May 28, 2023


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The war in Ukraine - a prolonged bloody conflict

The war in Ukraine – a prolonged bloody conflict

Fighting has been going on for two weeks in eastern Ukraine – mainly in the Donetsk and Luhansk states in the Donbass region.

After two weeks of fighting in eastern Ukraine, the Russians have taken very little ground, Lieutenant Colonel Geir Hagen Carlsen explains to Dagbladet.

– So far there has been little progress for the Russians. Perhaps we will see a long, bloody conflict in the region, says Carlsen.

May 9 is a very important day for Russians, and there are speculations about what Russia plans for this day.

“total control”

The Ukrainian government said on Friday that Russia plans to take control of Azovstal steel plants in the port city of Mariupol ahead of the May 9 celebrations. That’s why Karlsen says:

– This is the last area in the port of Mariupol in the south that remained before the Russians took full control of the Azov coast between Crimea and the border with Russia. Ukraine has been in this field for about eight weeks now.

The Lieutenant-Colonel says Azovstal’s steel mills are about ten square kilometres—and maybe more.

– The Russians now captured the eastern part and moved to the steel mills, but several square kilometers remained before the victory. This was President Putin’s last hope for victory on Victory Day May 9 — an important day in Russia as they celebrate the Russians’ defeat of the Nazis, he says.

Lt. Col. Hagen Carlsen on the invasion.  Photo: Dagbladet

Lt. Col. Hagen Carlsen on the invasion. Photo: Dagbladet
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Three days later, three days later

He explains that it is possible that there is hope on the Russian side that they have taken at least the city of Mariupol by May 9.

– But there are three days left, and there is still a lot of room left in this steelwork, so I really doubt whether it will work. Then the celebration of President Putin becomes less and less, and it becomes clear to everyone that the process on the ground in Ukraine has gone very badly.

The presenter talks about the various scenarios discussed in connection with the May 9 celebrations in Russia:

One scenario is that President Putin will declare that they are now at war – not just against the Nazis in Ukraine, they have spoken of, but against Nazis throughout the West.

So far Russia has described the war as a “special operation” – never a war.

The war on all Nazism

The advantage of declaring that they are at war with all Nazis, or Nazism in the West, is that they can then summon the soldiers accordingly when we call the soldiers to “rehearsal” (.anm. rehearsal service) here. They may not do it as it is now.

This means, among other things, that Russia can recall conscripts who completed their first service in April, and others who previously served in the army.

– Another scenario, as mentioned by the Pope, is that they will announce a ceasefire. But a ceasefire presupposes that both the Ukrainians and the Russians agree on that, so I think that’s a highly unlikely scenario. We’ll see what happens on Monday, says Carlsen.

Asked what reaction could come from Putin’s declaration of complete war, the presenter said:

– There is a risk that it will lead to an increase in discontent in Russian society. On the other hand, we must not forget that they have complete control over the media and propaganda internally, so it is difficult to predict how this will happen internally.

It can strengthen the image of the enemy

Carlsen believes it can also bolster the enemy’s image to the world around Russia, so that people are more supportive of President Putin and the regime—a greater recognition that one is at war with the West. In the same way that one was at war with the Nazis during World War II.

It is very difficult to measure the mood internally in Russia, he says.

When asked about Russia’s will to fight, Carlsen said:

– Russians often live in an information bubble, because all Russian media are friendly to Putin and loyal to the regime. We think the morale of the Russian forces is very low.

This is because the war against a neighboring country is meaningless, as well as the fact that the Russians suffered a lot of losses.

– There was poor logistics and poor planning, and there are many reasons why Russian morale is low, according to Carlsen.

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