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Russia Completes Draft for Ukraine War and Plans No More Call-Ups, Kremlin Says

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credit…Ivor Prickett of The New York Times

Kyiv, UKRAINE — Ukrainian marches to reclaim lost lands are slowed by autumn mud, but Kyiv’s troops continue their advance to the south as Russia’s hastily established defensive line in the northeast and defending against months of heavy attacks in the Donetsk region.

Both armies now thwart Napoleon’s forces in 1812, slow Hitler’s advance on the Eastern Front in 1941, and wreak havoc on Russian plans for a lightning-quick advance into Ukraine this spring. We are dealing with the challenges posed by the thick clay sludge that we bring.

Twice a year, during the autumn rains and spring thaws, Ukrainian roads can be swallowed up by slopes, leaving mired combat vehicles vulnerable to enemy fire.

There is an old Russian word for muddy season. “Rasputitsa” Ukrainians call it “bezdorizhzhya”, both of which essentially mean “lack of roads”. And without roads, Ukraine’s advance would be slow, as Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told reporters this week.

“It is the rainy season now and it is very difficult to use a wheeled combat vehicle,” he said.

Despite bad weather, fighting escalated as Ukraine attempted to encircle Kreminna, a key city in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region that was occupied by Russian forces in April. If the Ukrainians can retake Kreminna, they could jeopardize a vital Russian logistic artery used to resupply troops in the north of Luhansk and the neighboring Donetsk region.

A Russian military blogger has released video footage of Moscow forces using the TOS-1 thermobaric multiple rocket system to slow the advance of Ukrainian forces. The War Research Institute, a Washington-based research institute, said the use of the powerful system was either due to the Russians prioritizing the region, or that the Russian military had sufficient artillery systems or better suited for standard fire missions. It said it could indicate a lack of ammunition.”

Ukrainian military governor-general in the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haydai, said heavy rains had complicated the ability to move equipment, and since the rapid advance of Ukrainian forces across northeastern Ukraine in September, the number of troops in the region has been increasing. highlighted the challenges for The Russians had time to bring reserves, destroy bridges and dig deeper into their territory to strengthen their defensive positions.

Further south, in the Donetsk region, Russian forces continued a frontal assault on the devastated city of Bakhmut. There, despite months of daily bombardment of military and civilian targets, it failed to gain significant ground.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this week that the fighting around the town had been the deadliest of the war.

“The madness of the Russian command is now most visible there. They are killing people every day for months, concentrating the greatest force of artillery fire there,” he said. Said.

Military analysts say the town, which had a pre-war population of 70,000, is of minimal strategic value, and that Russia’s efforts there are better explained by the competition between different elements of the Russian military. increase.

The Bahmut offensive is led by fighters from the Wagner Mercenary Group, whose founder, Evgeny V. Prigozhin, is seeking higher attention after his military efforts have failed.

Rainy weather makes conditions particularly difficult in Kherson, a largely agricultural area where irrigation canals intersect wide open plains. While the mud is slowing the advance of Ukrainian forces, ill-prepared Russian soldiers are also suffering. The Ukrainian military high command said on Friday that a “lack of winter clothing” had led to widespread “theft and looting” by Russian soldiers.

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Ukrainians have also tried to capitalize on the low morale of the Russian army. Ukraine’s military defense intelligence agency has released a constant stream of intercepted communications among Russian soldiers complaining about the difficult situation. It said it led to “a unique case of desertion and surrender”. These claims could not be independently verified.

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