More than a week ago the counterattack of the Ukrainian army (VSU) began on all fronts, the reconquest of the lands invaded by Putin’s imperialism. For several months this has been discussed every day, with statements by politicians, the military, propagandists from both sides and war correspondents, Western analysts and Kremlin officials.
The Ukrainian attack is carried out from many directives. In fact, it began in May with the VSU attacks in the crucial area of Bakhmut that all the Russian media talked about and that led to the controversial withdrawal of the Wagner company amid accusations against the generals of his country. Now his boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has completely retired and announced a “vacation period” from his mercenaries until August. Among other things, this prevents him from being forced to sign the contract with defense minister Shojgu, to whom Putin himself publicly shows his anger at every opportunity.
On June 4 and 5, the VSU began the first stage of the reconquest campaign and headed south, to the Zaporizhia and Orekhov area, in the Donetsk region, as Kiev Deputy Defense Minister Anna Maljar reported. . On June 6, the Nova Kajovka dam was bombarded, almost as a response by the Russians to prevent the passage of the enemy even at the cost of leaving the entire region under water, including their own fortifications. On June 9, Putin spoke of Ukraine’s “enormous losses” without having achieved any goals. However, the offensive seems to have only just begun: on June 11, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced the liberation of two villages in the southwestern part of Donetsk, Blagodatnoe and Makarovka, near the center of Velyka Novosilka. The next day the village of Storozhevoe was liberated and, according to some accounts, also that of Novodarovka, in the Zaporizhia region.
The tone of Russian propaganda seems to be turning towards preparation for the loss of part of the occupied territories. Already on June 4, one of the most extreme Putinist voices on television, Margarita Simonián, called for an end to the armed confrontations and to proceed to a “referendum on the disputed territories”, as if they had been last year, with the subsequent annexation , no longer had value even for the Russians. Although other voices accuse it of “propaganda of defeat”, the feeling is spreading that the very organs of the Kremlin have begun to prepare for the “shameful betrayal”.
Beyond the strategic effects of the VSU attacks, still very difficult to assess even for military experts, and evidently in a phase of reconnaissance rather than an actual attack, the discourses on the Ukrainian reconquest have a very wide and varied scope. , depending on the side to which they are directed. For months Zelensky tried to convince all the Western partners of the possibility of victory, and in this way he obtained tanks and armored vehicles, drones and attack aircraft, and all the necessary means to start operations.
Meanwhile, the Russians have built around 1,500 kilometers of fortifications and trenches to resist the attack, investing more than 10 billion rubles. Diversanty partisan raids in the Belgorod region and other areas have shown that it is possible to bypass them, but not attack them head-on. The Russians boast of historic victories, from Napoleon to Hitler, but in reality Russia has always succeeded in defense, never in attack; even Peter the Great’s historic victory against the Swedes at Poltava (Ukraine) in 1709 was achieved thanks to a retreat.
Not only the liberation of the territories occupied by Russia depends on the successes of the VSU, but also the continuity of the financial and military support of the allies to Ukraine, which is now considered the “eastern end of NATO”. Sources in the Biden administration believe that if the Ukrainian attack is not “effective enough”, supplies of arms and money will be significantly reduced and calls for peace talks with Russia will be stronger and shared, coming closer to the initiatives of Pope Francis. and his envoys.
The success of the counteroffensive for the Ukrainians implies the vacation of all lands up to the Crimea; in the Westerners’ view, it would be enough to recapture the southwestern regions on the Black Sea, or at least inflict such losses on the Russian military as to force the Kremlin to rethink the possibility of continuing the war. European countries, for their part, look at Ukraine not as an instrument of struggle, but as a people with whom they can finally enter into dialogue, also seeing the effect of the many thousands of refugees who have lived in Europe for so long. , along with their compatriots who emigrated years ago.
The true outcome of Ukrainian actions, rather than military victories, focuses on the psychological effects of the information on the various audiences involved. In the first place about its own citizens, who for a year and a half have suffered the terrible invasion and for six months have not seen victorious actions in response, after the expulsion of the Russians from the western bank of the Dnieper to Kherson. The fighting spirit of the VSU is still very high, much higher than that of the Russians, but it is not known how long they will be able to hold out at this level – they must have hope, backed by some positive results on the battlefield.
Then there is all of Western public opinion, involved by the press and television, but probably even more so by social networks. The decisions of the political administrations of the allies depend to a large extent on the orientation of the masses, which determines the consensus of the political parties paying great attention to Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. The same Ukrainians try in every possible way to communicate on a global level in order to explain their situation to the whole world. On the other hand, fundraisers, calls for volunteers, the purchase of equipment, drones, weapons, cars and logistics of all kinds also pass through social networks, which Meduza’s “Signal” column calls the “subculture of Ukraine’s allies.
And the third public to take into account is that of the Russians, in whom the counteroffensive produces a “panic effect” stronger than the drones that roam from the Kremlin to the most distant regions, the sabotage against military districts and the operations of partisan guerrillas. All this tests the nerves of the military high command, shakes the political leadership and makes the indifferent and apolitical mass of the population reflect. The Russian propagandists themselves have no idea what the direction of the Ukrainian attacks is and seem rather baffled. The important thing for the Russians is to hold out as long as possible, so that they can claim to have held the occupied territories, at least for the most part. The thing is that today the situation has been reversed from the beginning of the war: battalions of Ukrainian soldiers are threatening the “Russian borders” and no one knows how it will end.
From all this, a decisive figure for Ukraine emerges with increasing force, the head of the Armed Forces, General Valerij Zaluzhny. If President Zelenski is the image of resistance and agreement with the allies, Zaluzhny is the man of military salvation against the invasion. In February 2022, only Army men knew him, and they called him “Lord Voldemort”, the dark wizard from the Harry Potter saga, the one “whose name cannot be pronounced”. When the Russian troops approached Kiev, the entire Zelensky team suggested blowing up the bridges across the Dnieper to prevent the enemy from entering the capital. Zaluzhny then came forward stating that he would defend the bridges, and from then on the Russians began to retreat, leaving behind them the tragic trail of the Bucha and Mariupol massacres and many other places.
Zaluzhny earned the cover of Time’s “The General and the Ukrainian Way of War” and has been Ukraine’s winning face ever since. On the other hand, he himself declares himself a “disciple of Gerasimov”, his counterpart in the Russian Armed Forces, of whom “he has read all the books”, and assures that “all the true military science is found in the Russian-Soviet manuals”. . Even in the field of war he embodies the true nature of the conflict, the impossible synthesis of East and West in Eurasia, which is the great geopolitical, philosophical and religious problem of this war.
The Ukrainian general performs the miracle of combining the wisdom of infinite spaces with the dynamics of neighboring states, the great difference that exists between Asia and Europe. He is the “human commander” who jokes with the troops even in the most dramatic situations, appearing much more ironic and theatrical than the professional comedian Zelensky, who in turn has assumed the image of the stern and unshakable president, in a surprising reversal of roles. that could even anticipate an electoral confrontation, once the current obstacle is overcome. The Russians have spread the false news that he was seriously wounded and had undergone brain surgery, but he is certainly not the only dezinformatsija of this war, as brutal as it is hybrid.
Throughout Ukraine, the image of the general making the sign of victory circulates, with the inscription “God is with us and with the Hetman Zaluzhny”, attributing to him the ancient title of the head of the Cossacks. It is a war of symbols and images, and now “Voldemort” dissolving into dust has become the description of Putin, the sorcerer who must be eliminated with the victory of the Ukrainian wizards.
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