Open a dozen!With Ukraine in flames, what are the chances of Russian aggression?
The eyes of the world were on Ukraine on February 21st when Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, abruptly announced in a nationally televised address that he would recognise the two regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.And on February 24th, as Russian forces formally launched military operations against Ukrainian cities including Kharkiv and Mariupol, the spectre of war has, unsurprisingly, settled over eastern Europe.The two regions were originally regions of eastern Ukraine close to Russia with a majority Ethnic Russian population.But during the 2014 war in Eastern Ukraine, local Ethnic Russian forces in the two regions ousted Ukrainian government forces by force and declared themselves the So-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic.”The Ukrainian government and the United Nations do not recognize either regime.Mr. Putin’s recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk has infuriated Ukraine and the Western world, which has long supported it.As Donetsk celebrated the arrival of Russian troops, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky issued some very strong language, declaring that Ukraine would exercise its right to collective self-defense if necessary.For a moment, people couldn’t help but think of the 2014 war.Many believe that the Minsk agreement is dead and that Russia and Ukraine will go to war.So, at a time when conflicts between Russia and Ukraine are becoming more frequent and relations between NATO and Russia are strained.How much firepower does the Russian military really have if it comes to war?Are Ukraine and Europe ready?Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, what is the strength of Ukraine’s East Russians?Putin recognized donetsk and Luhansk as “states” after they were transferred to their regions.Local people have launched a warm celebration ceremony.They carried Russian flags and were happy with the resolution.Until now, the two self-established regimes had been recognized only by Abkhazia, North Ossetia and Syria.Russia’s recognition not only gave the two regimes a great power endorsement of their legitimacy, but also greatly boosted the nationalist atmosphere among local Ethnic Russians.Moreover, Russia was quick to forge friendly agreements with Luhansk and Donetsk, and to deploy troops there under the guise of “peacekeeping”.The news media often refer to Pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine as “militias.”But in fact, they are equipped in the same way as the regular army, and their combat skills are no worse than those of the Ukrainian army.The authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk have long been on the front line against Ukrainian forces and have received direct support from The Russian military, making them powerful Allies in the event of war.First, donetsk.Although pro-russian forces control less than 30 percent of Donetsk, they control the most important capital and a population of 1.87 million.Pro-russian forces in Donetsk have a 115,000 strong force.Most of them participated in the 2014 War in Eastern Ukraine, and they have rich combat experience and are well equipped.Of these, 15,000 are full-time professional soldiers.They were organized into four infantry brigades with at least 120 T-72 and T-64 tanks.They are also armed with hundreds of howitzers, self-propelled artillery, anti-tank guns, and are equipped with specialized special forces, communications units, logistics and engineers.In addition, donetsk authorities have received a number of civilian and foreign volunteers from Russia, Greece, Hungary, France and other countries.They were organized into 18 combat units including Somali battalion, Spartan Battalion, Eastern Brigade, Kalimius River Battalion and Slovenian brigade.The volunteers, who number between 300 and 4,000, are by no means ragtag and are also armed with heavy weapons such as tanks, anti-tank missiles and artillery.In the 2014 War between Ukraine and eastern Ukraine, It made many meritorious exploits and had strong combat effectiveness.As for the Pro-Russian regime in Luhansk, it controls more than 8,500 square meters of land, 1.5 million people and some 15,000 armed forces.Luhansk’s armed forces are less sophisticated and equipped than Donetsk’s.They are divided into 10 combat units according to their members’ origins.Many of the armed men were Cossacks and former members of the Ukrainian Communist Party.Generally speaking, the Russian armed forces in eastern Ukraine have excellent strength. They are fully capable of cooperating with Russian military actions in the war, and become a powerful supplement for Russia to maintain order and local garrison in eastern Ukraine.So how much confidence does the Russian army have?It is well known that Russia is one of the world’s leading nuclear powers.Much of Russia’s military clout rests on the formidable number of nuclear weapons capable of striking the globe in less than an hour.Similarly, in a new conflict with Ukraine, Russia is confident about its nuclear Arsenal.They believe that NATO countries, dominated by America, Britain and France, will not dare to engage in direct military confrontation with Russia, a nuclear power.As a result, the Russian military judged that NATO forces would not directly join forces with Ukraine.Their support for Ukraine will be limited to diplomacy, aid and economic sanctions.On paper, Russia today maintains an armed force of more than two million people and tens of thousands of tanks and armored vehicles, just as the Soviet Union did.But in fact, considering the long-range delivery capability of the Russian army, as well as the maintenance and upgrading of weapons and equipment.The Russian military is unlikely to pour a million-strong army into Ukraine, much less the “steel flood” of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.After