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Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Saker: Ukrainian imbroglio- Can Russia be attacked?

IN this short piece, The Saker examines whether the latest theory that the Ukrainian turmoil will lead to a western-backed attack on Russia has any merit. 

Could the Ukraine, backed by NATO, attack Russia?

The Saker

On at least three occasions I tried to dispel the notion that the US/NATO could attack Russia or Russian forces in the Ukraine (see here, here and here).  I tried to show that geography, over-reach and politics made a conventional attack impossible and I tried to show that a nuclear attack, whether tactical or strategic, could not succeed.  There is a new theory which is apparently going around now which goes something like this: the Ukraine will re-arm and re-organize with the technical and financial help of the AngloZionist Empire, and then it will attack Crimea, possibly with the support of NATO airpower.  Sounds scary, but the good news is that it is just as implausible as the other theories.  Today, I want to explain why.

First and foremost, from a military point of view there can be no such thing as an "attack in Crimea" separate form a full-scale attack on Russia itself.  Crimea is not a distant island in the middle of nowhere (like the Malvinas) and it will soon be fully integrated into the Russian defense system.  Second, being a peninsula, Crimea is extremely hard to attack as the British and the Germans have found out.  So no matter how you try to package it, from a purely military point of view, to have any chance of success an attack on Crimea would have to include a full scale attack on Russia. 

And let me immediately put to rest the argument about NATO airpower: not only did it miserably fail in Bosnia, it did not even have what it takes to attack Syria, nevermind Iran.  The USAF is flying either very good old aircraft or very bad modern aircraft whose attrition rate trying to deal with both the Russian Air Force and the Russian Air Defense Network, especially around Crimea, would be huge.  Bombing an almost defenseless Serbia for 78 days (for pathetic results!) is one thing, trying to bomb Crimea and Russia proper is harder by several orders of magnitude.  As for US/NATO ground forces, they would have a hard time even getting anywhere near Crimea.  Which leaves the US Navy.

Unlike the US Army and Air Force, the USN is in much better shape and far more powerful than the Russian Navy.  But to meaningfully participate in an attack on Crimea it would have to act from the eastern Mediterranean as entering the Black Sea would be not only suicidal, but even impossible for US Aircraft Carriers (not to mention completely contrary to US Naval doctrine).  In reality, the USN could inflict far more devastating attacks on Russia in the Pacific, the Kola Peninsula or even the Baltic Sea than in southern Russia.

Which leave a hypothetical "future Ukrainian military" (the current one is unable to take Slaviansk or Kramatorsk, and could not even hold on to Krasnyi Liman).  We can hypothesize all we want about how motivated this future Ukrainian military would be, but I personally cannot imagine what would motivate a future Ukrainian soldier to go and fight Russia, even for Crimea.  But even if we assume a tremendous motivation, the fact is that the most the Ukraine can hope for in the next 1-10 years is to put a lot of men under arms and use outdated military hardware augmented with modern electronics, communication gear, targeting systems, command and control networks, etc.   But even this relatively modernized Ukrainian military would face the very same problem which defeated the Swedes, the Crusaders, Napoleon and Hitler: no, not the "General Winter" canard, but Russia's strategic depth.  Let me give just one example.

One of the most formidable weapons in the Russian military arsenal is the new Su-34 figher-bomber whose combat radius is estimated at over 1'000km but who already flew 6'000km with 2 mid-air refuellings.  In a combat mission, such Su-34s could be protected by advanced Su-35S' who have a very similar combat range.  In practical terms, this means that the Russian Air Force could strike Ukrainian units practically from anywhere west of the Urals.  And did I mention that Russia has 28 AWACs while the Ukraine has none?  This is just one small example, but it illustrates the different kind of importance strategic depth can in modern warfare.

I could go on for hours giving further examples, but I think that the point is clear: the Ukrainian military, even with the benefit of western financial and technical aid, and even with motivated soldiers, simply has no chance at all to re-take Crimea, nevermind prevail in a conflict against Russia.

So the only real risk is that the AngloZionists would order their Gauleiter in Kiev (whether Poroshenko or any other) to provoke a conflict with Russia not with the aim to prevail, but with the aim to create a crisis and force Russia to use her military power.  Alas, the Ukraine will always have enough military power to attack Crimea and get many people killed.  The attack will fail, but a crisis will be triggered.

Whatever may be the case, the Russian military has already announced a major effort to strengthen the defenses of the Crimean Peninsula and the Black Sea (including new bombers, submarines, air defense systems, naval infantry, etc.).  In fact, all the signs are that Russia will make the Crimean Peninsula the key node of her entire southwestern defense posture.

I sincerely believe that while such theories make for good headlines, an attack by anybody on Russia is extremely unlikely and that it is unhelpful to spend too much time on such far-fetched possibilities.   Senseless terrorist attacks and the subversion of the Crimean Tatars minority are far more likely threats than a conventional military attack.

The Saker

The Saker, prized contributor to this blog is an anonymous blogger who lets others freely circulate his works in any form. His/her articles can be found in the blog 'The Vineyard of the Saker. Find more of his articles in this blog here. 

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