Washington (AB) – Kiev Russian defeat for many years. The fighting for the invaders began badly and went downhill from there.
When President Vladimir Putin began his war on February 24 after months of construction on Ukraine’s borders, he sent hundreds of helicopters – the best of Russia’s “Spetsnas” special forces – to attack and capture a lightly guarded airport. On the doorstep of Kiev.
Other Russian forces attacked throughout Ukraine, including the eastern city of Kharkiv and the rival Donbass region and the Black Sea coast. But as a place of national power, Kiev is the main gift. Thus the motivation of the elite air forces in the early days of war.
But Putin failed to achieve his goal of rapidly crushing Ukraine’s firing and increasing numbers of troops. The Russians proved unprepared for the Ukrainian opposition, proved incapable of repairing the setbacks, failed to effectively combine air and ground operations, misrepresented Ukraine’s ability to defend the skies, and paralyzed basic military operations such as planning and execution of the movement of supplies.
“If you want to capture a country, it’s a very bad combination,” said Peter Mansour, a professor of military history at Ohio State University and a retired military colonel.
At least for now, Putin’s forces have moved from Kiev to eastern Ukraine. In the end, the Russian leader can achieve some of his goals. Nevertheless, his failure to capture Kay will be remembered for a long time – how it exceeded pre-war expectations and revealed surprising weaknesses in the military thinking of being one of the strongest in the world.
“It’s amazing,” said Frederick Kagan, a military historian with the Institute for War Studies, who said he knew nothing about the invasion and complete defeat of a major military force like Russia’s choice.
On the morning of the first day of the war, Russian Mi-8 attack helicopters headed south for Kiev on a mission to attack the Hostomel airport in the northwestern suburbs of the capital. With the capture of the airport, also known as Antonov Airport, the Russians planned to establish a base to fly more troops and light armored vehicles within striking distance from the heart of the country’s largest city.
It did not work like that. Many Russian helicopters are said to have been hit by missiles before landing at Hostom, and suffered heavy casualties as a result of artillery fire as they landed at the airport.
Attempts to control a military air base in Vasilkiv, south of Kiev, also met with fierce opposition, and several Russian Il-76 heavy-lift transport planes carrying parachutists were reportedly shot down by Ukrainian security forces.
Although the Russians were eventually able to control the Hostomal airport, fierce opposition from the Ukrainians in the capital area forced them to reconsider an invasion plan based on the expectation that the Ukrainians would soon be wiped out and that the West would be easier to deploy. Fight.
When the US military sent more than 30 Apache attack helicopters from Kuwait to Iraq on March 24, 2003 to attack the Iraqi Republican Guard, airstrikes behind the enemy were as dangerous and difficult as those carried out in Hastom. . On their way, the Apache encountered small arms and anti-aircraft fire, which knocked down one of the Hollows, damaged the others, and forced them to abandon the mission. Nevertheless, the US military recovered from the setback and quickly captured Baghdad.
The fact that the Hostomel attack on the Special Purpose Air Force of the Russian 45th Guard was thwarted cannot be looked back on if the wider Russian effort had progressed beyond that. But did not.
The Russians made small and failed explorations in the heart of Kiev, and then they moved west and tried at great expense to encircle the capital. Against enormous contradictions, the Ukrainians recaptured their land, fought back, paralyzed the Russians, and effectively used a wide range of Western weapons, including Javelin portable anti-tank weapons, shoulder-loaded anti-aircraft missiles and more.
The Russians abandoned Hostomel Airport last week as part of a total retreat to Belarus and Russia.
The widely reported story of the Russian redistribution chain stretching for dozens of miles along a main road to the capital is a by-product of the Kiev war. This initially seemed a worrying sign to the Ukrainians, but they were able to attack the components of the convoy, which had limited off-road capability and eventually disintegrated or became a factor in the fighting.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: “They did not really provide any redistribution to the Russian forces that were concentrating around Kiev and did not really come to their aid.” “The Ukrainians were very fast, hitting the bridges, hitting the front vehicles and stopping the convoy very quickly by stopping their movement.”
Mansour says the Russians underestimated the number of troops they needed and showed “surprising inability” to carry out basic military operations. They have misjudged what it takes to win the Kyiv war, he says.
“It will be difficult even if the Russian military proves itself capable,” he said. “It has proven to be completely incapable of conducting modern armored warfare.”
Putin was not the only one surprised by the initial defeats of his military. U.S. and other Western officials thought that in the event of an invasion, Russia’s seemingly superior forces would cut the Ukrainian army like a hot knife in butter. Although Putin praised how much Ukrainian forces have benefited from the intensified Western training since Putin invaded Crimea in 2014 and infiltrated the Donbass, some analysts say he could capture Kyiv in a few days and the entire country in a few weeks.
On March 25, a month after the invasion began, the Russians announced that they had reached their targets in the Kiev region and were focusing on the separatist Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. Some doubted Putin’s maneuver to buy time without giving up his maximum intentions, but within days the Kiev retreat was in full view.
Putin could reconsider his war effort with the narrow goal of expanding Russian control over the Donbass and securing the land route from the Donbass to the Crimean Peninsula. But his defeat in Kiev revealed weaknesses that made it unlikely he would try again soon to capture Russia’s national capital.
“I think they learned a lesson,” Mansour said.