Igor Girkin on the potential of a large-scale Russian offensive

Posted on 15 February 2023



Below is a full translation of the internationally recognised terrorist I. Girkin’s post on the potential of a large-scale offensive by Russian Armed Forces, discussing three main directions: Belarus, the Russian border in Belgorod/Kursk, and Zaporizhzhia. Girkin predicts zero chances of the defeat of Ukraine even if the offensives are successful anywhere.

The original of the telegram post can be found here.

On the recommendation of Pavel Gubarev (who came to visit for a couple of days “to chat in the kitchen”), I give a short prediction for the development of the operational and strategic situation at the front in the event of an “RF Armed Forces winter campaign general offensive”, which may (or not) start in the coming 2 weeks (it makes no sense to start the offensive later due to emergence of the thaw).

Part 1.

So, the prospects for an offensive on the “Belarusian Front” are assessed as unlikely from the point of view of common sense, but possible precisely because (as the practice has shown) “there are no idiotic decisions that our General Staff could not make.”

From the point of view of common sense, to re-advance on the Kyiv, Chernihiv and (possibly) Volyn regions means extending the front by another thousand kilometers without hope of decisive success.

Firstly, it will not be possible to take the enemy by surprise. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have military units and formations prepared for combat in all the indicated directions. And since they intend to fight “from defense”, they require much less manpower than the RF Armed Forces require for a successful offensive in a heavily rugged wooded and swampy area, where all bridges on numerous rivers and rivers have either been blown up or mined, and directions suitable for tanks have been blocked by mines or other barriers.

Secondly, even if the RF Armed Forces (in any scenario, the small Belarusian army will be entrusted only with covering the borders with Poland and, at most, support of rears within its borders, and protecting these borders in “calm” areas) will be able to carry out deep breakthroughs, in order to protect the communications of the advancing groups (which will have to operate in territories with a hostile population), a lot of troops will be required. And when the front stops, a lot of troops will be required for its continuous cover, at least in the main directions.

Thirdly, according to the most modest calculations, just to create a continuous front (taking the terrain into account) it will take at least 150-200 thousand soldiers and officers, if we start from the border with Poland to the junction of the border with the Russian Federation. To create such a grouping without additional mobilisation (and training/combat coordination of new units and formations after it for at least 3 months), the RF Armed Forces will not be able to do so currently, since the main forces are already constrained by hostilities at the front from the Kinburn Spit to Belgorod region and by covering the border of the Belgorod, Kursk, and Bryansk regions.

And it will be impossible not to create a continuous front on the borders of the Republic of Belarus: “no one will forgive Minsk the second time”. The new offensive will mean drawing the Republic of Belarus into a full-fledged war with the corresponding actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military structures of Ukraine against objects on its territory.

It must be understood, however, that the creation of the “Belarusian Front” (as well as the intensification of hostilities at the front along the borders of the Russian Federation in the Kharkiv and Sumy regions) will significantly weaken (if not diminish completely) the possibilities for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to carry out offensives on any sector of the front, since this “will eat up all the reserves” and will require huge efforts to create, supply and provide equipment/ammunition for a huge new front. But this process will be mutual and without new mobilisation waves of the Russian Federation, the latter will be able to pull it off to an even lesser extent than the defending “Ukraine”. And “dear Western partners”, for their part, will take measures to prevent respected Kyiv partners from “dying from overexertion.”

Even if you simply do not organise a full-fledged offensive, but do “distracting strikes” (“debout”, in pre-revolutionary military terminology), all the same, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus will then have to inevitably create a continuous front. And it will “eat resources” in accordance with its enormous length. On both sides, of course … And it only makes sense when counting on “exhausting the enemy”.

If the strikes are delivered “seriously”, with strategic goals, then I cautiously predict heavy losses of the RF Armed Forces without strategic results and any deep advance, and the RF Armed Forces in Belarus will not have enough available forces for that. And the losses will again raise the question of the need for further mobilisation measures in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus (and in Ukraine, too).

An additional argument indirectly indicating that the aforementioned “idiotic decision” of the military-political leadership of the Russian Federation is still possible is the activity of Medvedchuk in Belarus with his speeches “reviving” stillborn ideas about an “alternative good-neighborly Ukraine”, which, allegedly, can be created. The presence of Medvedchuk in the convoy of advancing troops with the aim of “leading” something there on the “liberated territory” is quite logical in the framework of the complete copying of failed attempts of this kind outlined a year ago.

