RIGA - At present, it looks like Russia is preparing for a drawn out war in Ukraine, moreover, when Mariupol finally falls into the hands of the Russians, opportunities will open up for the Russians to transfer forces to Donbas, a spokesman for the National Armed Forces, Captain Janis Slaidins, told LETA.
If Mariupol came under full Russian control, Russia would be able to release some of its forces. The reorganization and reshaping of Russian units in the city could be used to attack the north of the country and the Donbas.
Slaidins explained that Russia cannot be underestimated and that the country has sufficient resources to mobilize more troops. At the same time, it is undeniable that the Russians are have problems with equipment, because there have been great losses in this area.
Although Mariupol is located between the Donbas and the Russian-occupied Crimea, Slaidins drew attention to the fact that the Russians already have a ''land bridge'' between these regions.
The expert also pointed out that Ukraine obviously does not have the opportunity to end the siege of Mariupol, as it requires a large concentration of forces and the Russian army will certainly expect that such a scenario could follow on the part of Ukraine.
"It should also be understood that Mariupol is quite close to the Russian border, and Russia's supply chains are working much better than at the beginning of the conflict near Kyiv. Relocating Russian reserves, if necessary, would not be a big problem. Such an attack by Ukraine would be cumbersome and would require large resources," Slaidins said.
It also looks like the Russian army is trying to surround the Ukrainian forces in the Donbas, but there is no surprise effect, because the Ukrainian units have a good understanding of Russia's actions and this is an advantage for the Ukrainian side.
Given Russia's plight in the Black Sea with the loss of the cruiser Moskva, the expert also assessed the storming of Odessa by sea as unlikely. In addition, in order to carry out an attack on Odessa, it is necessary to occupy Mykolaiv, which is like an outpost.
The expert believes that Russia is preparing for a long-term war, because the previously planned success has not been achieved, but Russia will not give up its positions. "It is important both internally and externally. I doubt the Putin regime will just say that everything is over. They will try to achieve the maximum. At the moment, it seems that the Ukrainians are fighting for peace and freedom, but Russia is fighting for chaos," stressed the expert.
Although it has been said in the press that Russia needs some success by May 9, Slaidins refrained from drawing parallels with that date. The Russians have not fulfilled their basic tasks, and Ukrainian units have already thwarted their plans in the early stages of the war, while Russia politically needs some victory to explain to its citizens through propaganda that something has been achieved in the so-called special operation, the expert summed up.