Kharkov: What’s Driving The Latest Military Dynamics And What Might Come Next?

Kharkov: What’s Driving The Latest Military Dynamics And What Might Come Next?

By Andrew Korybko

The reality behind the latest dynamics is more nuanced than Kiev, its Western patrons, and Russia are claiming, which the present analysis will concisely explain. To that end, it’ll identify the lesser-discussed factors driving the most recent on-the-ground developments, prognosticate what might come next, and then share some relevant observations about the Ukrainian Conflict in general.


The US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) is ecstatic about the latest military dynamics around Kharkov after Kiev’s forces reportedly recaptured around 1,000 square kilometers (385 square miles) of territory from Russia and its Donbass Allies. That in turn prompted many of Moscow’s opponents to glorify the advancing army on social media and share predictions about its supposedly imminent victory in the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict that broke out in late February. The reality is more nuanced, however, as the present analysis will concisely explain. What follows is a bulleted list of points drawing attention to the lesser-discussed factors behind the latest military dynamics:

  • Kiev’s Forces Are Entirely Dependent Upon Foreign Military Support

Ukrainian presidential advisor Alexey Arestovich admitted in late March that Russia has “practically destroyed our defence industry”, which means that Kiev’s forces have only been able to keep the conflict going since then due to foreign (US-NATO) military support.

  • The US Already Gave Its Proxies $15.2 Billion In Military Aid Since 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that his country’s latest $2.8 billion in military aid to Kiev brings the grand total to $15.2 billion since the Biden Administration came to power, thus proving that the receiving forces are truly US-NATO proxies, especially when considering the preceding point.

  • The Kherson Counteroffensive Covered The Kharkov One

The Kharkov counteroffensive quickly followed the failed Kherson one and was thus able to achieve some on-the-ground success (however potentially transient) after the defenders rightly prioritized their limited forces to protect the much more strategically significant southern front.

  • Russia Would Rather Retreat Than Pull A Mariupol (For Now)

Unlike Kiev’s forces that illegally militarize residential areas in order to de facto exploit civilians there as human shields exactly as Amnesty International proved last month, Russia would rather retreat than risk collateral civilian and infrastructure damage, at least per its present calculations (which might change).

  • Kharkov Might Be Expendable To Russia From A Strategic Perspective

Not every on-the-ground gain in any conflict has to be kept no matter the cost, which was earlier proven in the Ukrainian context with respect to Kiev and Snake Island, so it follows that Russia’s tactical pullback from Kharkov might also serve similar strategic purposes with respect to the southern front for instance.

Having identified the relevant factors, it’s time to prognosticate what might come next:

  • Russia Might Fully Complete Its Tactical Pullback From Kharkov Region…

Recalling the precedent established by its prior tactical pullback from the northern Ukrainian regions around Kiev, Russia might also fully complete the same maneuver from Kharkov for strategic reasons that can only be speculated in this scenario until everything becomes clearer afterwards.

  •  …Or Russia & Its Donbass Allies Might Push Back Against NATO’s Proxy Army

There’s also the possibility that the defending forces will actively push back against the aggressors, whether to halt the latter’s NATO-fueled advance and thus freeze the line of contact in this part of Ukraine or to re-liberate the recently captured territory, which could in any case lead to a major battle.

  •  The Potential Battle of Kharkov Might Prove To Be A Turning Point In The Conflict

Should Russia and its Donbass Allies decide to reverse the latest military dynamics, then the resultant Battle of Kharkov could ultimately prove to be a turning point in the conflict, after which peace talks could potentially resume ahead of the coming winter and predictably be dictated by the victor.

  • Russia Might Finally Declare The Official Mobilization Of Its Forces

Per the preceding scenario, the significance of the potential Battle of Kharkov in determining the subsequent military-strategic dynamics of the Ukrainian Conflict might compel Russia to finally declare an official mobilization in order to match the foreign-bolstered numbers of NATO’s growing proxy army.

  • Swift Success = Game Changer While Stalemate = More Of The Same

In the event that NATO’s proxies fight a major battle with Russia’s potentially mobilized forces over Kharkov, then swift success by either of them would be a game changer for their side while a stalemate would lead to more of the same and possibly result in ultimately freezing the line of contact by winter.

  • *An Asymmetrical Move By Russia Can’t Be Ruled Out

Irrespective of whether Russia completes its ongoing tactical pullback from Kharkov for strategic reasons that remain to be seen or decides to fight back in a major battle over that region, it can’t be ruled out that President Putin won’t order one of his classic asymmetrical moves to shake everything up.

Some general observations will now conclude the analysis:

  • The Kharkov Counteroffensive Is Kiev’s Last Hurrah Of The Year (& Maybe Ever)

The coming winter is expected to complicate military operations for both sides, thus meaning that Kiev’s counteroffensive in Kharkov is its last hurrah of the year, though it could also possibly be its last hurrah ever if Russia achieves swift success in the potential battle over this region than dictates its peace terms.

  • Information Warfare From Both Sides Will Inevitably Intensify

Considering that the latest military dynamics represent Kiev’s last hurray of the year (and maybe ever), and factoring in that the possible battle over Kharkov Region could be a game changer in the conflict, it’s inevitable that both sides’ information warfare operations will intensify.

  • Wishful Thinking Could Snatch Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

The Russian and Ukrainian publics’ opinion about the conflict is irrelevant to shaping its military dynamics, but if their own sides’ information operations inadvertently mislead their decisionmakers with wishful thinking, then either could suddenly lose major gains and thus be defeated in spite of them.

  • Both Parties Probably Expect Peace Talks To Resume By Early Next Year

All the military events that’ll unfold ahead of the coming winter will almost certainly be leveraged by the side with the most momentum (whether absolute in the scenario of their swift success or relative in a continued stalemate) to resume peace talks by early next year with conditions favorable to their cause.

  • Neither Side Will Likely Ever Achieve Their Desired Maximalist Outcomes

There’s no chance that Russia will let fascists overrun Crimea after democratically reunifying with it to avert that scenario nor will it allow Kiev to recapture all of Donbass after recognizing its independence, though NATO also won’t let Moscow fully demilitarize Ukraine since it’ll keep pumping it full of arms.

  • The Grand Strategic Context Proves That Time Is On Russia’s Side

The global systemic transition to multipolarity that was accelerated by the West’s counterproductive anti-Russian sanctions means that time is on Moscow’s side since the EU is facing major economicpolitical crises that’ll lead to irreversible strategic changes that ultimately work to the Kremlin’s benefit.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.


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Categories: Analysis, Geopolitics, International Affairs

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