Oleksii Hromov, Deputy Chief of Main Operational Directorate of General Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine
Step by step, our troops are fulfilling the task of liberating the entire territory of Ukraine from the enemy
05.07.2023 18:55

The summer offensive of the Ukrainian Defense Forces continues. The Ukrainian military continues to liberate our land in heavy fighting. Ukrinform talked to Brigadier General Oleksii Hromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, about the hottest areas, whether the Russians' blowing up of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station affected our offensive, which Western weapons are the most effective and which models the Armed Forces of Ukraine still lack to liberate the territory of Ukraine more effectively, and what to expect from the deployment of the Wagner PMC to the territory of Belarus.


- The Ukrainian offensive continues. Which areas are the hottest?

How many kilometers is the "hot" front line now? What territory have we managed to liberate so far?

- In general, the operational situation has not changed dramatically in the course of the offensive by the defense forces and is characterized by the enemy's attempts to reach the administrative border of Donetsk region and hold territory in the Donetsk and Tavria operational areas. As part of the offensive in the Donetsk and Tavria operational areas, the most active areas are Melitopol and Berdiansk, where our units have advanced into the depths of enemy defense to 7.5 km.

In total, since the beginning of the offensive, the Ukrainian Defense Forces have liberated 9 settlements. At the same time, we have regained control of almost 160 square kilometers of Ukrainian land.

As for the length of the so-called "hot" line of contact, it now exceeds 1,200 kilometers. But here we are talking about the direct line of contact with the enemy in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions, where active hostilities are ongoing.

However, we cannot forget about the northern borders with Belarus and the Russian Federation, where the enemy conducts constant rocket and artillery attacks, the activities of the enemy's sabotage and reconnaissance forces are noted, and the threat of military invasion remains; as well as the sea coast in Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, where, despite the decline in the enemy's naval potential, we cannot completely dismiss its landing capabilities. In addition, there is the border with Transnistria, where Russia maintains a limited group of troops. Therefore, in general, such a line could be about 3,800 kilometers long.

- How have the tactics of the Russian occupiers changed over the past month? Where and where is the enemy most actively deploying equipment and manpower?

- Objectively, the enemy's tactics have not changed significantly. Russian units are conducting assault operations, trying to force our troops out of their positions. Wagner PMC units have been replaced by regular troops. The enemy is actively using artillery, assault and army aviation. It advances in small units of up to a company size, usually without military equipment. In some cases, assault units are reinforced by tanks. The enemy is most actively moving equipment and manpower to the occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions to repel the offensive of the Ukrainian Defense Forces. After the dam of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station was blown up and coastal areas were flooded, the enemy was able to strengthen troop groups in threatened areas by deploying troops from the temporarily occupied part of the Kherson region.

- To what extent did the Russians' blowing up of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant complicate the offensive?

By destroying the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, the invaders intended to stop the offensive of our troops, but achieved the opposite effect

- First of all, it is worth noting that the Russian invaders' blowing up of this hydroelectric facility is a crime and an act of terrorism that led to a man-made disaster in the center of modern Europe. Significant damage was done to the environment, ecosystem, a huge number of farms, houses, businesses were destroyed, people living in the south of our country suffered a bitter misfortune...

By destroying the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, the invaders intended to stop the offensive of our troops, but achieved the opposite effect. The wave from the dam, among other things, washed away the first defensive line of the occupiers along the left bank of the Dnipro River. And from a purely military point of view, this crime could not have led to the destruction of our plans. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have sufficiently trained units equipped with modern weapons and military equipment, including those for forcing water obstacles. Step by step, the Ukrainian military is fulfilling the task of liberating the entire territory of our country from the invaders.

- As they advance, our troops face the fact that the Russians have mined tens of thousands of hectares in the occupied territories. Do we have enough armored vehicles and mechanized demining machines?

- According to intelligence, the enemy has set up a deeply echeloned system of engineering obstacles in the occupied territories, which consists of several obstacle strips of 10 to 40 km each, and their density is quite high. Each obstacle strip includes anti-tank minefields, non-explosive obstacles in the form of anti-tank ditches, concrete pyramids (the so-called "dragon's teeth"), anti-tank hedgehogs, and wire obstacles. In addition, the enemy insidiously uses mines or groups of mines, setting them to be undetectable, like booby traps. Special engineering equipment is also used to overcome such obstacles. Of course, in the course of performing tasks, this equipment is damaged or fails. In this regard, and in order to further increase the capabilities of our troops in overcoming enemy minefields, we have agreements with partner countries to continue supplying the necessary amount of engineering equipment, namely demining units and charges, tank bridge pavers, equipment for making passages in explosive and non-explosive barriers.


