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Kharkov fight aims to disintegrate Ukraine’s army

There is a large Russian operation underway in Ukraine focused on the Kharkov area. At the same time, the Russians are also attacking elsewhere, primarily in Donbas but also in Zaphorize. The threat in the north has compelled Ukraine to pull troops deployed elsewhere, including Chasiv Yar, to try and hold the line in the Kharkov area.

If Russia intended to force Ukraine’s army to move its troops northwards, then it looks like a success so far. These troop movements will offer the Russian army the chance to do more damage to Ukraine’s army.

The big question concerns Russia’s underlying objective. Military experts do not think Russia has enough new troops deployed (an additional 50,000) to actually take Kharkov. Some think Russia may bring in additional forces to conquer Kharkov, but so far at least, that has not happened.

There seems to be a strong conviction in NATO circles that Kharkov is the target. I am far less certain, and in fact, it seems to me that is not the objective.

While it is true that a cauldron is being built by the Russians around the city, my own belief is they want to fight the Ukrainians more out in the open than inside a big city. Kharkov is Ukraine’s second-largest city.

To my mind, Russia’s objective is to force Ukraine’s army to chase after invading Russian units. The idea is to cause heavy casualties on the Ukrainian side and, if all goes according to plan, either to split Ukraine’s army into two, or disintegrate it altogether.

In such a manner the idea is not just to take territory but to destroy Ukraine’s ability to resist. There are many indicators that Russia is having success in the ongoing operation.

The first is that the commander of Ukraine’s northern tier defense, Brigadier General