רון בן ישי בדיווח לאולפן מאוקראינה
Ron Ben-Yishai
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Satellite images showing Russian military convoy

Why Kyiv standing idly by while Russia's 60km attack convoy 'stuck in traffic'

Analysis: Russian military convoy that is slowly making its way to the capital, has been plagued by failures and logistical troubles, accentuating Moscow's overconfidence and Ukraine's inability to strike a fatal blow to Russia's forces

Ron Ben-Yishai |
Published: 03.02.22, 13:49
The 60km Russian convoy is slowly making its way toward Kyiv. As the advance continues to be plagued by technical difficulties, many questions about the strategic capabilities of the commanding officers on both sides are emerging.
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  • There seems to be a failure, or even a series of failures, on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides.
    5 View gallery
    תמונות הלוויין של הכוחות הרוסיים
    תמונות הלוויין של הכוחות הרוסיים
    Satellite images showing Russian military convoy
    (Photo: EPA / SATELLITE IMAGE 2022 MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES)
    The convoy is composed of T72 tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled guns, lots of fuel tankers, ammunition trucks, command cars and anti-aircraft weapons, anti-aircraft missiles and anti-aircraft guns.
    That is without mentioning the thousands of soldiers who are part of the convoy, be they infantry or simply logistical and maintenance personnel, all of them trudging slowly through the freezing snow.
    Satellite imagery shows the convoy is located in Ukrainian sovereign territory, and is moving entirely on one axis instead of spreading over a large area. The front guard of the convoy is about 20 km from the suburbs of Kyiv, while the convoy’s tail end is about 80 km from the capital.
    But the question is why the Russian president and invasion's mastermind Vladimir Putin is allowing his men to stay out in the open, in the freezing cold, to essentially serve as a prime target for a Ukrainian ambush?
    Western intelligence sources claim that Putin has probably not yet decided whether to advance deep into Kyiv or to just encircle it, and he is now recalculating his approach.
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    Ukrainian soldiers take position on a bridge inside the city of Kyiv
    Ukrainian soldiers take position on a bridge inside the city of Kyiv
    Ukrainian soldiers take position on a bridge inside the city of Kyiv
    (Photo: AP)
    American sources, meanwhile, claim the convoy is suffering from severe supply problems and constant roadblocks caused by the many Russian vehicles trying to advance, as well as from a prevalent lack of fuel and a worrying shortage of food for the soldiers.
    All of these issues have caused the morale of the personnel taking part in the massive convoy - the size of which was not seen in Europe since World War II - to plummet.
    Israelis know all too well the damage a clogged route can cause. The 1973 operation meant to prevent Iraqi reinforcements from aiding Syria against Israel during the Yom Kippur War nearly failed due to the same issue.
    With the Russian convoy, however, it seems a myriad of problems blended together to create a situation where it can barely move, while its people are stuck in -5 degrees Celsius weather, with barely any provisions, mere kilometers from Kyiv’s northern outskirts.
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    כוחות המלה מפנים גופה בבניין הממשל בחרקוב
    כוחות המלה מפנים גופה בבניין הממשל בחרקוב
    Bodies of the dead removed after Russian bombing of Kharkiv on Tuesday
    (Photo: AP)
    One can also understand why the Russian generals fear, or at least hesitate, to enter a city of with a population of four millions, who have so far showed that they would rather die than allow Russian tanks enter their cities.
    Urban combat would more than likely cost Russia a lot of lives. Putin, therefore, is likely to consider encircling the city and disconnecting it from supplies, all while bombarding government institutions and symbols in order to force the Ukrainians to turn their backs on their president, Volodomyr Zelensky, and agree to form a pro-Russian government.
    What is even weirder than the Russian’s failure, is that the Ukrainian army and militias have not attempted to attack the convoy at all: not with planes or tanks mind you, but at least with pins to cause death by a thousand cuts, which is a classic guerrilla counter attack method, often involving javelin missiles and RPGs, which the Ukrainians have received form the Americans.
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    גשר הרוס ליד קייב
    גשר הרוס ליד קייב
    A destroyed bridge near Kyiv
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Two such attacks striking the head and tail of the convoy will see several dozen vehicles burn, and will all but signal the beginning of a crushing Russian defeat. One that will parallel Napoleon’s failed invasion of Russia in 1812, which was thwarted with the help of the country’s freezing cold winter.
    A conventional attack by Ukraine is doomed to fail. Despite the poor visibility and conditions, Russia’s air force, tanks, and anti-air capabilities can all demolish the Ukrainians' limited and outdated military potential.
    And so, why have the Ukrainians not taken advantage of this opportunity to crush the invading Russian forces?
    First, it makes sense that the Ukrainians and those who advise them in Washington and London hope that the sanctions imposed on Russia, coupled with the Ukrainians’ small victories in Mariupol, Kharkiv and the southern Ukraine will all sway Putin away from entering or besieging Kyiv.
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin
    Russian President Vladimir Putin
    Russian President Vladimir Putin
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Second, the Ukrainians most likely fear retaliation if harm comes to the convoy. The sights of the Russian vehicles and tanks burning and the troops fleeing, could cause Putin and his generals to bomb Kyiv indiscriminately in revenge, and even target civilians specifically.
    The third reason is that Zelensky's Ukrainian government, as innocent as it is, still hopes that the ongoing negotiations in Belarus will bring about a ceasefire.
    The fourth reason is the reports of 300 Belarusian tanks standing ready to enter Ukraine via various routes.
    The Ukrainian generals, of all people, understand full well how cruel a Russian revenge can be.
    But a guerrilla attack, a counterattack, could dramatically change the situation in favor of Ukraine. It's a tough and dangerous decision to make, one that can have dire repercussions for both sides, but one that is necessary in times of crisis.























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