- Is the mobilization in Russia still ongoing, and how many Russian mobilized people are currently undergoing training in training centers?

The leadership of the Russian Federation plans to improve the situation in a short time by formally "merging" militants of private military companies (except for the Wagner Group) numbering about 40,000 people into the armed forces.

- Officially, mobilization in Russia has been suspended. However, measures are being taken to recruit contract soldiers to replenish and replenish the losses of units in the combat zone. According to the Kremlin's plans, the armed forces are expected to recruit up to 500,000 additional people. However, the level of training and support of the military personnel who sign the contracts is insufficient to perform their assigned tasks - they gain the necessary experience directly during the fighting. Nevertheless, given the significant mobilization resource, Russia is able to fully provide its armed forces with personnel to wage a long war of attrition. Since the beginning of the spring conscription (approximately 2.5 months), the enemy has recruited only 6 to 15,000 people for contract service. At the same time, the leadership of the Russian Federation plans to improve the situation in a short time by formally "merging" militants of private military companies (except for the Wagner Group) numbering about 40,000 people into the armed forces. Currently, 3,000 to 5,000 mobilized Russian servicemen are undergoing training in training centers in Belarus.

- Is it true that Russia is no longer recruiting prisoners on a large scale, and what is the reason for this?

- In general, there has never been a massive recruitment of prisoners into the regular army in Russia. Only regular "storm-z" companies operate within the combined arms units and military units, which are staffed by convicts who agreed to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. The massive recruitment of prisoners, according to some estimates - up to 27,000 people, was carried out by the PMC "Wagner". It was its units that performed tasks in the interests of the regular troops of the Russian Federation and were actively used in the hostilities in Bakhmut.

- In January of this year, the enemy announced the formation of at least 20 new divisions. Can you assess the extent to which it has succeeded or failed in implementing these plans? Are there any signs of an increase in strategic reserves and their deployment to the borders of Ukraine?

We know that the enemy has formed new military units as part of the 25th Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District and the 40th Army Corps of the Southern Military District

- The formation of so many new units will require additional human and material resources. It should be imagined that only one division, depending on its weapons and purpose, can number from 5 to 20,000 soldiers... In the context of war and sanctions from Western countries, as well as taking into account the recent events related to the Wagner PMC rebellion, it is very difficult to implement such plans in full.

At the moment, we know that the enemy is forming new military units as part of the 25th Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District and the 40th Army Corps of the Southern Military District. These forces can be used as a strategic reserve.

According to our data, the 25th Army will include a motorized rifle division, two motorized rifle brigades and one tank brigade. The 40th Army Corps will include a motorized rifle division and a brigade. They are expected to be ready no earlier than the beginning of next year. And the timing of their deployment to the Ukrainian border will depend on the level of readiness for combat operations.

- The number of seriously wounded on the enemy's side is very high, and many of them die in local hospitals before they can be transported to Russia.

Is there any evidence of the deployment of new hospitals by the Russians near the border with Ukraine?

- The enemy is actively using the seized medical facilities of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine in the occupied territories to its advantage. Some of the wounded are sent to Russia, including by air. At the beginning of the full-scale aggression, the enemy had problems with medical support. Currently, the seriously wounded are being treated, including using the capabilities of civilian medical facilities in the regions of Russia bordering Ukraine. According to available data, an additional medical facility has recently been deployed in Shebekino (Belgorod region) for this purpose.

- What is the current situation in the temporarily occupied Crimea, and how many families of Russian military personnel are leaving the peninsula?

- In the temporarily occupied Crimea, the enemy is actively preparing for defense: the construction of fortifications in the north of the peninsula is almost complete, and an airborne defense system is being created on the northwestern and western coasts of Crimea to prevent possible landings of Ukrainian Defense Forces. However, we do not have accurate data on the mass departure of Russian military families from the peninsula. However, we should expect a significant increase in the number of people trying to leave Crimea in the event of a threat of destruction of the Crimean bridge, the approach of groups of troops (forces) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to the Perekop and Chongar Isthmus in connection with the beginning of preparations for the liberation of the peninsula from the occupiers.


