Russia’s Spring Offensive May be Stalling Already
Author: Greg Valliere
March 21, 2023
THIS COMES AMID REPORTS that young Russian conscripts, sent unwillingly to Ukraine, are rebelling against the meat grinder on the front lines; the war has claimed at least 200,000 Russian casualties. As in 1918, Russian troops do not want to fight and are deserting.
XI SURELY MUST WORRY that he has picked the wrong side in the war. There’s no chance that the peace treaty proposed by China will win acceptance in Kyiv; the real suspense this week is whether China might agree to supply arms to Moscow. That would cross a “red line,” U.S. officials say — potentially leading to new American sanctions and a near-total diplomatic break with China.
RUSSIAN TROOPS HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO capture the eastern cities of Avdiivka and Bakhmut, despite Putin’s willingness to sacrifice thousands of troops. As long as those two cities hold out, Russia probably can’t advance further. Meanwhile, Ukraine reported yesterday that it destroyed a train convoy of Russian cruise missiles that were being sent to Crimea.
RUSSIA HAS NOT SEIZED A SIGNIFICANT UKRAINIAN CITY since last summer, prompting many Western military analysts to conclude that the Russians have run out of steam, as the Wall Street Journal reports this morning. If the Russians have stalled, the next stage of the war would be a Ukrainian counter-offensive, which could bring the fighting to the Russia-Ukraine border, boosted by new shipments of Western arms.
THE TALKS WILL CONTINUE, and we don’t rule out a telephone call between Xi and Volodymyr Zelensky. But any deal that allows the Russians to maintain a presence in territory they have captured is a total non-starter. The Ukrainian people have made enormous sacrifices, and they would adamantly oppose any deal that allows Russia to keep territory it has captured.
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A SMALL TURNOUT: Donald Trump has always been obsessed with the crowd size at his rallies, so he must have been disappointed that only about 50 protestors showed up at a pro-Trump rally in New York yesterday evening. An indictment is still likely in the next few days and we reiterate: Trump’s biggest legal headache isn’t in New York; it’s in Georgia.
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