RIGA - A possible Russian attack on Ukraine would be a very complex operation, Raimonds Graube, a former commander of the National Armed Forces (NAF) and military adviser to the Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks (For Development), told LETA.
Although some Western sources have previously mentioned that a potential attack on Ukraine would take place on February 16, Graube believes that too much attention was being paid to this date, as there was no official announcement from the West about the day of the attack.
Despite the fact that Wednesday has already passed and Russia claims that the withdrawal of troops has begun, Graube said that nothing has ended because there is no clear evidence of the withdrawal of troops. "Russian television shows army trucks crossing the Kerch Strait Bridge, but we don't know if these trucks are full or empty. There are also some sort of tanks being transported by rail in the dark. We don't know when it was filmed. This is not evidence," Graube said.
Regarding the possible impact of a thaw on the difficulty of moving Russian armaments, as shown in videos posted on social networks where Russian tanks are stuck in the mud, Graube pointed out that he has not conducted a meteorological analysis, but no matter what actions Russia is planning, Russia would like to lessen the potential number of soldiers killed. Despite Russian propaganda, it is not likely Russian society would like to see ''coffins coming back home''.
Whatever Russia is planning, Russian President Vladimir Putin would try to justify military action, for example by conducting provocations. "He would have to convince Russian society that he has not other choice," Graube added.
A possible attack on Ukraine would be a very complex operation, involving information warfare, cyber-attacks and military action. A possible military attack without the above would start with long-range weapons, such as the use of missile systems, aviation attacks. Once control of airspace was gained, armored vehicles and infantry could be sent in.
"If control of Ukraine's weapons systems were to be gained, it would be easier to move armored vehicles because there would be less off-road movement. Then the importance of having frozen ground diminishes. In any case, this is just my speculation, and there could be several operational versions of a potential attack," Graube said.
In view of the above, Graube believes that in the event of a potential conflict, Russia would do its utmost to avoid the need for large numbers of troops and the widespread use of conventional warfare methods used during World War II.
"It would be nothing like before, but a new complex approach that works not only physically but also psychologically," Graube admitted.
Speaking about the anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons recently granted by the West, Graube pointed out that these gifts were not decisive, but better than nothing, and that such gifts indicated the West's desire to help Ukraine and give Ukrainians moral satisfaction.