- Ukraine continues to receive Western aid and actively uses it at the front. In your opinion, which types of weapons have exceeded expectations and which are most in demand by different branches of the armed forces?

- We appreciate all the military-technical assistance provided by our partner countries, each sample has its own value and is in demand by the troops - from Starlink satellite communication kits to HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems. Undoubtedly, the PATRIOT (USA) anti-aircraft missile systems have exceeded all our expectations in terms of their effectiveness.

With their receipt, the Armed Forces of Ukraine gained new capabilities and destroyed the myth that it is impossible to destroy not only aerodynamic (cruise missiles, attack UAVs, airplanes, helicopters) but also ballistic targets (Iskander-M ballistic missiles, Kinzhal airborne ballistic missiles).

The most successful combination of combat capabilities and versatility of use in the interests of almost all types (branches) of troops (forces) is noted in the work of the unmanned aerial vehicle complex "Bayraktar-TB2" produced by Turkey. It is thanks to drones of this type that our military were able to effectively conduct aerial reconnaissance, timely expose the enemy's actions and simultaneously destroy its targets. At the beginning of the war, this was especially important given the rapid advance of Russian occupation forces across the territory of Ukraine.

The "Harpoon" coastal missile system proved to be a good choice due to its high efficiency, ease of use, and short training time for personnel operating it.

In addition, it is worth noting the powerful firepower of the Hellfire ATGM with AGM-114-2 thermobaric missiles, Javelin ATGM, and Stinger MANPADS,

155-mm artillery systems M-777, M-119, as well as high performance in protecting personnel in the МаххPrо armored personnel carriers and OSHKOSH.

Indeed, Ukraine has recently received many samples of foreign-made artillery weapons. As of today, these are more than 10 different types of artillery systems (M777, FH-70, TRF-1, PzH 2000, AHS Krab, Caesar, Zuzana, AS90, M109, M119, L119) and more than 5 types of multiple launch rocket systems (M142 Himars, M270 MLRS, MARS-II, LRU, APS-40, RM-70). At the same time, new systems are expected to arrive that have not yet been used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, such as Archer and Firtina.

It is inappropriate to single out which of these systems is better. Each of them is designed to be used in different conditions and to perform certain tasks, and in general, each system copes with such tasks.

This is a high-tech weapon that allows us to achieve certain goals with less losses - we are preserving our personnel. After all, no one doubts that human life is the most precious value.

All of these systems are expected and desired in units of both the Armed Forces and other components of the Ukrainian Defense Forces.

- After the explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, no one can rule out Russian crimes on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Are our troops ready for such a development and are the military in this operational area provided with everything they need?

At the front, in case of radiation hazard, Ukrainian military are provided with personal protective equipment and radiation monitoring

- It should be noted that the scenario with a relatively high probability of Zaporizhzhia NPP blowing up is not new. It is the subject of careful study and constant monitoring of the situation - both to assess the possible consequences of such a scenario and to assess the impact on the performance of tasks by the troops and to take the necessary response measures.

In case of radiation hazard, the Ukrainian military is provided with personal protective equipment and radiation monitoring devices directly at the front.

In addition, the Defense Forces have trained and equipped personnel reserves that can directly perform radiation reconnaissance, control and decontamination tasks for units that have been exposed to radioactive contamination. ("Decontamination" is the process of conducting medical and sanitary measures to eliminate chemical, radiation factors and biological agents from the surface of the human body, in or on food prepared for consumption, on other objects, including vehicles, that may pose a risk of radiation exposure.

Units of the State Emergency Service will also be involved in the implementation of measures specific to them.


- On June 16, Putin said that the first batch of nuclear charges had been delivered to Belarus, which is planned to be deployed in the country. Can you confirm this information? In your opinion, is the threat of using nuclear weapons against Ukraine real?

- I cannot confirm this information. To store nuclear munitions, it is necessary to create special conditions and deploy a base for their maintenance. This is a very complex technological process. Today, the presence of nuclear charges on the territory of Belarus is unlikely. It is difficult to say how real the threat of using nuclear weapons against Ukraine is. We should not forget that this is a war with an insidious enemy that does not respect international law and is ready to do anything to achieve its goals. A striking example for us is the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant by the Russians.

