NATO and US optimism about Ukraine could be receiving some shocks. Russia’s soft aggression could be over.

TAP – You wonder what happened after the fall of Lisichansk.  The expectation was that the Russian offensive would roll on West, and the Donbass would be liberated within a couple of months.  Odessa would be next, and Ukraine would be whooped by Russia in no time.  But the opposite happened.  The Chechens abandoned the battle field asking for time to regroup and recuperate.  Kharkjov was left exposed without enough troops and Ukraine was able to run a few offensives (at great cost.

Mariupol and Lisichansk showed that Russia has learned how to win in urban warfare in Syria inter alia, but Izyum showed that forested areas were not so easy.  Was that the reason it was decided to delay offensives until th Fall?

In the game of cat and mouse, did Russia also become aware of the increasing presence of NATO, and started picking up on plans to blow up Nordstream,  attack Crimea and run offensives or present advancing Russian troops with some nasty surprises.  Were western negotiating positions also confusing?

There was no overall commander until three weeks ago Surovikin?  hrole do internal Russian politics play?

Douglas MacGregor has some interesting suggestions.  To my mind it seems that this time around Russia will finish the job.

SUROVIKIN STARTS IN KHERSON FROM SCRATCH. Clash of beautiful presentations with the real world.
Author: Dmitry Popov

There is no global cunning plan. It seems that there is no simple global plan either. And there was a turning point, I want to believe, the final collision of the world of beautiful presentations and graphs with the real world. The unaffordable decision to leave the right bank, its voicing to the whole country is a sign that Russia is returning to reality.

There are no complaints about the warring army and there can be no complaints. There can only be admiration for the heroism of people who were able to go so far, liberate so much land.
After all, the unified command appeared only a month ago.
After all, it is only now that Putin has instructed, by November 14, to “bring the standards of the provision of the army in line with real needs.” (Here, by the way, is an interesting point — if people buy everything they need for the army, then they have it all: boots, harnesses, uniforms, sleeping bags, copters and so on, and so on?)
After all, the idea was stated as follows: denazification and demilitarization. But those who are going to be denazified are quietly walking around Kiev, and the Russian Foreign Ministry says that we expect “good will” from them to start negotiations with them.

After all, they themselves made “gestures of goodwill” …
The story is incredible, but not endless.

The Kharkov “regrouping”, the Red Estuary left behind — all these are, in fact, the results of blurring the real state of affairs with PR pictures pleasant to the superior eye. The bureaucratic habit formed over the last decades of measuring the success of work not by tangible results, but by conditional likes from the management.
In the situation with Kherson, we saw a real assessment of the capabilities, equipment, and quantitative composition of the warring units. Very painful, unpleasant, irritating, but adequate.
The decision made is a kind of “reset”, a rollback to factory settings. Probably, now the army will dig into the ground, stabilize the front, hammer the enemy deep into its territory with missile strikes — and we will not see any serious movements in the next month. This will allow Surovikin to finally establish a command system, put experienced officers in key positions (and they have appeared over these months), strengthen the personnel mobilized, organize communications, supplies and the rear. Turn the group into a wartime army.

Wartime is a reality.