more than two decades of Putin’s military reforms, Russia’s armed forces are now highly informationized and have long since shifted from “fighting a world war” to winning local wars.There is no doubt that the military Russia is committing to the conflict will be a small, well-equipped and modern one.The main source of these troops, as well as logistical support, will be Russia’s southern and western military regions.9 Russia’s southern military region is based in Rostov, a border city adjacent to Ukraine. Under its command, it gathers two combined army groups of various arms from the Border of Russia and Ukraine to the Caucasus region, one air and air defense army, and the Black Sea fleet and the Caspian Sea fleet.In addition, the Southern military district also has seven air bases in Rostov, Bujonovsk, Klimsk, Perm and other places.If necessary, they could fly from their base to Kiev in half an hour and provide air support to Russian forces on the front line.To the north, there is Russia’s western military district, which faces NATO countries directly.They number up to 400,000 men, have 3 army groups and a guard tank corps, as well as the Baltic fleet, and are the most elite armed forces of the Russian army.In the event of NATO intervention in the next conflict between Russia and Ukraine, they will be on the front line against NATO.The Russian army is not only superior to Ukraine in numbers of troops and equipment, but also equipped with a large number of cutting-edge weapons that are unmatched by the Ukrainian army.For example, the Dagger hypersonic missile claims a range of more than 2,000 kilometers and a speed of more than Mach 5.The Russian military claims it can penetrate any western anti-missile system, including that of the United States.If the Russians are right, The Daggers alone will leave Ukraine defenseless in a war.It would not be difficult for Russia’s armed forces to quickly seize the air, land and sea initiative after a military conflict with Ukraine.Dagger missile Now that Russia’s military might is so great, what does Ukraine and NATO look like?The 2014 war in eastern Ukraine proved that Ukraine is no longer the military powerhouse it was in the Soviet era.Ukraine’s army has a reputation as corrupt, weak and loosely armed.Ukraine has an army of 200,000 on paper, but that includes more than 30,000 civilians.Ukraine has only eight brigades, or more than 60,000 troops, that can be directly deployed in the Donbas region.And these front – line troops facing the Russian army are generally understaffed.The 130,000 troops provided by Ukraine’s security service, border guards and interior ministry could help the Ukrainian army if needed.Many of them were second-tier troops and Ukrainian civilian volunteer regiments advocating Bandelism.The fighting capacity is not very strong.What is more worrying about the elderly Ukrainians who approach the recruitment office is not a lack of troops but a lack of weaponry.At present, the Ukrainian army has the following heavy weapons: 2,596 tanks, of which 165 are the more advanced T-84 and 340 are T80.In addition, there are more than 2,600 infantry fighting vehicles, 1,600 armored personnel carriers and 3,600 pieces of various types of artillery.Of course, only some of these heavy weapons can be used properly, and many armored vehicles can only bear the point of fire of fixed machine guns, making them easy targets for enemy fire in battle.Worse was to come in the air.Ukraine currently has only 14 Su-24s, 31 Su-25s, 30 Su-27s and 37 mig-29s at its disposal.Against hundreds of fighters at seven bases in Russia’s southern military district, Ukraine’s air force is nothing.Of course, that’s not the worst of it.A more serious problem arises over the treatment of soldiers.Not only is the Ukrainian army paid less than the Russian army, but even the donetsk militia is paid twice as much per month.Ukrainian soldiers were reduced to a diet of potatoes and brown bread because of the country’s deep corruption.In general, Ukraine’s military capabilities alone are no match for the Russian offensive.This is why the U.S. proposed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to abandon Kiev and withdraw to Lviv.If Ukraine wants to resist Russian military action, it can only expect NATO to act.Even NATO, however, is unlikely to be able to muster a large force quickly to put pressure on Russia.NATO’s first combat force in eastern Europe is a 27,000-strong rapid-reaction force.Then there are the defense forces of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Turkey.Even if NATO were to intervene, they would need time to get a lot of supplies, a lot of troops from Western Europe, North America across tens of thousands of kilometers to the front.Moreover, since the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, MOST NATO countries have taken economic sanctions and public opinion offensive, but showed no signs of military action.For now, Russian President Vladimir Putin has the authority to use military force outside his country.Russian forces have launched military operations against Ukrainian military positions in Donbas on The 24th, and its front has reached Kharkiv.There have been explosions in many cities, including Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and even Belarus launched a march into Ukraine on the 24th. Ukraine is in a precarious situation.Ukraine’s top brass, however, have so far failed to devise an effective response strategy, and troops on the front are confused as to whether the fighting will start.The international community is not blind to the crisis in Ukraine.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sounded an almost pleading tone, declaring: “Too many lives have been lost…I want Russia to stop attacking Ukraine.”After all, everyone knows that war is a disaster for mankind and a nightmare for civilians. Peace and development are the main theme of the whole world.