- The Russians still have a large number of ballistic missiles, which they use to attack our cities. In addition, they continue to attack with cruise missiles, the stocks of which are exhausted. According to your estimates, how many such missiles, of what types, can the Russian military-industrial complex produce per month, and have the rates of their production increased/decreased?

- According to our estimates, the Russian military-industrial complex is capable of producing about 100 missiles per month, including more than 10 units for the Iskander air defense system, up to 30 units of the Kalibr sea-based missile system, and up to 60 units of air-launched cruise missiles, including the Kinzhal hypersonic airborne ballistic missiles. Unfortunately, Russia manages to maintain the pace of their production, and for some types of weapons - to increase it, due to the transition of Russian enterprises to a round-the-clock operation and the use of the elemental base purchased in circumvention of the imposed sanctions.

- You recently reported that Russian troops are building up the number of tactical missile groups in the regions bordering Ukraine. In particular, a division of the Bal coastal missile system has been moved to the Bryansk region. What do we need to counter them as effectively as possible?

- Yes, there is confirmed information that the enemy has moved the Bal coastal missile system to the Bryansk region of Russia. However, the existing anti-aircraft missile systems in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine are capable of intercepting X-35 (X-35U) missiles.

There are two solutions to the confrontation. The first is reliable air cover, and the second is to detect and destroy these units. Given the range of the Bal missile system is 120-260 km, we need to have a missile tactical system with a range of 300-500 km to defeat it.

- At a briefing in February, you said that the missiles that Russia launches to shell Ukraine are increasingly exploding in the air over the territory of Russia without reaching their targets. Do you have any statistics on what percentage of Russian missiles launched at Ukraine missed their targets?

The vast majority of Russian missiles do not reach their targets. Thanks to Western assistance, we are now able to shoot down cruise, ballistic and aeroballistic missiles

- Indeed, with the introduction of international sanctions against Russia, the number of cases of missiles being detonated in the air has increased significantly. There are statistics on such cases, but we do not disclose them in order not to provide the enemy with additional information about the combat effectiveness of their so-called "high-precision weapons." Probably, such cases are becoming more frequent due to the so-called "import substitution" when high-tech elements produced in Western countries are replaced by their Russian (Iranian) counterparts, including those from household appliances.

The vast majority of Russian missiles fail to reach their targets. Thanks to Western assistance, we are now able to shoot down cruise, ballistic, and aerial missiles. Due to obsolescence and lack of proper maintenance, as well as imperfect technical solutions in the modernization of weapons, some missiles explode in the air over the territory of the Russian Federation, or do not launch ammunition from the carrier as normal. Abnormal cases of missile use by the enemy are carefully concealed. It is possible that this is the reason why air-launched cruise missiles are mostly launched in the airspace over the Caspian Sea.

- What is needed to destroy Russian missile launchers in the Black Sea?

- One of the options for destroying Russian missile carriers in the Black Sea is the availability of modern multi-purpose fighters of the 4++ generation, which allow the use of air strikes against maritime targets at a range of 200 km or more. If Ukraine receives modern F-16 (F-18) aircraft with appropriate equipment and weapons, this will be possible.

In addition, the fight against missile weapons is not only about destroying its carriers, but also about destroying places of their concentration and storage, and overloading during transportation. We consider and use all possible options, depending on the situation and intelligence data.

It should be understood that the means and methods of countering the enemy's strike capabilities are quite sensitive information, the dissemination of which may give the enemy an advantage in preserving its strike weapons.

The latest modifications of anti-ship cruise missiles such as Harpoon, Brimstone, Neptune are needed to defeat enemy vessels while crossing the sea or on a raid.

As for whether we are capable of producing appropriate countermeasures on our own, yes, we are, we are already doing it. This is confirmed by the fact that the enemy uses its missile carriers only at distances that protect them from being hit by our strike weapons.

In the future, we will increase our strike capabilities to neutralize the enemy's last trump card - spatial advantage, depriving him of the initiative through the threat of hitting missile carriers in any area of the Black Sea.

