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An expert on Putin's pick: It should only mean one thing

An expert on Putin’s pick: It should only mean one thing

– The Russians seem to have better control over the war in Donbass because the different departments cooperate more closely and support each other better than before in the war. This is an area where it is easy to wage war with tanks and tracked vehicles, and therefore the Russians are preferred. One might expect the Ukrainian forces to then move towards the cities because they are easier to defend.

This is what Turmod Heyer, presenter and research leader at the Staff College, told TV2.

Investigator: Tormod Heyer is the Head of Research at the Staff School. Photo: Martin Fønnebø / TV 2

He says that the Russian advance is due to the fact that the area is a steppe landscape with more road systems, which means the Russians can take advantage of their strengths, such as the Armored Belt section which has great firepower and is easier to maneuver.

– This is one of the reasons why the West is now stepping up arms aid and sending more defense materials to Ukrainian forces. It is clear that consumption on both sides of the war is increasing.

Haier finds it interesting that Russia and President Vladimir Putin see that some NATO countries, such as Poland, provide Ukraine with offensive weapons systems without attack.

– It’s an interesting turn, because it should only mean one thing, which is that deterrence from the United States and NATO is working. Russia does not dare to attack and punish NATO countries that supply offensive weapons systems to Ukraine, because it knows that the United States and NATO will retaliate.

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Increases the possibility of regime change

Heyer believes the deterrent appears to have serious consequences for Putin.

– Then there are good opportunities to enhance the transfer of offensive and defensive weapons to the Ukrainians. If they continue to inflict heavy losses on the Russians with each passing day, it may contribute to weakening Putin’s power base in Moscow. Then the possibility increases that one will eventually be able to change the regime in Moscow.

However, he understands that a regime change may not be very imminent.

– There’s a long way to go now. Ukraine is important to Putin, and the more costs and losses Russia incurs in Ukraine, the more important it is to achieve a convincing victory they can deliver to their people.

It also notes that time is running out for Putin when it comes to how enlightened the Russian people will be and will be about the situation in Ukraine and Russian losses as a result of the war.

– For autocratic leaders do not establish the political justification for going to war among the population, so they are very weak and it is important that they do not lose face, get hurt or appear as the losing side. There are limits to how much you can do with population control, and the information will spread over time.

new turn

After two months of war, the situation took a new turn this week when the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria, loyal to Russia, came under attack.

The breakaway region of Transnistria has been under the control of a pro-Russian regime since the 1990s and is located east of Moldova along the border with Ukraine. To date, about 1,500 soldiers of Russia are stationed there.

There was confusion over who was behind the explosion of a Russian radio mast on Tuesday, as well as a grenade attack on the Ministry of Security in the region. The separatist republic also alleged, on Wednesday, shootings in the village of Kolbasna, where there is a Russian arms depot. Russia says Ukraine is behind, while Ukraine points to Russia.

Heyer believes that only one country has a motive to carry out the attacks in Transnistria.

The attacks bear all the hallmarks of Russian provocation, he says, and he uses the method of exclusion to explain why he believes that behind it must be Russia or pro-Russian forces:

  • Moldova is afraid that war will strike their country. They have applied for EU membership and then there is no indication that there is an advantage to the war in the country. So Moldova is not.
  • – Ukraine is probably not late either. They face an existential threat in the Donbass region in the east and therefore it is very unfavorable to open a new frontal division in the west, because then they will have to transfer troops from east to west, which is illogical.
  • – Then there is one country left, which obviously has a motive, Russia. They use this area to foment instability, with the aim of increasing the burden on the Kyiv authorities and its military forces, making it difficult for Ukraine to focus on the main threat to Russia in the east and south. At the same time, it contributes to increasing psychological pressure on the population of Odessa and western Ukraine because the Russian General Staff has said that it wants to increase the level of military ambition, among other things, by creating a land corridor from Russia to Transnistria. across southern Ukraine.

Explosion: Two Russian radio masts were blown up in Moldova's breakaway region of Transnistria on Tuesday.  Photo: Bulletin / NTB

Explosion: Two Russian radio masts were blown up in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria on Tuesday. Photo: Bulletin / NTB

– Do not think that Ukraine is deceived

Haier does not see that at present there is any reason for Ukrainians to worry about development in this area.

The number of Russian soldiers in this region is not enough to be able to pose a big enough threat to Ukraine or Moldova. As I understand it, the Russians do not have enough ability to open a new front division in Transnistria. They have enough to counter the Ukrainian resistance in the Donbass and the southern side, north of the Crimea.

– If so, what do the Russians get out of these attacks?

– There may be increasing destabilization, and the fact that the attention of the Ukrainian authorities in both Odessa and Kiev has shifted to the West and that this may take their focus elsewhere. But I don’t think Ukraine is being fooled by this.

– What will these attacks say to further war?

– I don’t think she has much to say yet. There are relatively few Russian troops in Transnistria, and the amount of damage they can inflict is limited, unless they can move large amounts of Russian materiel and reinforcements. Then they would be able to pose a threat to Moldova and a short distance from Ukraine, but as I see it, it is uncertain whether the Russians have the capability.

The lieutenant colonel and research leader believed that the orders for the attacks came from a high position in Moscow, if the case was that Russia was behind them.

– This type of attack is intended to have a strategic effect, and if Russia is behind it, then most likely the orders came from the General Staff in Moscow. It has such a strategic effect. But since she is in another country, Putin may also be involved.

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