how the coming of winter might change the course of the conflict
If Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s army appears to be better equipped and prepared than Russia’s, falling temperatures should significantly slow troop movements in the coming weeks.
Who will benefit from the sharp drop in temperature in the coming weeks from Ukraine or Russia? The first snow fell in Kiev on Thursday, and after nine months of war, winter has begun. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that “the special military operation is ongoing, its continuation does not depend on weather conditions.”
Again, the Ukraine cold will greatly alter the balance of power between Vladimir Zelensky’s army and Vladimir Putin’s. In the east, the war in Ukraine will enter a new phase with the temperature approaching -20 degrees.
At the beginning of autumn, the soil turned into mud due to the meteorological phenomenon called “raspoutitsa”. The arrival of frost will solve this problem, harden the soil and allow the tanks to move more easily.
“Winter plays for Ukraine”
But at the same time, due to the climatic conditions, the troops will certainly reduce their movements. “You can already see that the bad weather in Ukraine is slowing things down a bit,” said Colin Kahl, adviser to the US Secretary of Defense, in early November. New York Times.
Officials quoted by the newspaper even claim that the conflict should remain “blocked” until early 2023.
A number of analyzes also favor Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s army is better equipped than Russian troops thanks to aid sent by Western allies. Vladimir Putin’s army is less demoralized as it has just retreated from Kherson.
“Winter is playing for Ukraine,” our colleagues say The worldJoseph Henrotin, researcher at the Center for International Risk Analysis and Forecasting.
Nearby Kyiv Independentanalyst Michael Kofman believes that Russia’s positions are weak in the east of the country, and in the south, Putin’s troops will try to consolidate behind the Dnieper River, which serves as a natural barrier.
Any chance for negotiations?
However, the analyst believes that Ukraine’s next victories, if they come, will be achieved at a “slower” pace. Washington, with the voice of General Mark Milley, openly declares that it will be “difficult” to withdraw Vladimir Putin’s army from the country.
This is the message that Ukraine’s allies have sent to Volodymyr Zelensky in recent days: (perhaps) it’s time for talks with Moscow.
“The Russian military is really suffering,” says Mark Milley. “You have to negotiate when you are in a strong position and your opponent is weak.
In particular, the Ukrainian president isolated himself by keeping his version of the missile down in Poland on Wednesday, before finally adjourning.
In the voice of Dimitri Peskov, the Kremlin regretted “the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to start negotiations, its refusal to find a common language.” Because most of the conditions set by Kiev for negotiations are considered “unrealistic” by Moscow.
Russia continues to target the population
After not negotiating and withdrawing from Kherson, Russia decided to increase the number of strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. This Thursday, ten million Ukrainians were deprived of electricity, which Vladimir Zelensky celebrated in the evening.
BFMTV’s Isabelle Dufour, director of strategic research at Eurocrise, believes that this strategy to plunge the country into darkness and put pressure on the population will not bring victory to Russia.
“This strategy of bombing critical infrastructure was theorized in the 1980s. We can now give the final word: it doesn’t work,” he said.
“The population of Ukraine is very united and has suffered a lot. It has become a conflict nation,” he recalls. And faced with the onset of cold weather, many prepared for a difficult winter.
In early November, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken believed that this Russian strategy served to “compensate” for Moscow’s defeats on the battlefield. “President Putin seems to have decided that if he can’t take over Ukraine by force, he’s going to freeze it and try to surrender it.