The ASAH collective remains committed to the Ukrainian crisis and humanitarian aid after being organized, continues to be deployed through these members and partners.
At present, Joseph is in Ukraine and continues to carry out missions according to the needs of our members and partners. In addition to this, he brings us a geopolitical analysis of the constantly evolving situation.
Russia and Ukraine are entering their fifth month of war. After a quick victory for the Ukrainians around Kyiv and Kharkiv and the Russians in the south of the country, the conflict entered a long waiting phase. The question that now remains is who will crack first.
This long-term war, according to The Economist, will also be a time to test the resilience of Europeans in their support for Ukraine and in the impact of this conflict on its economy.
- military status
- Donbass Front
Russia is progressing slowly and at the cost of many losses which are always difficult to quantify. Be that as it may, the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk (respectively 100.000 and 85.000 inhabitants) fell. Indeed, the Ukrainian army has chosen to withdraw so as not to sacrifice its elite units present on the ground.
American intelligence believed that the Russians, worn out by the conflict, were going to stop to regain their strength. However, it seems that they are trying to exploit their victories in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. The next Russian objectives will focus on Kramatorsk, Slaviansk and Bakhmout better fortified than Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
Nevertheless, Russia continues to take advantage of its balance of power and adopted the technique of General Joffre during the First World War, namely to concentrate its forces. If the Russians have significant reserves of ammunition and shells inherited from the Cold War (we are witnessing in particular the use of KH 22 removed from the Russian arsenal since 2007) the difficulty of Russia lies rather in its ability to mobilize new recruits.
According to The Economist, the Kremlin has tripled the salary offer of new recruits, promised land in conquered territories and is trying to bring former veterans back into its army.
The Ukrainians on their side still hope to be able to hold and collect enough Western weapons to launch a counter-offensive. But the army lacked ammunition and retreated against the Russian army equipped with long-range missile ramps and a large stock of ammunition. The Russian strategy in the Donbass is to take advantage of its military superiority, raze the towns and advance. The Ukrainians do not have the necessary equipment to be able to retaliate properly and are forced to retreat.
The advantage of the Ukrainians against the Russians, however, is to have a larger, more resilient and more combative army. Moreover, we do not know what the Russian ammunition stocks are. The use of the old Russian arsenal suggests an attrition of their stocks but this information is difficult to confirm.
In the south, the Ukrainians succeeded in ousting the Russians from Snake Island, a small strategic island that allows control of the western Black Sea. The Russians in retaliation destroyed the installations present on the island. The capture of the island was made possible by French Caesar Cannon and British S22 Bohdana fire. This victory is proof that Western equipment makes the difference on the pitch.
In the Kherson region, the Ukrainian army is also maintaining pressure and seems to be advancing. It is difficult for the moment to pronounce on this front, but it is certain that the Russians express certain difficulties vis-a-vis the Ukrainian troops. It is a front to watch closely.
Westerners still remain united and continue to finance the Ukrainian war effort. Nevertheless, difficulties in supplying Ukraine are felt. The members of NATO are indeed afraid, by a massive shipment of equipment to Ukraine, of depleting their armies and their arsenals too much. Moreover, their military industries cannot double overnight and therefore have struggled to keep up with Ukrainian demand. The Americans, for example, only produce 2100 Javelins each year.
One of the crucial questions of the next weeks / months will be the question of European support and its public opinion. The cost of war in Europe is yet to be felt, but what will it be in winter? The fear of a European defection in the winter is at the center of Zelensky's communication policy, which multiplies its interventions in the hope of being able to keep the effervescence of the beginning of the war.
In England, the resignation of Boris Johnson casts doubt on the future of British foreign policy. Nevertheless, Boris Johnson will remain in office until autumn.
It should also be noted that the integration of Finland and Sweden into NATO represents a political and symbolic defeat for Putin.
The Ukrainian economy, due to the consequences of the war, finds itself in difficulty. According to the IMF, Ukrainian production risks being reduced by a third this year. Which would be a scenario similar to the American Great Depression of the 30s.
Then, the military and humanitarian cost for Ukraine amounts to 5 billion per month and inflation has already risen to 18%. Finally, due to the blocking of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, any large-scale economic recovery seems inconceivable for the moment.
Thus the Ukrainian economy, blocked and weakened, is now dependent on the goodwill of Westerners.
For its part, the Russian economy remains more solid. The ruble, which fell at the beginning of the war, regained value and stabilized. Vladimir Putin continues to claim that these sanctions hurt the West more than Russia. However, in reality, Russia is deprived of crucial imports for the good continuation of its industry.
Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce of the United States, reported that: "many Russian weapons are now equipped with semiconductors found on washing machines and refrigerators".
Nevertheless, despite the Western embargo, Russia continues to sell its hydrocarbons in Europe (Germany, Italy, etc.) but also in Serbia, Kazakhstan, etc.
In conclusion, the situation seems to have reversed. The Ukrainian army, far from being routed, is organizing a strategic retreat in the Donbass. The other fronts are holding and the Ukrainians even seem to be gaining ground in the South and it seems unlikely that the Russians, in the Donbass, will be able to push beyond Dnipro (1 million inhabitants).
The next battles will focus on the Slaviansk, Bakhmout and Kramatorsk line. More fortified than Severodonetsk and Lysichank the fighting will again cost immense loss on both sides.
As a result, a long drawn out war ensues.
The Russians in this fight have the economic and military advantage. The difficulty for the Russians lies above all in the extraordinary human cost caused to them by this war and Putin's fear of organizing a general mobilization.
For now, recruits come mostly from lost cities in Siberia, and the political cost of their deaths remains low. But how much longer?
But above all, the fate of this war lies in the ability of Westerners to maintain their political, economic and military aid. Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, announced yesterday that European equipment was running at full speed on the front and starting to make a difference. Will Westerners be able to meet their commitments? It is too early to be able to tell.
To find out more about the actions in progress, we give you an appointment on the page Ukraine from our website.