge the Russians, vs your perception that Russia is militarily"weak"?
    – sfxedit
    Feb 5, 2023 at 11:10
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    This answer does not say Russia is military weak when they can build a large army even if with Soviet era weapons. It is confirmed by your link: Nato expects victory of course but not an easy one.
    – Stančikas
    Feb 5, 2023 at 11:25
1

Russia stated its military strategy rather vaguely in the words of President Vladimir Putin and State Duma (Russian Parliament) members, as well as in the news and discussions broadcast on Russian state-sponsored television. Russia is expecting to:

  • Advance on Ukraine with conventional weapons, using hundreds of thousands of new recruits, including prisoners recruited from penal colonies.
  • Wear out the support by Ukrainian civilians for armed resistance by continued attacks on civilians and the civilian infrastructure and other war crimes.
  • Use nuclear weapons against Ukraine and the West.

REFERENCES:

Alexander Kazakov, State Duma (Russian Parliament) member: There is a simple choice: either right now in Soledar, Vuhledar, Mar'inka we'll chop these dirtbags up by tens of thousands, or these ten thousands will, as Pentagon tells them to, meet us in Kharkiv, a city of millions, and we'll be stuck there for about 100 years, like in the cities in the Middle East. Otherwise, we'll have to demolish Kharkiv like Mariupol. And after Kharkiv, Dnipro, and then, Kirovohrad, and then Vinnytsia, Khmelnitsky and Lviv.

[...]

Alexey Zhuravlyov, State Duma member: To me, a slightly radioactive Ukraine is less important than lives of my soldiers. That's the way it is. [...] Otherwise, we'll keep fighting and losing thousands to take Zaporizhzhia.

"Russian lawmakers argue about military strategies", Russian Media Monitor. January 30, 2023: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ek9fM-g6MQ


The Wagner Group has been recruiting large numbers of prisoners for Putin's war in Ukraine and hiring in penal colonies in Russia, offering male prisoners commuted sentences and cash incentives in return for six months of military service in Ukraine.

Vladimir Osechkin, a Russian human rights activist and the head of the Gulagu.net anti-corruption project, a prisoners' rights group, told Newsweek last week that since February 24, as many as 30,000 prisoners have been recruited from jails and deployed to Ukraine, while more than 5,000 have been killed in battle and in the camps of the Wagner Group.

"Russia's Wagner Group Resorting to Recruiting Prisoners From Belarus-Report". Isabel van Brugen. Newsweek, January 3, 2023: https://www.newsweek.com/russia-wagner-group-recruiting-prisoners-belarus-war-1770932


Since the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian authorities and armed forces have committed multiple war crimes in the form of deliberate attacks against civilian targets, massacres of civilians, torture and rape of women and children, and indiscriminate attacks in densely populated areas.

War crimes in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crimes_in_the_2022_Russian_invasion_of_Ukraine


Andrey Gurulyov, State Duma (Russian Parliament) member: When I'm being told, "You are a militarist, what in the worlds are you saying?", I am more than certain that until these friends get hit with a nuke on their skull, they won't come to their senses. We have brought up this topic before. There is no other way of talking to these fools. [...] We should make plans beyond the horizon. So that we know what happens in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years, and harshly move towards it in this paradigm. We will win, 100%. Where? Everywhere! Everywhere! And this is by far not about Ukraine. Everywhere! Russia was, is and will be a great nation, capable of bringing peace. Peace is the key word! We bring peace and calm! But we have to draw the conclusion that we didn't take it far enough in 1945 [at the end of WWII]. Today we have to keep pushing to make sure there is no danger and trouble for our country ever again.

"Russian State Duma member says Russia brings peace and calm everywhere it goes", Russian Media Monitor. January 29, 2023: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vny5GySMLFs


However incredible, it is a fact – we are again being threatened with German Leopard tanks with crosses on board. There is again a plan to fight Russia on Ukrainian land using Hitler’s successors, the Banderites.

We know that despite the efforts of official bodies and the corrupt propaganda of the unfriendly Western elites, we have many friends all over the world, including the Americas, North America, and Europe.

However, those that are dragging European countries, including Germany, into a new war with Russia, and especially those that are irresponsibly talking about it as a fait accompli, those who are hoping to defeat Russia on the battlefield, apparently fail to understand that a modern war against Russia will be a completely different war for them. We do not send our tanks to their borders but we have what to respond with, and it is not limited to the use of armour. Everyone must realise this.

Vladimir Putin's speech, Volgograd. February 2, 2023: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvibCwcJTWw
Translation: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/70434

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Russia’s strategy in Ukraine has thus become one of attrition, using military, economic, and diplomatic activities to exhaust Ukraine and its Western backers until they accept the current situation as a new reality. Key to this exhaustion is Ukraine’s ability to resist Russia’s presence on its territory, not its seemingly infinite will to do so. However, this ability to continue the war effort has become almost fully dependent on Western support, both military and economic. This is a vulnerability unlikely to be overlooked by Russian strategists.

https://mwi.westpoint.edu/what-is-russias-strategy-in-ukraine/

They know they have the advantages in a war of attrition, because they have more munition, more artillery and its industry is bigger and focused on waging long wars as it's entirely designed to fuel its military industry and be as independent as possible. So their strategy is to force Ukraine into a surrender, and negotiate a deal that's favorable for Russia's security interest. It's also using Ukraine as an example of what may happen to other Baltic and ex-Soviet country if they decided to join NATO, which Russia sees as a threat.

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