Until 2008 it seemed impossible that in the XXI century Europe will occur in absolutely blatant violation of international law and the invasion troops on the territory of another country. It was hard to imagine that Russian troops can be sent with the aggression against Georgia and Ukraine. But Mr. Putin has shown that he can do. When it became clear that the troops can be directed to suppress the Chechens and other countries outside the internationally recognized Russian borders, it became clear that the Russian President international borders do not represent constraints as they are for normal, civilized people. On why predictions about possible full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine is not true, says the former Russian presidential adviser Andrei Illarionov.
After the occupation “live” of Crimea, it became clear that to use the troops he could there and then, where and when he will deem it possible and necessary. Since the so-called “uprising” in the South and East of Ukraine had not been as successful as he had hoped, for the implementation of proclaimed April 17, 2014 goal — the creation of so-called “new Russia” — was the only possible instrument of direct intervention. Do you remember the statement in which he called the 8 cities of Ukraine from Kharkiv to Odessa, which from his point of view are the “new Russia” and which, as he said in a conversation with Bush in 2008, are “historically Russian lands.” Then it seemed that he was ready to use armed force openly as he did in Crimea and the Donbass, in order to achieve these goals. However, this did not happen.
Why? Analysis of the information about the number of Russian troops on the Ukrainian theater of operations, it became clear that open intervention was not planned. Why is it not planned? Because the Russian-Ukrainian border — from Bryansk in the North to Taganrog in the South on the Russian side were focused regular armed units numbering no more than 50 thousand people. These forces were absolutely insufficient to carry out any significant operation against Ukraine.
There are certain parameters the number of armed forces necessary to conduct more or less successful operations in a particular territory depending on its area, residing in the territory of the population, its topography, density of road, Railways and other roads, presence of industry, infrastructure and so on. In order to conduct any significant operation to capture the southern or Eastern Ukraine, those eight areas, which spoke about Putin, even if such military action would be not too rigid, the necessary group of about 1 million people.
During the Second world war front twice swept through the entire territory of Ukraine — first from West to East and then from East to West. In the fighting, both on the side of the Wehrmacht and the red army participated to 1.5-2 million people.
Therefore, when Putin was placed at the border of 50 thousand people, representing active, it was pure blackmail. It was the intimidation of Ukraine, Ukrainian authorities and Ukrainian society. Unfortunately, a number of observers who are not professional military experts, both in Ukraine and abroad, took these actions as preparation for open intervention.
Pay attention to the fact that when Putin is preparing a military operation conventional means, he not only demonstrates their strength, on the contrary, it provides maximum concealment. The invasion of Georgia in August 2008 took place under a shroud of secrecy. Only after the fact we were able to reconstruct the events and to detect a group numbering up to 100 thousand people prepared for the invasion of Georgia, which for the most part has entered the territory of Georgia. When Putin planned Crimean operation, no one, including us intelligence, did not find the concentration of the armed forces, which then invaded Crimea and occupied it. If Putin shows the troops, most likely for blackmail, not for an actual operation. What we saw in the spring and summer of 2014, it was blackmail, but not preparation for the real invasion.
Just now I mentioned that the invasion of Georgia was prepared by a group of the invasion, numbering about 100 thousand people from the southern military district. The population of Georgia is 4 million people. The so-called effective area of Georgia where it is possible to conduct military operations, much less the entire country, because its significant part is difficult or completely impassable mountains. In military terms Georgia is almost the only valley that stretches from West to East, cutting which can stop the life support of the whole country. As you can see, the invasion of Georgia was a dedicated group of 100 thousand people. The population of Eastern and southern Ukraine (or left-Bank Ukraine) — more than 22 million people, more than 5 times more. Effective territory this part of the country coincides with the entire area.
The territory itself is much more, there are no mountains obstructing the movement of military units, there is a dense network of roads and Railways… to simply occupy the territory, grouping is needed, about ten times bigger than the one that was prepared for the invasion of Georgia. That is, again we come to the figure of about 1 million people. Such military forces at the border never was.
Notch on the future — the lack of borders of Ukraine of the armed group numbering in the hundreds of thousands of people means no plans for a major strategic operation for the invasion. Separate tactical operations, such as those that were near Ilovaysk, Debaltsevo, in the WCT or now Avdeevka possible. But large-scale operation aimed at the occupation of a significant part of Ukrainian territory, without grouping of a few hundred thousand people is impossible.