NYT: Putin has not given up hope of capturing Donbass and even Kyiv. His expectations for the war are unrealistic

NYT: Putin hasn't lost hope of capturing Donbass and even Kyiv. His expectations from the war are unrealistic

The appointment of the head of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Valery Gerasimov as commander of Russian troops in Ukraine may be due to more optimistic forecasts and plans that he offered Putin, in comparison with the ex-commander of the “special operation” Sergei Surovikin. The New York Times writes about this after analyzing the statements and assessments of officials and experts.

As Putin remains committed to the goal of capturing all of Donbass and even Kyiv, Gerasimov will be required to launch a successful offensive this spring, the NYT writes, citing officials from the United States and other Western countries.

Gerasimov, whom the paper describes as the “architect of war,” and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu exploited Putin's skepticism about Surovikin's defensive plans and proposed a return to a “hyper-offensive,” officials say. According to them, the generals called the capture of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region the first goal of such an offensive. At the same time, Moscow still does not have troops, ammunition and equipment sufficient to launch a massive offensive, military officials believe.

The fact that the appointment of Gerasimov may indicate an upcoming escalation, wrote analyst Mark Galeotti. He noted that the responsibility for the success of Russian troops in Ukraine now lies with the head of the General Staff, while Putin, according to Galeotti, “again has unrealistic expectations” regarding the course of the war.

In the first weeks after the appointment of Gerasimov , however, focused not on trying to restart the offensive, but on resolving formal tactical issues, such as banning the military from using civilian cars, using phones and tablets. It is also about strengthening control over the shaving of beards, military haircuts and the wearing of statutory uniforms. The fact that Gerasimov began his activities in a new post with the tightening of “everyday discipline” was reported earlier this week by the intelligence of the British Ministry of Defense. The department noted that these actions provoked criticism of Gerasimov among opponents of the appointment.

Gerasimov, commander of the General Staff for more than 10 years, brought non-standard military tactics to the Russian army, which, as he mistakenly believed, were used in the US army, writes NYT. This tactic was used, in particular, during the annexation of Crimea in 2014. However, today's hostilities in Ukraine require completely different methods of warfare, the newspaper emphasizes.

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