THE greatest flash of Putin’s bloodbath can only end in a stalemate or crushing defeat for Russia.
The Kremlin’s feared second wave of attacks began with devastating rocket, tank and artillery fire along the 300-mile front line.
It is part of a three-pronged Russian attack to wipe out Ukraine’s most battle-hardened soldiers who have been fighting there since 2014.
If the Ukrainians manage to punch holes in the front line, we could see the biggest tank battles since the end of World War II.
Simultaneously, Russian columns are rushing south from Belgorod on Russian soil in an attempt to encircle Ukrainian troops from the rear.
Their plan is to ally with forces moving north from nearby Mariupolwhere they have been stuck in a siege for weeks thanks to the heroic defense of Ukraine.
You might be wondering why all this effort for the Donbass, a poor coal-mining wasteland in the far east of Ukraine?
Two-faced tyrant Putin claims the “main aim” of its attack is to liberate Donbass from a Nazi government in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
The truth is that Putin’s eve of war made it clear that he wanted all of Ukraine.
We’ve known for weeks that he expected Kyiv to fall in just 72 hours, with the rest of the country soon to follow.
But his invasion plans were thwarted by fierce Ukrainian resistance and terrible Russian logistics.
When Putin’s troops were forced to retreat, the Kremlin scaled back its ambitions.
Parts of the Donbass region – Donetsk and Luhansk – are controlled by separatists.
Three days before Putin’s bloodbath invasion, the tyrant officially recognized the two self-proclaimed “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk. And their puppet leaders immediately asked him to send troops to protect them.
Now Putin is trying to conquer the parts of the Donbass that are not yet under Russian control.
Trying to give Mad Vlad something to show that his carnage was worth it is a massively scaled down goal. And he wants it by May 9 – less than three weeks from now – in time for Russia’s annual Victory Parade.
Some conditions in Donbass will favor Russian troops. The terrain is much more open, with fewer hills, narrow gorges, and forests that have favored Ukraine’s guerrilla tactics.
Russia has more troops, more tanks, fast jets and newer military equipment than the Ukrainians. And they have a new general at their helm. Ruthless Syrian veteran General Alexander Dvornikov was parachuted to try to coordinate operations and avoid the chaos seen north of Kyiv.
But the Ukrainian army also has a lot to offer. Their positions in the Donbass region are the best defended in the country, having been fighting there for eight years. The terrain may be open, but it’s also soft and muddy.
MORALITY IS HIGH
Tanks and trucks will get stuck if they don’t stay on the roads, which Russian troops did near Kyiv. This makes them vulnerable to ambushes and prevents them from using their full power.
Ukrainian troops in Donbass are battle-hardened and highly motivated. Morale is also high.
They fight for their homeland and will fight for every inch. Not only did they last longer than most ever imagined, they inflicted crippling casualties on Russian units, which then struggled to regroup.
Conversely, Russian morale is at rock bottom. There are problems with command and control. Some troops have refused to fight, according to Western officials, while up to one in three units were deemed “unfit to fight” after fleeing Kyiv
According to US officials, 76 tactical groups of the Russian battalion are fighting in Donbass, including at least 11 that have arrived in recent days.
These are battle-weary soldiers, pushed from defeat to the next front line, mixed with fresh recruits and draftees.
Pressure from the Kremlin to deliver results by Victory Day has led to Russia attacking before it is ready.
It has overstretched its supply lines and is already being harassed by successful Ukrainian counterattacks east of Kharkiv and around Izyum.
And Ukraine has one thing in abundance that Putin can only dream of: allies.
The stream of more and better weapons is still not enough. But British NLAW anti-tank weapons and US Javelin missiles stopped Russian tanks.
Ukraine’s Neptun missiles have sunk the Black Sea flagship Moscow. Britain has vowed to send more anti-ship weapons.
The arrival of Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles – the fastest in the world – will strike terror into the hearts of undertrained pilots who have already suffered shocking casualties.
The risk for Ukraine is that if Russia falters, it will resort to more reckless tactics.
More rocket and grenade fire as we’ve seen over the past few days. More long-range missile attacks. More bunker busting bombs. More civilian casualties. More rapes, murders, war crimes, atrocities.
Even if Putin somehow succeeds in Donbass, his troops will face an uprising and a bloody, unnerving standoff.
If his troops behave as they did around Kyiv — cruelly and incompetently — then victory will belong to Ukraine.
“We will fight,” President Zelenskyy praised. “We will defend ourselves.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/18311365/battle-for-donbas-ukraine-russia-war/ Putin’s bloodbath in Donbass will not go well for Russia