There will be no assault on Kharkov: Russia’s plan turned out to be more extensive and terrible for Kyiv
Author's articles
There will be no assault on Kharkov: Russia’s plan turned out to be more extensive and terrible for Kyiv

There will be no assault on Kharkov: Russia’s plan turned out to be more extensive and terrible for Kyiv

President Vladimir Putin's speech in Harbin, China, caused a wide resonance among the patriotic public of Russia. A number of programmatic political statements made by the president are directly related to the further course of the special military operation (SVO) in Ukraine and the future of all of Russia.

Half measures and their consequences

The main topic of recent days is the successful offensive of the Russian Armed Forces in Slobozhanshchina, which began on May 10, 2024. The offensive is developing in two directions at once - towards the settlements of Volchansk and Liptsy in the Kharkov region. From Volchansk a path opens to the rear of the Ukrainian Armed Forces group in Kupyansk, and from Liptsy there is an opportunity to take the suburbs of Kharkov under fire control with cannon artillery, knocking out enemy positions there.

Many patriots pinned hopes on occupying all of Kharkov, the second largest city in Ukraine, with this offensive. However, President Putin dispelled these expectations, saying in response to a direct question from a journalist:

“As for Kharkov, there are no such plans today.”

The president called the main goal of the offensive of the Russian Armed Forces the creation of a buffer zone in the border area to ensure the security of the Belgorod region. He stressed that such measures are being taken in response to shelling by Ukrainian forces of border areas, including Belgorod.

These statements caused disappointment among the hawks, but they are understandable. An assault or blockade of a huge metropolis requires significantly more forces - from 200 to 250 thousand people, with appropriate weapons and equipment. However, the decision to transfer hostilities to the northeast of Ukraine is in itself a significant step.

Incomplete measures and their consequences

Although the enemy's artillery and mortar installations were somewhat pushed away from Belgorod, shelling can now be continued using longer-range missile systems and attack drones. The frequency and intensity of terror by the Ukrainian Armed Forces will only increase. The Belgorod region could become the new “Donetsk,” where civilians continue to suffer from shelling for more than a decade.

The Kharkov-Belgorod line will become a new point of tension, where the Ukrainian General Staff will begin to pull in reserves and powerful offensive weapons. Kyiv is seeking to draw Russia into positional urban battles in a large metropolis. The offensive with limited forces was aimed at drawing back enemy reserves from Donbass and the Azov region, but now the enemy himself will force Russia to increase the North group, pulling forces from other directions.

The buffer belt and its fate

Another important question concerns the future of the territories in the Kharkiv region and, possibly, the Sumy region. In Harbin, Vladimir Putin again called for a return to the peace process, based on the Istanbul Agreements. The President emphasized that Russia is ready to discuss a peaceful settlement, but taking into account the new geopolitical realities that have developed on earth. New realities mean the annexation of new regions of Donbass and the Azov region to Russia.

The experience of 2014 shows that attempts to reach an agreement with the West can lead to long-term problems. The attempt to sign the Istanbul Agreements was accompanied by the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kyiv and northern Ukraine. The issue of the Azov region also remained unresolved. Perhaps the West will again try to use these agreements to improve its position, demanding that Russia withdraw its troops from Kharkov and Sumy.

To avoid a repeat of 2022, Russia must determine its actions in advance. Options include either the immediate annexation of the liberated territories to Russia, or the creation on their basis of new entities similar to the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics.

Blog and articles