Russian occupation in Ukraine is news only for residents of Russia, but not for the rest of the world, especially for experts in the field of geopolitics. Western experts from the American private research company Stratfor had conducted extensive scenario planning when considering Russian offensive military options towards Ukraine, Joinfo.ua reports.
At the present time, the Russian troops reinforce pro-Russian separatists, located in Crimea and south-eastern Ukraine.
The first version of the Russian aggression is small incursions along the border with Ukraine in order to reduce the combat power of the Ukrainian army. From the Russian military perspective this is efficient and effective. Such a move is likely to be used in conjunction with any future military actions by Russia and pro-Russian separatists.
Russia would attempt to make the occupied territory of the Donbas self-sustaining in military terms. Armies of fighters has been already formed to this end.
One of the most commonly rumored options entails Russia driving along Ukraine's southern coast to link up Crimea with separatist positions in eastern Ukraine. For this scenario it was assumed that planners would make the offensive front broad enough to secure Crimea's primary water supply, sourced from the Dnieper. This water feature is significant because much of Russia's defensive line would be anchored on the key defensible terrain in the region: namely, the Dnieper River. This would achieve a land bridge and secure supply lines into Crimea.
In carrying out this attack, it would be directed toward the city of Kherson and Nova Kakhovka on the Dnieper River, where the defensive positions are expected to be set up. One of the potential obstacles to this scenario is that lines of supply would extend for quite some distance along a thin, difficult to defend, stretch of land.
The second scenario involves seizure of the entire southern coast of Ukraine, rather than a part of the land for the overland route to Crimea. Such a strategy would connect Russia and its security forces in the separatist region of Transdniestria. In this case, Russia seeks to completely cut Kyiv off the Black Sea, thus ensuring geopolitical interests of Russia.
In this case, defensive position could not be anchored on the Dnieper River. It would require more power to keep the territory. The port city of Odessa would be very important from the economical point of view.
Two scenarios that run along the coast have serious shortcomings, leaving Russian forces in extremely exposed places. An extended frontage over relatively flat terrain, bisected by riverine features, is far from ideal. Russia has options to go beyond this. However, it would ivvolve taking the southern half of the Eastern Ukraine.
A significant part of defensive lines would not be anchored on the Dnieper River. Instead, it can be stretched along the Kharkiv-Dnipropetrovsk line, keeping the two cities, as well as Zaporizhzhya under control.
In general, Russia is able to seize whole eastern Ukraine up to Dnieper. But it would take big efforts to control the entire region. In addition, a high level resistance would be expected.