Day 846 – So how goes the war?

First, no major Russian offensive has appeared. At this point, half way through June, I do not think we are going to see a summer offensive. It is a stagnated war, with the armies nibbling at various parts of the line, but nothing really major happening. Russia is still on the offensive, but their advances to the north of Kharkiv never got past Vovchansk. That front has been static for a week. Russia continues taking some little bits of not-very-significant terrain in the Donbas.

According to @War_Mapper, Russia occupies 17.57% of Ukraine, including Crimea. For the month of May they gained 201 square kilometers of territory. On 1 June the Russian Defense Minister stated that since the start of 2024, they have taken 880 square kilometers. ISW has assessed that it is actually only 752 square kilometers. Fairfax County (where I live) is 1,050 square kilometers. So it is like if they took 71-84% of the Fairfax County in five months, adding in 19% of Fairfax County in the last month. This is not the story of a great military campaign. To put it in national terms, it is as if they took up to 14% of the state of Delaware in the first five months of this year.

It is clear that Russia has hunkered down and is waiting for time, attrition, and U.S. national elections to change the situation politically, and then they can negotiate at an advantage. Putin already thrown out his negotiating terms, which includes that Ukraine cedes four provinces and Crimea and Sevastopol. He holds almost 100% of Lugansk province, and around 60-75% of the other three. In two of these provinces, Ukraine holds the capital cities and majority of the population. So, obviously this is a non-starter for negotiations, but this is kind of how the Soviet Union/Russia has traditionally negotiated. At this point, this war is about land.

There certainly won’t be any negotiated settlement until after November. One of the two main candidates in the U.S. presidential election clearly does not support Ukraine. So this has to play out. After that, there still may not be any serious negotiations. Russia has what it wants for now. They are not likely to compromise. Ukraine does not want to surrender their territory, so they are not likely to compromise. So the war will continue, probably through 2025 and perhaps longer.

Anyhow, my previous relevant post on this subject: There may not be a major Russian spring/summer offensive – The Dupuy Institute

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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2 Comments

  1. The effectiveness of the Russian military in Ukraine and in the Caribbean Sea reminds me of “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” — I wonder whether sympathy will be forthcoming for the footmen and seamen of Mother Russia. Probably not much since stories of brutality seem to be outweighing stories of patheticism.

  2. “… this is kind of how the Soviet Union/Russia has traditionally negotiated. At this point, this war is about land.” I’m not a student of treaty negotiations so could you provide some historical examples of negotiations in both the Russian Empire and Soviet periods that support your assertion of how Russians negotiate?

    Also, you consider the war is now about land. Are you arguing that the issues of general security for Russia, as expressed in their negotiating proposal of December 2021 are no longer a Russian concern? Putin’s recent proposals continue to stress Russia’s desire that Ukraine remains out of NATO and neutral. How are these demands, which seem to be consistent Russian concerns, being replaced with a war that is “about land”?

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