No “aces up the sleeve” left for Russia’s armed forces, says former military officer Frank Ledwidge

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The drone attacks on Moscow which began last week represent a change in the strategic approach of Ukraine to the war. For the first time, it appears to be targeting civilian areas, mirroring – albeit at a far smaller scale – Russia’s current approach. There are two clear reasons behind this. First, to demonstrate to Russians that their vaunted air defenses cannot protect them. Second, here is a closely-connected message to the Putin regime: not only are you not immune from attack, but we are now on the offensive. These operations are part of a much larger campaign, which is commonly known as the “counteroffensive” – Ukraine’s summer operations to retake its territory. Along with the incursions of various evidently Ukrainian-sponsored Russian armed-groups to Belgorod, these are intended to “shape” the informational and military space to assist the offensive – destabilizing and deceiving Russian forces. There has been some comment as to whether Putin’s regime will “escalate.” This raises the next question as to what options are available to do so? The answer is simple – few, if any. Further, the decision to supply effective fighter aircraft to Ukraine represents an inflection point in the balance of military power, from which Russia will find it difficult to recover.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Insider
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2023

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