Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment — 16 March 2022
Here are today’s items of interest from the Russo-Ukraine War:
· The ISW assessrep for 16 March 2022.
o In some areas, particularly around Kyiv, Ukrainian forces appear to be seizing ground back from the Russians.
o The Russians have reportedly lost another division commander near Donbas. They are losing leadership almost as fast as they are losing tanks.
o Moscow continues to pull forces from other operational areas including Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Might be a prime opportunity for Georgia to restore its own territorial integrity while Putin deals with his new Ulcer.
o Indications are that currently, the Russian naval infantry is not we prepared or positioned for an opposed landing at Odessa.
· The exchange rate of the Russian ruble to USD is currently
o Look for the value of the ruble to rise slightly as India decides to purchase Russian oil to offset rising gas prices. This is going to make some conversations among the Quad super awkward…
o The shot in the arm from India comes as Putin acknowledges some “new realities” for the Russian economy in the coming years, and Russia risks defaulting on international debts for the first time since 1998 because they are only allowed to pay in USD. There is a clear benefit of being the world’s economic superpower and controller of the world’s reserve currency…
· There are rumblings of a potential coup attempt in Belarus, but currently very little information is available.
o This may actually be true since a high-ranking Belarussian government official just called the Lushenko government a “puppet regime” and warning that Belarus faces repercussions as a coconspirator to Russian aggression in Ukraine via a video posted to his Twitter account.
o OR this may be a false flag attack as we saw with the 2016 “coup” attempt in Turkey where the so-called plotters fail Coup Rule #1: capture the head of state that you intend to overthrow.
o For now, it is too early to tell what is actually happening on the ground in Belarus, but an actual coup that is successful will complicate Russia’s already very tenuous operational situation, whereas a false flag attack would likely be used to prod Belarussian forces to take direct part in the Ukrainian invasion. Seems life along the length of the Dnieper is going to stay complicated for a while.
· Dr. Ben Connable, an excellent conflict analyst from RAND, offers his thoughts on the futility of a Russian occupation of Ukraine. Of course, even Vlad the Terrible says he does not intend to occupy Ukraine. Guess we should just take him at his word.
· Twenty-one days of invading Ukraine, and twenty-one days of war crimes. Russia just got booted from the Council of Europe (see picture below).
· Current map from OSINT integrator @JominiW. It is important to note that temperatures are getting hotter now, and what ground remained frozen over the winter is now going to start thawing. This is going to present an enormous problem for Russian armor forces to be able to maneuver and fight away from paved roads. Terrain and weather continue to favor Ukraine.