why this attack illustrates Russia’s military predicament

Communication unprecedented since the start of the war in Ukraine. Russia has just raised the death toll from the New Year’s attack on Makiïvka, a Ukrainian town located in the occupied territories east of Donetsk, a stronghold of pro-Russian separatists in power since 2014, to 89. Around midnight, January 1, four missiles were targeted. “temporary deployment center”according to the Russian General Staff, then two rockets.

Initially, the provisional toll was 63 Russian soldiers who died, but was revised after bodies were found in the rubble. For its part, Ukraine, which claimed responsibility for the attack, inflicted a much higher toll: 400 killed and 300 injured. However, this is the heaviest record recognized by Moscow in a single attack since the offensive began. “Russia was forced to admit the attack, outlines General Dominique Trinquand, former head of the French military mission to the United Nations. Since the soldiers came from the same Region, the news had spread and circulated on social networks.”. According to the pro-Russian channel “Rybar” on Telegram, the building accommodates 600 people. The victims were not professional soldiers but conscripts, according to some Russian media.

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Shame and responsibility

This deadly attack has caused embarrassment within the Kremlin’s army who wonder about its responsibility. “A commission is currently investigating the circumstances,” said Russian General Sergei Sevrioukov. But the geolocation hypothesis because “massive activation and use by mobile staff within range of enemy weapons” filed by the Russian authorities. “Against the ban”said the general.

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Was the command trying to rid itself of this new humiliation by blaming the soldiers? “There was a lack of command: the fact that orders weren’t given regarding the use of laptops, but also the fact that the units were concentrated in one building. There was a discussion about accountability between the battalion commander and high commandanalyze General Dominique Trinquand. On today’s Russian network it appears that the battalion commander is simply following orders he is given…”

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According to former separatist commander Igor Strelkov, on Telegram, the building was destroyed in the attack because ammunition was stored there. It awakens military equipment “near a building without the slightest sign of camouflage”. “There is a realistic possibility that ammunition is stored near troop accommodation”said the British Ministry of Defence, quoted by AFP.

Russian critic of army skeletons

In Russia, criticism is growing over the way the war was waged in Ukraine. Blogger Boris Rojine, who is close to pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist circles, lashed out “incompetence of senior officers”. For Dominique Trinquand, this lethal strike was a “confirmation” Moscow military difficulties. “One would think that the Russian army after ten months of war would advance, but this is proof that this is not the case.”

In the Samara region, in the center of the country, several hundred people gathered for an Orthodox veneration ceremony, with the approval of the authorities, according to AFP. Ekaterina Kolotovkina, head of the soldier’s wives group, called ” revenge “. “The attack could be used by Russia in propaganda to further blame Ukraine”notes Dominique Trinquand, who recalls that most of the criticism in Russia was not about the war itself but about the lack of allocated resources or results.

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Facing this war, which has been stalled for almost a year, Vladimir Putin has announced his goal to pursue “special military operations” In Ukraine. “We will work to ensure this ends. And the sooner the better of course.” he has indicated, during a press conference held during Christmas week, while assuring that there is no “no funding limit”. Over the next few weeks, Dominique Trinquand envisions two scenarios, correlating with colder weather on the front in the coming days. “Either the Ukrainians took advantage of this to launch the offensive quickly, so as not to give the Russians time to regroup with the reinforcements they were waiting for, he weighed. Either the Ukrainian army was unable to do so and the Russian army reinforced and held its positions. Would he be able to launch an attack this summer? That’s the question. »

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