A source from Kiev further has reported that “Russia now has MORE armor units accumulated on the border than it did prior to the war…”
If true, a clear sign that a major phase 2 operation is in the preparatory stages. And there’s many sightings/videos of new forces coming in such as this one:
Scott Ritter published a series of tweets today summarizing his view of the Second Front emerging as Russia completes Phase 1 of its operation.
1/Big Arrow War—a primer. For all those scratching their heads in confusion, or dusting off their dress uniforms for the Ukrainian victory parade in Kiev, over the news about Russia’s “strategic shift”, you might want to re-familiarize yourself with basic military concepts.
2/ Maneuver warfare is a good place to start. Understand Russia started its “special military operation” with a severe manpower deficit—200,000 attackers to some 600,000 defenders (or more). Classic attritional conflict was never an option. Russian victory required maneuver.
3/ Maneuver war is more psychological than physical and focuses more on the operational than on the tactical level. Maneuver is relational movement—how you deploy and move your forces in relation to your opponent. Russian maneuver in the first phase of its operation support this.
4/ The Russians needed to shape the battlefield to their advantage. In order to do this, they needed to control how Ukraine employed it’s numerically superior forces, while distributing their own smaller combat power to best accomplish this objective.
5/ Strategically, to facilitate the ability to maneuver between the southern, central, and northern fronts, Russia needed to secure a land bridge between Crimea and Russia. The seizure of the coastal city of Mariupol was critical to this effort. Russia has accomplished this task.
6/ While this complex operation unfolded, Russia needed to keep Ukraine from maneuvering its numerically superior forces in a manner that disrupted the Mariupol operation. This entailed the use of several strategic supporting operations—feints, fixing operations, and deep attack.
7/ The concept of a feint is simple—a military force either is seen as preparing to attack a given location, or actually conducts an attack, for the purpose of deceiving an opponent into committing resources in response to the perceived or actual actions.
8/ The use of the feint played a major role in Desert Storm, where Marine Amphibious forces threatened the Kuwaiti coast, forcing Iraq to defend against an attack that never came, and where the 1st Cavalry Division actually attacked Wadi Al Batin to pin down the Republican Guard.
9/ The Russians made extensive use of the feint in Ukraine, with Amphibious forces off Odessa freezing Ukrainian forces there, and a major feint attack toward Kiev compelling Ukraine to reinforce their forces there. Ukraine was never able to reinforce their forces in the east.
10/ Fixing operations were also critical. Ukraine had assembled some 60,000-100,000 troops in the east, opposite Donbas. Russia carried out a broad fixing attack designed to keep these forces fully engaged and unable to maneuver in respect to other Russian operations.
11/ During Desert Storm, two Marine Divisions were ordered to carry out similar fixing attacks against Iraqi forces deployed along the Kuwaiti-Saudi border, tying down significant numbers of men and material that could not be used to counter the main US attack out west.”
By the way, von Manstein, considered one of the greatest German WW2 generals famously employed such tactics, particularly in the same Donbass region against the Soviet forces, where he utilized feints and strategic retreats in order to capture a much larger encroaching force by way of misdirection and diversions). You can watch videos such as this one to see how an extremely agile mechanized force can employ diversionary tactics and misdirection to bait a much larger force
Evidently, at least 3 distinct groups operating in several directions which have finally ‘linked’ at central points in Mariupol and are now often operating together.
- DPR forces from the north,
- Chechen forces from the East,
- Russian Marine force from the West
Here are some combat videos of the Russian Marines and Chechen regulars assaulting the the Azov Battalion bastion at the Azov Steel Plant.