The invasion of Ukraine has not been much of a success at all for Russia, despite what analysts and assumptions told us as we watched the clouds of war rolling in almost a year ago.
Much of the world, and certainly the Kremlin, believed that Ukraine would be overrun by Moscow’s war machine – one of the most feared in all of human history, largely thanks to the precarious and anxious nuclear situation of decades past.
Now we’ve come to realize that this is the same Russian military of yesteryear, still using 70 year-old tanks and rusty AK-47’s.
So, in what appears to finally make a breakthrough in their year-long war, Russia is working up a massive, secret new offensive.
Ukraine is braced for a major new offensive that could begin within weeks. One of President Zelensky’s key insiders told The Daily Beast that they expect a looming Russian move to encircle the country with a simultaneous attack on three fronts.
Rustem Umerov, a member of the team negotiating with Russia, said the Kremlin was preparing for a fresh advance which could begin as soon as February. The assault would come from the north, over the Belarusian border, from the Russian strongholds in the east of Ukraine, and from the south, where the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea was seized by Vladimir Putin’s forces in 2014 and nearby cities of Melitopol and Zaporizhzhia are now also under Russian control.
“Russians are encircling us from 240 degrees, attacking from the Black Sea, from Belarus and the Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” Umerov said.
Military officials were seeing the writing on the wall.
Colonel Oleh Zhdanov, a former staffer in the operational directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, told The Daily Beast that Ukraine’s military and intelligence units are tracking the movement of Russian troops in real time.
“We are watching Russia build lots of forces in the Zaporizhzhia region. It looks like they are planning a pincer attack from Kharkiv [in the east] and Zaporizhzhia [in the south] directions, they will attempt to capture all of Ukraine’s major defense forces,” Zhdanov told The Daily Beast. “We are also watching Russian military constantly moving 10-12,000 men in Belarus [to the north]. They are also reinforcing in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.”
But then came a curious suggestion.
Colonel Zhdanov says there is only one man in the world who knows when the war in Ukraine will end: President Joe Biden. He believes that the war will go on until the White House signs off on all of the additional military firepower Ukraine is requesting.
“President Biden has a detailed scenario of this war in the White House. The sooner we get weapons the sooner we finish the war, but it looks like the U.S. wants Russia to exhaust itself with all of its war efforts,” Zhdanov told The Daily Beast. “In Russia they now have a cult of death: on all levels, from propagandists to the Orthodox Patriarch, Russians are called to go and die in this war, as their grandfathers died in previous wars.”
There are also rumors that Vladimir Putin has been dying of terminal bowel cancer as well, making the strategy of slowing the war to a slovenly grind a rather useful one.