What is Putin aiming for now? Ukraine at the crossroads of fate

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Russia continues to invade Ukraine. Russian troops launched a full-scale invasion on February 24, approaching Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and the second city of Kharkov, and it seems that some urban warfare is taking place. According to the US Department of Defense, Russian troops have deployed 190,000 troops in areas such as the border with Ukraine. Initially, about half of these were invested, but now it is said that the number of personnel has been increased to two-thirds. There are also reports that the Russian army’s advance speed is slowing due to resistance by the Ukrainian army.

Goro Matsumura, former Chief of Staff of the Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), said, “From the reports, it is not clear whether there is a large-scale organized battle between the Russian army and the Ukrainian army. Attack immediately after the invasion by the Russian army. It may be that the surviving troops, brave soldiers, and citizens continue to resist like a partisan. ” Strong resistance if there is a portable anti-tank missile that the UK announced in January that it has begun supplying to Ukraine, and a portable surface-to-air missile “Stinger” that the German government decided to provide to Ukraine on the 26th. Become a means.

Ukraine, with its breadbasket, has few chokepoints to meet the oncoming Russian troops. Russian troops may also be able to reach major cities relatively easily. The capital Kyiv has the Dnieper River on the east side and forests on the northwest side. It seems difficult for Russian troops to siege and completely blockade Kyiv, but it seems possible to prevent Ukrainian troops from rushing to reinforcements from the surrounding area.

However, it is not easy to fight Ukrainian troops, volunteers and civilians hidden in the city. According to Mr. Matsumura, there is a phrase “Forest drinks soldiers” inherited from the former Japanese Army to the Self-Defense Forces. Combat using modern weapons, which is possible in the plains, does not work for opponents hiding in the forest. It means that no matter how many troops you put into the forest, there is no end to it. The city is a modern forest.

Moreover, in Ukraine, the government teaches citizens how to make Molotov cocktails, and the pictures show the citizens actually preparing. Citizens’ morale seems to be high, with President Zelensky saying, “Stay in Kyiv.”

“If you’re aiming for victory in urban warfare, a large airstrike like the one the US military did in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 would be effective, but Russia wouldn’t take that option,” Matsumura said. Indeed, Putin said in a speech on February 24 that the military invasion “is aimed at protecting those who have been oppressed by the Ukrainian government for eight years.” A full-scale airstrike in Kyiv will inevitably lead to a large number of civilian deaths, international criticism of Russia will culminate, and Russia’s position will undoubtedly worsen. President Putin seems to be convinced that “NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) will not intervene” after careful preparation, but Germany gradually changed its policy as mentioned above and decided to provide weapons to Ukraine. In the “calculation”, cracks are beginning to appear.