How important is dirt in Russia’s plans for Ukraine?

MOSCOW (AP) – The Russian expression “tanks are not afraid of mud” is quite common, which is the name of a short-term Russian TV series and can be found in the form of a stencil on car windows.

And that’s another reason why any decision by Russia to invade Ukraine probably depends very little on fears that the spring thaw will prevent tanks from crossing the swamp. The Russian military, in addition to tanks and other armored vehicles, well equipped for dirt, has a number of fighters and missiles, which are the hallmarks of any modern military.

US President Joe Biden says Russia is essentially in a position to invade Ukraine, “provided the ground freezes over Kiev”, the Ukrainian capital just 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Belarus’ border, a key ally Russia. . This is not the first time a US official has cited Russia’s need for frozen ground to invade.

But analysts trying to figure out how Russia could invade say any attack will begin with air and missile strikes, probably on Ukrainian military facilities.

“If (Russian President Vladimir) Putin agrees to the invasion, the vanguard will not be tanks or ships, but aircraft and missile forces. The first objects for them will be air defense and missile defense systems, command posts, critical infrastructure, after which the superiority of Russian troops in the air and superiority on land and at sea is guaranteed, “said military analyst Nikolai Sungurovsky. in the Kiev analytical center of the Razumkov Center.

Some Ukrainian analysts have acknowledged that the country’s air defenses are insufficient in the event of a massive Russian assault. Kyiv is urging its Western allies to provide the country with modern air defense systems in addition to ground combat weapons provided by the United States, Britain and others.

Sungarovsky said that “the only deterrent is the position of the West and the willingness of millions of Ukrainians to fight to the end.”

The Kremlin, which denies plans to invade Ukraine, scoffs at the argument that it wants to freeze the ground for an attack on Ukraine. Ukrainian officials agree that frozen ground or mud is not a problem.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed to an argument to mock British Foreign Secretary Liz Trass after their icy talks in Moscow on Thursday.

“Russia is said to be waiting for the ground to freeze like a stone so that tanks can easily roll into Ukraine,” Lavrov told reporters. “Such was the ground with our British colleagues, and many of the facts we cited were reflected in them.”

Russian military analyst Konstantin Sivkov said that even if there was a ground invasion, Russian battle tanks are much lighter than Western armored vehicles and will not get stuck.

“Our tanks are much better suited for advancing on dirty terrain, there is nothing to worry about,” Sivkov said in a note to FAN. “Only Western tanks can stop the thaw.”

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Yuras Karmanov reported from Kyiv (Ukraine).

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Follow all AP materials about tensions around Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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