Remember Ukraine ? Since 7th October the war in the East of Europe has been pretty much forgotten. The Grim Reaper has probably taken a bigger toll in October in Ukraine than he has in the Middle East but that’s no longer news. And still the fighting goes on.
The Russians have been throwing lots of their troops into attacks to absorb Ukraine’s efforts. The attacks have a times resembled the second world war with barely trained troops attacking in human waves and behind them blocking units to make sure nobody retreats. Ukraine for its part has struggled to break the Russian defences. The much heralded western tanks have had little chance to show their capability as the miles of minefields make them hard to deploy. Whoever wins they will just have inherited land which will take years to bring back to use.
And time marches on. Ukraine’s summer offensive has failed, it has not made the gains it sought. There is still a small window to succeed but that is closing daily as we enter the season of Rasputitsa. Rasputitsa, the autumn rains which make movement off road difficult in the extreme, in effect it stops the fighting. In some way this might explain Russian desperation to hold their lines as the rain will bog down the whole front and give them a breathing space to reorganise.
Ukraine can do little to stop the weather, it will now need further financial and military support to get through the rains and the winter. For Russia much the same but against a background of financial stress which is now starting to impact the economy. Rising interest rates, shortages of foreign currency and gaps appearing in industry for manpower and key components. Both sides will now prepare for the impact of winter and brace themselves for a third year of war in February.