War Update #19 – Ukraine ‘General Mud’ Slowing Russian Advance

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Russian President Vladimir Putin - Image supplied by the Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin - Image supplied by the Kremlin

Russia Bogging Down?

In World War Two, as Germany advanced on Moscow in the winter months of October 1941 to January 1942, the German Wehrmacht assault seemed unstoppable. Then, first the fall rains started, and roads and fields turned to quagmires of mud. The German Generals were hoping for colder weather to freeze the ground and allow the panzers to start moving again.

Then the Russian secret weapon “General Winter” joined the battle, temperatures dropped, and the Wehrmacht were not apparently prepared for the Russian winter.

It was a logistics battle, and NAZI dictator Adolf Hitler had decided that Russia was ready to fall, and apparently felt his armies would not need the winter clothing, winter diesel and winter oils because in his view the war would be over. It was a now obvious major mistake.

Russian President Putin appears to be a poor student of history. He is forgetting how in World War Two, Russians mobilized in total support to fight the invaders.

Putin seems to have decided his armed forces would simply be able to walk in to Ukraine.

However, in Ukraine, it is starting to appear that “General Mud” is slowing the ability of Russian tanks and trucks to move. Russian tanks and trucks are being shown stuck in the mud, out of fuel, and there are growing widespread reports of low morale with Russian troops.

That is not too suggest this war is shifting and Russia is losing. But it is now possible to see that Russian victory is not a sure thing.

Trouble in Chernobyl

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has lost power, according to Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate.

The nuclear plant is currently under Russian control, employees from Ukraine’s energy operator, Ukrenergo, are unable to access the plant and restore power. Backup generators are reported to be currently functioning, and that is what is powering the plants’s cooling system as it cools nuclear waste and prevents it from overheating.

According to Washington Post, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is reporting “The generators only have enough diesel to power the plant for only another 48 hours at which point a leak will become imminent.”

Economic Sanctions

The European Union states that it will be expanding sanctions against Russia. The next round will likely include more of the officials and oligarchs who are close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Coke, Pepsi, Starbucks and McDonalds have all announced they are suspending operations in Russia. McDonalds has said that they will continue to pay the 62,000 employees in Russia. The company was one of the first to open in Russia back in the days of the Soviet Union, and its iconic brand was seen as a sign of change. The first McDonalds opened in the Soviet Union in Moscow on January 31st 1990 at dawn, that first day there were more than 5,00 people some who started lining up at 4:30 AM to get their first taste of Western fast food. That McDonalds opening was widely seen as the beginning of the end of the fully Communist Soviet Union.

Additionally, more major companies have announced their departure from Russia. Yum! Brands has announced the company will be closing all seventy of its KFC franchises in Russia. Amazon is halting delivery of products to both Russia and Belarus. Amazon will also be revoking customers’ access to Amazon Prime Video in Russia and Belarus. Imperial Brands, the tobacco company that owns Winston, West, Golden Virginia, and Drum will stop selling its products in Russia; Intel and AMD will are halting sales to Russia. Heineken is announcing it will halt producing and selling beer in Russia.

Russia is going to have problems as a result of the growing economic sanctions. There are airliners now in Russia which are subject to seizure due to non-payment of leases. The long term impact on Russia is to be seen at this point as most of those aircraft are inside of Russia, and not easily accessible to the lease holders.

One move being implemented in Russia over the number of companies pulling out of the country are moves by the government to seize ownership of the business or property. Alexander Zhukov, the deputy speaker of the Russian Parliament’s lower house, announced the introduction of a bill in the Russian State Duma on Wednesday. If the bill passes, companies that are at least 25% owned by citizens of “unfriendly” states would be taken over by a third party. The new management would then have five days to either resume operations or sell their shares.

It could be a sign that President Putin is in this war for the long haul, and does raise speculation that he may be in a position to expand his war as threatened.

Russia Admits to Bringing in Conscript Soldiers

Russia’s Defense Ministry has now officially acknowledged that conscript troops had been sent into the Ukraine to fight. This issue was repeatedly denied by Russia, despite President Vladimir Putin. “Unfortunately, it has come to light that conscripts were present in the units of the Russian Armed Forces participating in the special military operation on Ukrainian territory. Almost all of these servicemen have already been withdrawn to Russian territory,” states the Russian Ministry.