Ukraine Is Bracing For A Possible Russian Counteroffensive By Fortifying The Entire Front

To summarize: 1) Ukraine is bracing for a Russian counteroffensive by fortifying the entire front; 2) that scenario could be averted, however, by freezing the conflict; 3) but Zelensky refuses to do so due to his messianic delusions of victory despite sobering up a bit lately; 4) A Russian breakthrough could prompt NATO to directly intervene in Ukraine out of desperation to stop it if the front collapses; but 5) since this entails great risks, the US hopes that the secret Zaluzhny-Gerasimov talks will freeze the conflict first.

“Zelensky’s Latest Interview With The Associated Press Suggests That He’s Sobering Up A Bit” after he finally acknowledged the failure of summer’s counteroffensive. Truth be told, he already signaled as much several days prior in his nightly address to the nation on Thursday, which the Wall Street Journal raised awareness of afterwards in their article about it here. What he said was so significant that the relevant excerpts will be shared in full below prior to analyzing them in the larger context of this conflict:

“In all major areas where we need to boost and accelerate the construction of structures. Of course, these are primarily Avdiivka, Maryinka and other areas in Donetsk region that will receive maximum attention. Kharkiv region – the direction of Kupyansk, as well as the Kupyansk – Lyman defense line. The entire Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, Kyiv, Rivne, and Volyn regions, as well as the south – Kherson region.

There were reports from regional authorities, all the relevant military commanders. Defense Minister Umerov, General Pavliuk.

We discussed the mobilization of resources, the motivation of private business in this work, and financing. The priority is obvious. I am grateful to everyone working on this kind of construction, in the production of materials. We also discussed the needs that we will address with our partners to reinforce our defense lines.”

It was assessed a little over a week ago that “NATO’s Proxy War On Russia Through Ukraine Appears To Be Winding Down” for the myriad reasons explained in the preceding hyperlinked analysis, not least of which was Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny candidly admitting that the conflict is at a stalemate. The subsequent exacerbation of his long-simmering rivalry with Zelensky destabilized the political situation behind the front lines and led to the latest Russian spy hysteria that’s dividing Ukraine’s security services.

“Politico Just Dumped On Zelensky” by openly mocking him as “Dreamer No. 1” in the world in their latest feature article about the Ukrainian leader, which was then followed by The Economist declaring that “Putin seems to be winning the war in Ukraine—for now”. The latter outlet was the one to whom Zaluzhny admitted that the conflict is at a stalemate, and they themselves also admitted a week prior to their aforementioned piece that “Russia is starting to make its superiority in electronic warfare count”.

Their report came over two months after the New York Times confirmed that Russia had won the “race of logistics”/ “war of attrition” that NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg declared in mid-February. That same official and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba also unintentionally admitted last week that Russia is stronger than NATO. All of this set the narrative-strategic stage for Zelensky’s nightly address to the nation where he ordered the construction of defensive fortifications all across the front.

From everything that led up to this development, it’s obvious that Ukraine is now bracing for a possible Russian counteroffensive, which can’t be taken for granted but also can’t be ruled out either. So long as he refuses to comply with the West’s reported pressure upon him to recommence talks with Russia aimed at freezing the conflict in order to avert that scenario, then it’ll continue hanging over his country’s like a Damocles’ sword.

Time Magazine quoted one of his unnamed senior advisors in late October who accused the Ukrainian leader of having messianic delusions of victory that account for his series of missteps over the months. This description is applicable when it comes to explaining his refusal to recommence talks with Russia even in spite of Bild reporting that the US and Germany are rationing their arms deliveries as part of a plan to pressure him in this direction. Instead of de-escalating the conflict, he’s now digging it.

NATO might help Ukraine reinforce its defenses along the entire front per Zelensky’s request to his “partners” that he revealed in his nightly address to the nation last week, but its members’ resources are more limited than ever due to over 21 months of proxy warfare depleting their reserves. They also fear that whatever they give Ukraine might still not be enough to prevent any Russian breakthrough in the coming future, the scenario of which could then prompt them to directly intervene out of desperation.

That’s precisely what they want to avoid since it would spike the risk of World War III by miscalculation, but at the same time, they also couldn’t sit back and let Russia steamroll across Ukraine either. The most pragmatic way to resolve this increasingly dangerous security dilemma is to freeze the conflict as soon as possible like they’re trying their utmost to do right now via their pressure on Zelensky. Since he still refuses to comply, however, they’re reportedly begun exploring alternative means to that same end.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh just published a paywalled article on Friday in which he cited unnamed sources, including a US official per TASS’ summary of his claims here, to inform readers that Zaluzhny has entered into secret US-backed talks with his Russian counterpart Gerasimov. According to him, they’re working on a pragmatic series of compromises aimed at freezing the conflict, though the details thereof remain unconfirmed and could obviously change. These talks could also possibly fail, too.

While some might doubt that they’re even taking place, everything that was earlier described regarding the events that preceded Zelensky’s order to fortify the entire front extends credence to Hersh’s report. Supplementary evidence in support of this conclusion can be seen from what the deputy head of the Ukrainian parliament’s security, defense and intelligence committee admitted last week in her post on Facebook about how Zaluzhny supposedly doesn’t have any plan whatsoever for next year.

Considering that he was the first Ukrainian official to admit that the counteroffensive failed, and no one knows Ukraine’s military-strategic difficulties better than him, it therefore makes sense that he might have reached out to Gerasimov about a ceasefire after Zelensky refused to recommence peace talks. Furthermore, keeping in mind America’s interest in freezing the conflict as was argued in this analysis, it could very well have told Zaluzhny to hold such secret talks and would naturally back them if they exist.

To summarize: 1) Ukraine is bracing for a Russian counteroffensive by fortifying the entire front; 2) that scenario could be averted, however, by freezing the conflict; 3) but Zelensky refuses to do so due to his messianic delusions of victory despite sobering up a bit lately; 4) A Russian breakthrough could prompt NATO to directly intervene in Ukraine out of desperation to stop it if the front collapses; but 5) since this entails great risks, the US hopes that the secret Zaluzhny-Gerasimov talks will freeze the conflict first.

A lot can still happen to offset the conflict’s latest de-escalation trajectory, including false flag attacks by Zelensky’s allies in Ukraine and those among the Western military-intelligence agencies that have self-interested reasons in perpetuating this proxy war, but the latest developments still inspire tepid optimism. It’s premature to expect that a ceasefire might be right around the corner, let alone to begin speculating about its terms, but observers should still prepare themselves for this possibility just in case.

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