National Security

The Battle For Kyiv Could Decide The War

It's coming soon.

The battle for Kyiv is becoming one of those decisive battles in world history, like Gettysburg, like Stalingrad, that change the course of events. National security ace Rebecca Grant chronicles the situation.

Grant: Vladimir Putin’s strategy is “escalation without an endgame,” the White House said Friday. Don’t you believe it. Putin knows what he wants: to catch Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and take Kyiv.

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As the CIA revealed last week, Putin expected a two-day war. Then came Zelenskyy. Two heroic weeks of unexpected fighting raised hopes, but now the battle for Kyiv is on and Putin is more determined than ever. And there’s very little left for the U.S. and NATO to do, since the alliance is paralyzed by escalation fears.

Like you, I’ve watched with grim satisfaction as Russia tripped up on maneuvers, stalled convoys, inept tank tactics and more. The “video of Russian tank units near Brovary running away will be engraved in the memory of the whole world,” praised Ukraine’s defense minister on Friday.

That phase of Russian indecision is over. Putin is going after Kyiv the ugly way.

Putin has cranked up Russian firepower, with more ground-based missiles and airstrikes. Russian ground forces crept closer to Kyiv and the famous “stalled convoy” woke up and dispersed into the woods, the Pentagon reported Wednesday.

Last week this could have been stopped with NATO airpower. Now the war comes down to a close-in fight. Here’s what to expect.

 

From Putin: Russia’s fighting mode is all about long-range firepower. Russian forces will take up artillery positions of relative safety and fire down on Kyiv.

Next, Russia will continue to move smaller armored units – tanks – into Kyiv’s suburbs, heading for roads and bridges and testing Ukraine’s resistance. Look at the map. You can see how Russian forces already form pincers from east and west…

From Zelensky: The Ukrainian president’s top job right now is to remain optimistic and let Ukraine’s military and civilians see they still have a chance to defeat Russia. On Friday, Zelensky praised Ukraine for holding out 16 days, four times longer than predicted, and encouraged Ukrainians to go ahead with spring planting. That’s optimism!

But Zelensky’s military options are dwindling. His best tactic is to continue launching counter-attacks at multiple locations against the Russian tanks and patrols probing into Kyiv. The Javelin anti-tank missiles being successfully used by Ukraine reach about two miles and can be fired from inside buildings. They lock on the Russian target then pop up a few hundred feet to dive down and hit from above. Ukraine’s outnumbered defenders must harass and hit Russian resupply vehicles, too.

Ukraine may drag out the fight until top Russian generals tell Putin they need more troops and supplies to take and hold Ukraine. But if Zelenskyy loses contact with supply lines outside Kyiv, he may choose an organized retreat of some Ukrainian forces and government functions out of Kyiv.

“Putin must fail,” proclaimed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It would be nice to hope that the world might somehow intervene to impose a cease-fire. Unfortunately, Putin’s nuclear blackmail took 30 NATO nations off the chess board. On the streets of Kyiv, it will be up to Zelenskyy to win or lose the war.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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yagah
yagah
3 months ago

Ukraine may drag out the fight until top Russian generals tell Putin they need more troops and supplies to take and hold Ukraine. But if Zelenskyy loses contact with supply lines outside Kyiv, he may choose an organized retreat of some Ukrainian forces and government functions out of Kyiv

Last edited 3 months ago by yagah