British intelligence says Russia is set to launch a major offensive in Ukraine after the US mid-term elections on November 8
Russia has said four Ukrainian regions it annexed last month are under the protection of its nuclear arsenal.
The statement from the Kremlin came on Tuesday at a time of heightened tension, with NATO and Russia expected to hold military exercises soon to test the readiness of their nuclear weapons.
Asked by reporters if the areas were under Moscow’s nuclear umbrella, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “All these territories are inalienable parts of the Russian Federation and all are protected. Their security is provided at the same level as [για] the rest of the territory of Russia”.
President Vladimir Putin said last month that Moscow was ready to use nuclear weapons if necessary to defend “Russia’s territorial integrity”.
US President Joe Biden said on October 6 that his threat had brought the world closer to “Armageddon” than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when many feared a nuclear war was imminent.
Nearly eight months after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, some analysts believe the likelihood that Putin will resort to nuclear weapons has increased since his military suffered a series of major defeats.
Putin ally Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, warned the West last week not to back Russia into a corner.
Other analysts have argued that the nuclear risk is overstated, suggesting that it would be suicidal for Putin to initiate such an escalation.
NATO is holding nuclear readiness exercises this week and has said it expects Russia to conduct its own nuclear drills soon, but Peskov said he had no information on that. “There is an established system of notifications to inform about the conduct of exercises and this is done through the channels of the Ministry of Defence,” he said.
It is noted that the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that two Tu-95MS strategic bombers of the air force carried out a 12-hour flight over the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.
Putin’s bombers in the Arctic Circle are less than 100 miles from Finland, which is in the process of joining NATO, and 115 miles from Norway, which is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Putin last month declared that the territories Moscow was taking from Ukraine would be part of Russia “forever”. But Russia does not fully control any of the four regions and has yet to define their borders.
The annexation was condemned as illegal by Ukraine, its allies and the vast majority of countries in the United Nations General Assembly.
Russia has lost ground in the four regions, even since claiming control in a lavish Kremlin ceremony on September 30.
Peskov said work continues to integrate them into Russia’s legal, financial and security systems.
Major attack after US midterm elections
British intelligence claims that Russia is set to attack Ukraine after the mid-term elections in the United States, which will be held on November 8.
Ostensibly, not to give Biden an advantage against his opponents.
However, Russian analysts doubt that an attack on Ukraine on November 1 or 5, or even October 30, will help Biden’s supporters in the election and not hurt them.
First, voters hate the president for raising gas prices and for the fact that money that could have gone to Americans (including environmentalists and minorities who support Biden) is being spent on helping Ukraine.
In this context, it is not certain that the Russian attack will be perceived by the American public as a sign of the correctness of Biden in the Democratic Party, rather than its failure.
Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy and military infrastructure, which have not stopped for a second week, are also evidence of an imminent attack.
Finally, last Wednesday, Putin said that within two weeks the mobilization would be fully completed. That is, by the end of October, Russia will be able to deploy about half a million troops against Ukraine. Together with Belarus up to six hundred thousand people.
It is clear that by this time not all of the recruits will be ready, but given the fact that 12,000 were sent into the zone of operation a week or two ago, and bearing also in mind that some of the newly recruited soldiers are volunteers with experience of taking part in hostilities, going to the front as part of volunteer formations, by the end of October Russia will be able to send at least one hundred thousand reinforcements to the NVO zone.
This will be enough to launch an attack, bearing in mind that further reserves will be built up within a month as they prepare.
The direction of the main attack is unknown
By the way, this approach will not allow the enemy to accurately determine the direction of the main attack.
The massing of troops in some direction at the end of October, even the commencement of active offensive operations, will in no way prevent the command from handling the 200,000 reserve force which remains at its disposal by shifting efforts in another direction .
The network of railways and highways, as well as the developed network of airports in the border areas, make it possible to gather a group of 50-100 thousand people in a few days, which is enough to start offensive operations in a new direction.
All outward signs suggest that the Russian offensive should begin in late October to mid-November.
In any case, a little later than the end of November.
Otherwise, all advance intelligence and missile-air strikes will significantly lose their effectiveness.
The enemy will get used to the new situation and find countermeasures. He will not be able to compensate all the damage, but the critical phase will pass.
It is important for Russia that the attack begins at the moment when the strikes reach the peak of effectiveness, the command and control system is destroyed, and the connection between Zelensky’s headquarters and the regional groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the grassroots level is also partially or completely dissolved.
In this case, even if it is not possible to seriously disrupt logistics, the maneuver of the reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will in any case be difficult, and the regional groups will have to face the Russian attack separately.
In the final stage of missile attacks, an attempt can still be made to disable the Ukrainian air defense system, through a mass raid of several waves of drones (a few hundred each) followed by a missile attack, also accompanied by drones to overload the enemy air defense system, on identified air defense objects.
It is also necessary to continue raiding cities even after the attack has begun. In this case, there is no need to hit residential buildings.
On the contrary, it is harmful, because it does not give any additional effect, but embitters the enemy and equips him with arguments to stimulate allies to more actively support Ukraine.
It is enough to strike the surviving or partially restored critical infrastructure, as well as the military administration and civilian administrations.