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Putin Sounds Crazy: Russia Thinks the War in Ukraine Is Going ‘According to Plan’

Ukraine Drone Bomber
Makeshift Ukraine Drone Bomber. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

How Can Putin Say Things in Ukraine Are Going According to Plan? – Vladimir Putin is now saying the war in Ukrraine is going “according to plan,” after what the Russians say is a victory in a town in eastern Donetsk called Soledar, which has been the site of heavy fighting and high casualties.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy disputes the area is under Russian control. Zelenskyy said the battle in the region continues without any let-up.

Putin Is Seizing on Just a Smattering of Good News

Russia has sought to maintain momentum and grab the initiative in combat around the city of Bakhmut which Putin’s forces have tried to take for months.

Putin was enthused in an interview with state-run media. “The dynamic is positive. Everything is developing within the framework of the plan of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff.”

More Russian Draftees Headed Toward the Fight in Ukraine?

Putin has repeatedly referred to the conflict in Ukraine as a “special military operation,” even though it is nearly a year old. But Russia has become more organized and reinforced having called up 300,000 reservists last fall and perhaps 500,000 more this year, according to Ukrainian intelligence officials.

This means Russia thinks it can build on what it is believed to be success in the Donbas region and venture outward in a counter-offensive to take ground its military lost to the Ukrainians last year.

Russian Casualties Worse Than Imagined

The Russians may have already lost at least 100,000 soldiers killed or injured, the United States believes. That number is difficult to confirm, but it is safe to say that Russia has suffered casualties way beyond what it expected.

The Kremlin believed that the initial invasion would overwhelm the Ukrainian military and enable a quick capitulation of Zelenskyy’s government. That didn’t happen and Russia has suffered a blood bath.

Russia’s Ukraine Plan: Hit the Cities Hard and Make the Civilians Suffer

At this point, with attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, Putin hoped Ukrainian cities would be plunged into darkness without heat or water.

This was an attempt to demoralize the public and convince the Ukrainians that further resistance would be costly.

But even with the tragic outcomes of the aerial bombing with cruise missiles and loitering “kamikazedrones, Ukraine has not given up the will to fight.

The latest serious missile strike happened in the city of Dnipro where 40 to 50 people died in their destroyed apartment block where 72 residences were blown apart.

New General, Old Tricks in Ukraine

Ukraine has showed it can maintain a stiff upper lip and continue fighting. Meanwhile, Russia has changed the leadership of its war effort. Valery Gerasimov, who had served as Russia’s chief of the general staff for years, is now directly in charge of the leadership of the war in Ukraine.

Gerasimov replaces General Sergei Surovikin as theater commander, who had served since October. Gerasimov is hoping that a clear victory in Soledar and Bakhmut would give Russia a much needed morale boost to allow Putin to brag more.

Combine Mercenaries with Contract Soldiers and Draftees

However, Gerasimov needs the new conscripts to be trained better as they have reportedly been thrown into battle in eastern Donetsk without preparation in costly frontal attacks.

Gerasimov seems to have decided that Russia will continue to use mercenaries from the private military contractor Wagner Group to exploit holes in the Ukrainian defenses.

Ukrainian Forces Not Backing Down

The defenders have proved to be stubborn and experienced fighters who can withstand extensive artillery and rocket attacks from Russia.

They are defending in depth, so in case they completely lose Soledar and Bakhmut they can fall back to a new line of emplacements and take on the occupiers again.

If Putin thinks this war of attrition is going according to plan, he is trying to put lipstick on a pig, but Gerasimov is a wily warrior, and Russia is not likely to take the pressure away.

Expect more Russian attacks in the Donbas and extensive bombing of civilians to continue, despite the new general in charge of the overall effort and his minor battlefield successes.

Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.