What tactics helped the Russian army gain an advantage in the Donbass?

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The Russian army on the Donbass front is using a series of new tactics, including encircling – dividing small areas and “throwing stones to guide the way”.

After more than 3 months since conducting a special military operation, the Russian Army seems to have found the right tactics to gain an overwhelming advantage in Donbass, when dividing its forces, trying to close the siege with goals. small targets, separating the defense force from the supply lines and reinforcements; while using maximum artillery fire to crush the enemy’s will to resist.

The Russian army maximized its artillery power on besieged targets, causing significant casualties among Ukrainian defenses in the Donbass region . Ukrainian President Zelensky admitted on May 22 that up to 50-100 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 500 wounded every day in the Donbass battlefield.

At such a speed, Ukraine could lose up to 3,000 troops a month, and the number of wounded soldiers could reach two divisions. This is a serious loss for the Ukrainian forces defending in Donbass, whose number was about 30,000 before the outbreak of hostilities and was added after the general mobilization.

A report on May 24 of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), based in Washington, US, said that Russian forces last week controlled more areas than at the beginning of May, especially the area. area around the city of Severodonetsk in the Lugansk Oblast and neighboring villages

Mr. Gadai, Governor of Lugansk province, said that the number of shelling attacks on Severodonetsk is increasing exponentially. About 10,000 Russian troops and 2,500 units of equipment are participating in the attack on the city in the western part of Lugansk province.

Experts say that Russia’s advance in Donbass is not too fast, but shows the effectiveness of new tactics. The Russian army no longer sought to encircle a large area, instead dividing the enemy with smaller sieges, especially focusing on the city of Severodonetsk.

Eduard Basurin, commander of the armed unit of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), confirmed that Russian forces and the separatists are working to create small encirclements, to cut off supply lines and separate them. Ukrainian reinforcements with frontline units.

The maintenance of Russian operational logistics in the Donbass is also much easier, thanks to the shorter route from the Russian border to the region. They also take advantage of the dense rail network in Lugansk province, which has been largely controlled by the separatists since 2014.

In addition, units participating in the special military operation, after withdrawing from Kiev and Mariupol, were sent to support the Donbass region; but it was the change of tactics that brought important victories to the Russian army.

Along with the encirclement and division tactics, the Russian army is applying more flexible and cautious attack tactics on the battlefield. Battles often begin with relentless artillery fire, then reconnaissance detachments with Russian armor advance, close to the Ukrainian line and open fire.

When the Ukrainian soldiers returned fire and revealed their defensive positions, the Russian reconnaissance team withdrew and instructed the Ukrainian fire points that had just appeared for the artillery to continue to extinguish. This tactic can be understood as “throwing rocks”

Despite the progress made, the Russian Army also suffered losses. US officials on June 1 estimated that the overall combat strength of the Russian army had decreased by about 20%. At the end of March, NATO estimated that between 7,000-15,000 Russian troops had been killed.

Faced with the risk of defeat in the Donbass, Ukraine is urging the West to provide more powerful weapons, including the M270 long-range rocket launcher. This type of rocket artillery has many variations, can hit targets more than 80 km away when using normal ammunition and 165 km if using rockets.

The tactical features of the M270 rocket launcher go far beyond the weapons that Ukraine currently possesses and are expected to significantly add to the country’s arsenal. However, Russia stated that if Ukraine possessed the M270 cannon, this would be the number 1 hunting target of the Russian Army.

Military experts believe that the Russia-Ukraine conflict will be difficult to end in a short time. It is also unlikely that Russia will control all of the two breakaway regions in the Donbass anytime soon, especially as Ukraine receives more Western heavy weapons.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Army also seems to be far from capable of launching a counter-attack to turn the tide. According to calculations, the heavy weapons that the West has pledged to aid, will take at least two months to reach the combat zone. This may cause Russian forces to continue to maintain a fire advantage for the foreseeable future.

There are indications that Russian officials are satisfied with the current progress of the operation in Ukraine. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on May 24 that the Russian Army intentionally reduced the momentum of its attack to avoid civilian casualties. This also shows that Russia is preparing for a protracted war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the biggest threat to Ukraine is that the West becomes tired or ununited if hostilities drag on for too long. Phil Osborn, a former head of Britain’s defense intelligence agency, said the military situation showed that Ukraine needed as much help from the West as possible.

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