by Robert M. Traxler
The Secretaries of State and Defense traveling to the capital city of Ukraine, Kiev, was the right thing to do, no if ands or buts, full stop. The trip sent a clear signal to the Russian Federation that the west is in full support of the people of Ukraine.
Visits from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and leaders from the Czech Republics, Poland, Slovenia and others will have a long-term effect on the morale of the Ukrainian people and troops.
The shifting of the main battle from the areas around Kiev to the Dunbar Oblast or Region will work to the Russians’ advantage, as the fighting will be open maneuver as opposed to urban warfare, or battle in built up areas. In the Donbas, the Russians can use their superiority in artillery, both tube and rocket, and their excellent T-80 and lesser capable but still effective T-72 main battle tanks to full advantage. In the battle of the Donbas, the Russians also shorten their supply lines and have a more friendly population, as many are Russian speaking.
During their visit to the capital of Ukraine, Secretary Antony Blinken announced the reopening of our embassy, an excellent move, as it signals that we as a nation stand with Ukraine against aggression. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that we will provide the Ukrainians with 72, 105 millimeter, M77 Howitzers, light artillery that are mobile, using the prime movers we will provide, and thousands of rounds of different types of munitions.
Secretary Austin also announced that we will send more Javelin anti-armor and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, and 120 newer armed drones, the Phoenix Ghost. The Phoenix Ghost will be critical to the upcoming battle, as it can loiter over the battle area and be sent to blunt the Russian tanks at the point of the main axis of advance.
For the Battle for the Dunbar Region, what is needed is counter-battery radar. The Russian doctrine calls for the use of massed artillery, both rocket and tube; counter-battery radar can pinpoint the location of the artillery units even before the first round strikes the ground, and the M77 Howitzers can destroy them in short order. Reports of the United States providing this capability are very contradictory.
Secretary of Defense Austin said that the next six weeks will be critical, and he is correct. The battle of the Donbas Oblast will be the Ukrainians’ Yorktown, the battle that eventually won the American Revolution. If they can defeat the Russians in terrain best suited for the Russian Army and shortened supply lines for the Russians and with a more friendly population (most are Russian speaking), it will give heart to the Ukrainians.
Time is not on the side of Ukraine; the Russians and their allies who are providing troops to the invading forces outnumber the Ukrainians six to one. The Russians have two million troops in their Irregular Ready Reserve (IRR) who are veterans who can be recalled; many already have, to activity duty trained and equipped, mostly with older and even outdated equipment and sent to the battle. Sheer force of numbers will give the Russians an advantage.
The Ukrainians will need to fight the deep battle as the Russians are doing, sending cruise missiles to within a few miles of the Polish border, to interdict resupply columns and destroy supply depots inside of Russia itself. Let’s hope our government has abandoned the policy of not provoking the Russian Bear, and will not attempt to stop or limit offensive actions on the part of the Ukrainians attacking into Russia.
The Russian people approve of this war with an 87% approval rating. Strangely, Vladimir Putin’s most avid supporters are women of middle age and older, a demographic that is normally the most antiwar.
The Russians must be stopped, or we will open the Pandora’s box of nuclear-capable nations invading other nations with impunity, like North Korea invading the South, China invading Taiwan, perhaps Iran (on the brink of possessing nukes) invading Kuwait, and the Russians invading even more nations in search of the pre-1993 glory days of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Finland could very well be next. My opinion.