#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. The Russians are speaking: using F-16s against us could trigger World War III


Everyone is talking about the Ukrainian counteroffensive. According to some, it has already begun in an anomalous way, different from expectations; according to others it will come sooner or later. And there are also those who argue that it is a patchwork counter-offensive.

It is interesting to analyze the reading given by the Russian military leaders of the current situation of the forces in the field, to understand what Moscow actually wants and how it intends to get there.

Recently in the Russian-speaking social media sphere, an interview with General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, former deputy head of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the Russian Defense Ministry, has come out that deserves further investigation.

“In my opinion, this counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine is a big mystery. In the military academy, we were taught that in order to conduct a successful offensive operation, it is necessary to create a significant two-echelon grouping, where there will be a disruptive echelon and a development echelon. They write that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will not create a large group, small mobile groups will go on the offensive. They will probe the defense, try to find weak points. But to achieve notable success with forces of groups up to a battalion, with a dozen tanks, this is from the realm of the imagination. To capture Melitopol, cutting off the land corridor to Crimea, as they plan, such mobile groups will not be able to,” says Buzhinsky.

This great skepticism of the General leads him to other considerations: “Moreover, the Ukrainian armed forces do not have an air advantage – and this is one of the decisive factors in any offensive. They also have no advantages in armored vehicles, barreled artillery. And for a successful offensive, a lead of at least 3 to 1 is required. The same goes for personnel. Yes, there were figures that the Ukrainians had 200 or 400 thousand or a million people under arms. But judging by the data leaks, in reality the Armed Forces of Ukraine trained and armed only 12 brigades. This is a maximum of 40-60 thousand people. The Russian group is significantly larger. So even arithmetically, plans for a counteroffensive do not fight reality.”

According to Buzhinsky with these numbers: “I think such an operation will last a maximum of three weeks. The Armed Forces of Ukraine will not break through our defenses, especially in the south, where the area is open. I don’t think in their current state they will be able to achieve significant success.”

The General also answered a question about Bachmut: Why does Russia need a battle for Bachmut?

“The Russian leadership has set itself the task of reaching the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It is impossible to complete this task without taking Bachmut, then Kramatorsk and Slavyansk. Having mastered Bachmut, Russian troops can enter the operational space and approach the last important defensive points of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donetsk region.

So why are Ukrainians so stubborn? He asked the reporter “For them, this is a kind of symbol of their resistance.”

According to Buzhinsky “the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine makes no military or political sense. Why use nuclear weapons? To scare the enemy, defiantly wipe out a Ukrainian city from the face of the earth? We will get nothing but general condemnation, even from our allies. Furthermore, I am absolutely certain that tactical nuclear weapons will be followed by strategic ones. The escalation will be uncontrollable, up to the mutual destruction of Russia and the United States. Considering the use of such weapons makes sense only if the United States directly begins to fight against us. But I hope they’re smart enough not to.”

At the end of the interview, the general said: “I hope that by the end of 2023 the hot phase of military operations in Ukraine will be over. Even if someone believes that the conflict can last two or three years, and even five years. But I don’t think. Firstly, Ukraine will not have enough resources for such a period, even taking into account Western assistance. Much will also depend on the outcome of the Ukrainian offensive. If the Ukrainians lose, they will surely be forced to agree to a diplomatic settlement. The West is not ready to endlessly supply weapons and sustain a heated conflict, despite all the loud declarations.

“As the Americans admit, there are no airfields in Ukraine suitable for taking off and landing the same F-16s, and it is very difficult to modernize the existing ones. There is no basis for maintaining and repairing such machines. It’s pointless to build all this infrastructure from scratch, under the influence of fire. Therefore, if the decision to supply F-16s is made, they will have to be based on the territory of neighboring countries – Poland, Romania or Slovakia. But if these planes take off from there and hit us, we will simply be forced to hit their bases in response. That is, hitting the territory of NATO countries. Indeed, the Americans will now have to decide whether they are ready to start World War III. This will be their moment of truth.”

Graziella Giangiulio

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