A new stage of the war has begun. What has changed on the battlefields, and what should we expect on August 24?

August 23, 2022

Let us take a look at the situation as of the last ten days of August

It is difficult to say for sure whether Russia will try to send us certain "gifts" precisely on August 24 — the Independence Day. However, taking into account the experience of not only the last six months, the Independence Day of Ukraine, and Ukraine’s independence as a whole, are like a red rag to a Russian bull. Despite the fact that there will be no mass celebrations, Russians will try to somehow demonstrate their attitude to this holiday in any case. Maybe this time they will try to show that Ukraine cannot defend itself from some "unparalleled" Russian weapons. I wouldn't say that one hundred percent it should be something we haven't seen yet (cross fingers), but we still need to be vigilant, and preventive measures on this day on the part of the country's leadership and every individual citizen will not be superfluous.

What has changed at the front as of the last decade of August?

We may speak about positive trends that have yet to be established. I would not hurry to make conclusions that Ukraine has already taken up the initiative, since Russia continues its attacks in various areas, not too successful though. So the initiative is no longer completely with the Russians, but it is still premature to say that Ukraine has stolen the initiative in operational or strategic terms. At the same time, we can really speak about a qualitatively new stage of the war. These strikes, which were carried out on targets on the Crimean peninsula, in addition to their purely military significance, had an extraordinary symbolic effect and a very strong impact on the reputation of the Russian government not only in the Crimea.

The Kremlin's political ambitions go beyond Russia's military goals and capabilities.

So, we can say that a qualitatively new stage of the war has begun. Well, I would just like to mention one of the versions that is now being actively discussed regarding the attempt on Aleksandr Dugin and the assassination of his daughter, and I do not rule out that it was a bad attempt by the FSB, aimed at the Russian public: to divert attention from the explosions that took place in the Crimea. That is, to break the information wave.

Regarding the real threats on certain sectors of the front, I tend to agree with the position of our General Staff or political leadership that it is an entire front line, 2.5 thousand km long. All directions are threatening. The experience of February 24 has taught us is that it is practically impossible to predict the actions of the Russian military-political leadership, proceeding from the common sense.

There are debates following an article in The Washington Post about whether the signals from our Western partners were properly received and whether intelligence was working well. At that time, there was evidence that Russia was not ready for an offensive, based on all, figuratively speaking, classic approaches according to military textbooks. And this was their miscalculation, because they did not take into account the fact that their planning was led not so much by the military, but by politicians or FSB officers.

Why am I saying that a provocation can take place at any point along the front line — from north to south, even in the absence of visible signs of preparation (according to the classical approach)? Well, if we proceed from the available information, from the analysis based on military indicators, then, of course, the greatest threat still comes from the east, because there the Kremlin's political ambitions prevail over Russia's military goals or capabilities.

It is important for Putin to declare at least one victory — the so-called liberation of Donbas. In the south, the Russian troops appeared in a difficult situation, and Russia will try to strengthen its defensive positions and counterattack. Well, the threat from Belarus did not go anywhere either. No one can guarantee one hundred percent that at a certain point of time, I'm sorry, Lukashenka does not go totally nuts, or is simply pushed aside, and the Belarusian troops are ordered to cross the Ukrainian border.

Unfortunately, the range of threatening directions is too wide. The Russian capabilities are impaired, but the threat from them has not been neutralised yet.



Oleksiy Melnyk

Co-Director, Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes, Coordinator of International Projects

Born in 1962 in Khmelnytsty Rgn


Royal College of Defence Studies, London, UK (2007)

Air Field Operations Officer School, Biloxy, MS, US (2001)

Squadron Officer School, Montgomery, AL, US (1994)

Defence Language Institute, San Antonio, TX, US (1994)

Chernihiv Higher Military Air Force Academy, Ukraine (1984)


1980 – 2001 — Air Force Active Service (Cadet, Instructor Pilot, Flight Commander, Squadron Commander, Deputy Air Force Base Commander, Participant of two UN peacekeeping operations, Lt.Colonel (Ret)

2001 – 2004 — Razumkov Centre

2004 – 2005 — State Company Ukroboronservice

2005 – 2008 — Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, Head Organisational and Analytical Division — First Assistant to Minister of Defence

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