from the failed offensive to carnage, a month of war for the Russian army

A Russian army tank destroyed during an attempt to enter the city of Irpin (Ukraine), March 11, 2022.

The offensive machine is blocked. Launched on February 24, the dazzling war of annihilation of Ukraine wanted by Vladimir Putin has been experiencing a brutal slowdown for three weeks. A real stagnation, masked by the storm of fire projected on the civilians, in the hospitals of Tchernihiv, the residential suburbs of kyiv, the theater of Mariupol.

It is too early to settle the accounts of an invasion operation which, in addition to Crimea and the separatist regions of Donbass taken in 2014, has already conquered an additional 49,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory – this is more than the Belgium, as much as Denmark. But, after a month of war, tactical reverses and voluntary pauses of the troops intertwine, to outline a possible failure of the Russian army.

The Russian bog down

Vladimir Putin wanted “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country in less than a week, according to converging analyses. A company whose exorbitant human, political and economic cost is increasing day by day. For a month, the Ukrainian army has been resisting. None of the country’s major cities are occupied, except Kherson at the mouth of the Dnieper in the south of the country. Thus Kharkiv, an emblematic strategic goal because the country’s second city with 1.5 million inhabitants in the north, yet very close to the Russian border, did not fall even though it was savagely bombarded. The Russian army seems to have given up on conquering it for the time being.

“Russian forces have not launched any large-scale attacks since March 4. One has the impression of an army which has persisted in pursuing a bad plan until it finds itself interwoven, dispersed, and blocked in front of localities”, noted on March 16 the former French colonel and historian Michel Goya, who writes a regular bulletin of operations. This army even suffered serious setbacks. Zaporizhia held on, even though its nuclear power plant is in Russian hands. Ukrainian soldiers drove their opponents out of Voznessensk, a city of 35,000 inhabitants, taken for three days and then liberated in mid-March. On March 21, they “repulsed with heavy losses an armored regiment from the south of Izium. Involving two air assault brigades (without helicopters), it is arguably the largest Ukrainian attack of the war,” notes M. Goya.

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Moscow’s troops are fixed on a few cities, locks identified in the invasion plan, which they have therefore undertaken to annihilate for lack of possession of them, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Mariupol. “Death is everywhere” AP journalists reported on March 16, immersed in the martyrdom of Mariupol. “The surrounding roads are mined, and the port blocked. Food is running out and the Russians have blocked humanitarian attempts to deliver it. Parents have even left their newborn babies in the hospital, hoping to give them a chance to live in a place with water and electricity. »

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