Strategic Perspectives, Part 2.

Much more probable and much more meaningful than the creation of an active “Belarusian Front” are the broad offensive operations of the RF Armed Forces from the territory of the border regions of the Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk regions.

Firstly, such an offensive in any case can make it possible to re-create a “foreground” on the territory of the enemy, which makes it difficult to strike at Russian own territory. Secondly, the troops are anyway concentrated there to protect the territory of the Russian Federation and there is not much difference whether they are actively fighting or not. Thirdly, despite the negative impact of lengthening the front line, strategic successes are theoretically possible in the most “painful” region for Kyiv – Kharkiv. Kharkiv is the second most important city of Ukraine and “the second capital”, a large industrial center, etc. should have been considered by the Russian command as one of the primary goals a year ago. But it was not considered (probably because they expected to “get it for free”, basing their expectations on a fundamentally wrong assessment of the operational situation). Now, when even the most stupid leaders of the Russian Federation seem to have dispelled the illusions about the possibility of recreating a “single fraternal pro-Russian friendly Ukraine”, it is this city and its environs that can logically become a place for an attempt to “turn the tide of the war” while large forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are drawn to battles in the Donbas.

Are the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation capable of inflicting a strong full blow in the Kharkiv and Sumy regions and achieving at least significant operational successes there? I don’t know. But I am firmly convinced that here a major battle in any case (both successful or not) will lead to major losses and will require replenishment of the spent human and material resources, the creation of which is impossible without new mobilisation measures.

Strategic perspectives. Part 3

The third (and last) likely theater of operations for a major offensive by the RF Armed Forces is Zaporizhzhia.

From a theoretical standpoint, the offensive should be carried out there in any case, simultaneously with the strike from Belarus and/or the Russian border area. But it can also have independent significance or become the direction of the main blow (whereas all other actions will be distracting). The recent “toad jump” of units of the RF Armed Forces on a wide front closer to the main positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (as a result of which the troops came into direct combat contact with the enemy in his defensive positions) can be considered as a reduction of the ground before the attack (although there may not be an attack, naturally).

The closes targets of the offensive in this area should be the cities of Orekhov and Hulay-Pole, without which an attack on the city of Zaporizhzhia itself is unlikely due to the possibility of a strike into the flank and rear by the attacking AFU.

Among the “benefits” of this direction is the flat terrain, which can be successfully defended only by concentrating forces in large settlements. Among the disadvantages, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been creating lines of fortified strongholds at the forefront and in-depth throughout the year. And, in order to quickly break through the front, again, a lot of forces are required, concentrated in well-trained and reliably controlled units and formations. And again, I must note that an offensive here, too, will certainly lead to heavy losses in the ranks of the attackers (in manpower and equipment), and a huge consumption of ammunition. However, if successful, local encirclements and the defeat of units and formations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are possible, which will make the enemy worry about the rear of the Donetsk group. Will our generals be able to achieve such a result, we will soon find out (or we will not know if there is no offensive).

General conclusion: at the moment, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation DO NOT HAVE A SUPERIORITY OVER THE APU ANYWHERE, that would guarantee the success of a large-scale strategic offensive. It is possible (theoretically) to create only one “shock fist” in one of the above directions, using the rest as auxiliary ones. (Diverting and restricting attacks can continue, of course, on the Donetsk front).

But, in any case, a full-scale offensive battle will very quickly and inevitably lead to very large losses and the depletion of those resources that have been accumulated as a result of previous mobilisation and other preparatory actions. And, regardless of successes, it will not lead to the complete defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (precisely because of the lack of strategic reserves).

In any case, whether our military leaders decide to launch an offensive or wait for the spring “offensive” of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, this year, in order to hold the front, both the mobilisation of people and industry and the rear as a whole will inevitably be required. And the longer our military-political leadership (embarrassed by the uncertainty of the consequences of these measures in the socio-political and socio-economic spheres) delays with them, the less chance we will have of a military defeat of Ukraine until the moment when “dear Western partners” decide to enter the war themselves, convinced of the mutual exhaustion of the opponents’ forces.

At the moment, based on the statements of Peskov and other clowns in power, it seems that until a new major defeat happens (whether on the offensive or on the defensive), no one in the Kremlin will do anything, letting everything “take its own course”.

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