November 27, 2022

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Russia faces crucial elections

Russia faces crucial elections

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday described the recent Russian bombing of Mykolaiv as one of the most brutal attacks of the war.

For weeks, there have been almost daily attacks in this area, at the same time that Ukrainian forces are trying to enter the neighboring Kherson region, which is occupied by the Russians.

The former defense minister, Ambassador Dessen, believes that the Russian attacks are an attempt to prevent the Ukrainians from retaking the important port city of Kherson.

Russia has a trade-off to make. Should they give priority to the continuing offensive in the Donbass, or should they strengthen the Russian divisions in the south in the Kherson region?

According to Dessen, it would be impossible for the Russians to do both.

Priorities must be set

On the western side of the Dnieper, near Kherson, the Ukrainians launched an offensive to isolate the large Russian forces.

Important area: A Russian soldier patrols an area near the lower Dnieper River in the Kherson region on May 20, 2022. Photo: AP

This is in an effort to regain Kherson, which is also an economically important region of Ukraine.

Kherson is the only major city controlled by the Russians. If the Russians lose their foothold here, we’re talking about something approaching a strategic setback for the Russians, Dessen tells TV 2.

Despite the fact that so far the Russians have made only limited progress in the Donbass, the expert believes that it is very important for them to control the remaining part of the Donetsk province.

– They recognized the two regions as independent people’s republics, and the Russians, to some extent, rely on military control of the region, he says.

The former defense secretary believes that more help from the West will be of critical importance.  Photo: Frode Sunde/TV 2

The former defense secretary believes that more help from the West will be of critical importance. Photo: Frode Sunde/TV 2

Therefore, Putin’s Russia faces a difficult choice when it comes to prioritizing forces, Diesen believes.

It can turn the tide of war

However, the former defense minister believes that Ukraine is unable to expel the Russians from Kherson.

The prerequisite for them to be able to do this is that the West ramp up arms deliveries, supplying Ukraine with other types of weapons.

The messages are coming from the Ukrainian side that they have a huge number of targets to choose from, but they have to make strong priorities because they have so few artillery systems and limited ammunition, says Dessen.

He adds that Western arms supplies have been effective so far, but that to completely change the picture of the war, more of them will eventually be needed.

– We are talking about a long-term build-up of Ukrainian forces. He says this is with modern Western equipment such as combat aircraft and combat vehicles.

The West can withdraw

In the past, Zelensky criticized many NATO countries for sending too few weapons. Germany is among the countries that have distinguished themselves in the president’s criticism.

Decisive: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is demanding more arms deliveries from several NATO countries.  Pictured: Sergey Sobinsky

Decisive: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is demanding more arms deliveries from several NATO countries. Pictured: Sergey Sobinsky

– He has a point. Not only is it a purely military issue, Dessen says, it is the kind of Western caution that reinforces Putin’s conviction that the Western agreement on Ukraine will collapse.

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that this may lead to the West losing control over time, and as a result the Russians will win.

Europe dangerous?

To the question of TV 2 whether it would open a more dangerous world in Europe if Russia won the war, the former defense minister answered:

– This is correct. So say many observers with personal background and experience from Russia. This is crucial for the future security situation in Europe.

He believes that the course of action and further behavior of Putin and Russia depends on what the outcome will be in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that the West will eventually turn its back on Ukraine.  Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that the West will eventually turn its back on Ukraine. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / AP

Although the brutal war has been going on for about five months, Diesen still thinks it could be a long time.

– Just not as severe. He adds that both parties are suffering losses so great that they can hardly last for years.

If there is some form of stagnation or stalemate in the operations, the loss rates will decrease and the war situation can continue.

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