To effectively combat the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Russia needs long-range, high-precision weapons. For example: to destroy enemy vessels while crossing the sea or on a raid, the latest modifications of anti-ship cruise missiles such as Harpoon, Brimstone, Neptune or their analogues are needed. To defeat enemy warships in their basing areas, ATACMS ballistic missiles or their domestic counterparts, the Sapsan ballistic missiles, are needed.

Special attention should be paid to the Storm Shadow air-to-ground cruise missiles, which allow us to destroy critical enemy military targets at a distance of up to 250 kilometers. The effectiveness of this class of cruise missiles is evidenced by the damage to the bridges across the Sivash near Chongar, which significantly complicated the enemy's supply of ammunition and other material and technical means. Also, thanks to these missiles, the enemy's control points and storage facilities are under constant fire.

- The Russians have their missile carriers in the Mediterranean. Do you think they can attack Ukraine from there?

- Indeed, the enemy has the technical capabilities to launch missile strikes from the Mediterranean Sea. The range of missiles is about 1500 km, which allows them to be used against targets in the southern regions of our country. At the same time, this may cause an undesirable international response for Russia due to the need for ships to enter inland waters and for these missiles to fly through the airspace of NATO member states. And with the current consolidation of the NATO bloc, I consider such actions by Russia unlikely. After all, the consequences would be incomparable to the actions, up to and including the immediate sinking of these missile carriers.

- Do you have any data on the potential number of enemy UAVs? Do they continue to receive Iranian drones? To what extent have they increased production of their own? Do they have enough industrial and technological capabilities to do so?

Russia has reached an agreement with Iran to build a plant for the production of Shahed drones in Tatarstan

- The enemy uses a significant number of UAVs of various types. In particular, Russia has received up to 1800 Shahed drones from Iran, of which about 1600 have been used in combat operations, and the balance is more than 200. The stocks of these UAVs are constantly replenished by supplies from Iran. In addition, Russia has reached an agreement with this country on the construction of a plant for the production of Shahed drones in Tatarstan, in an area 10 km from Kazan.

The enemy is also actively using strike UAVs of its own design of the Lancet type, which are mass-produced at the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant, a joint-stock company of the Kalashnikov concern. In total, up to 900 units of these devices were produced, of which 850 were used in the combat zone. Accordingly, their current balance is approximately 50 UAVs.

However, it should be noted that due to Western economic sanctions and lack of access to modern technologies, the enemy's technological capabilities for the production of modern drones remain limited.

- Russia still has a fairly large fleet of airplanes and helicopters. How has the dynamics of their use changed?

- Despite the losses incurred by the enemy's tactical and army aviation - as of July 3, 2023, the Ukrainian army destroyed 309 helicopters and 315 aircraft - the enemy continues to use missile strikes with shorter intervals between strikes and fewer strikes instead of massive ones.

Probably, in order to overload our air defense system, the enemy combines missile weapons with attack UAVs. At the same time, the Russians have stopped focusing on energy infrastructure facilities (although they have not completely abandoned this goal and periodically try to conduct such strikes, primarily on power substations of various capacities) and have changed the priority of targets. Currently, the enemy is trying to hit oil and gas production facilities, possible places of concentration of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as government buildings, both with the use of "Shahed-136" kamikaze UAVs and missiles of various types.

- Is it possible to hope that after Ukraine receives Western aircraft, the enemy's potential will be significantly reduced?

- Yes, receiving from partner countries a platform of modern multi-purpose fighter aircraft of generation 4++ - such as F/A-18, F-16, F-15, JAS-39 "Gripen", Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale - will allow to carry and use modern air strike weapons, which are in service with NATO member states, detect enemy air attack assets at a long range of at least 200 km, destroy them at a distance of more than 160 km without entering the enemy air defense zone, and use modern air defense assets against land and sea targets at a distance of 200 km or more.


- After two days of talks with Xi Jinping, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that China would not help Russia with weapons. Which countries, besides Iran, remain leaders in helping Russia?

- It is possible that the interaction between the armed forces of Russia and China will continue. On the one hand, a weakened Russia is a guarantee of Moscow's pliability to Chinese policy, i.e., the framework of Russian international and military activity will meet China's interests. On the other hand, Beijing is interested in studying the combat experience of the Russian army, which it gained in confrontation with Western systems and weapons.

At the same time, we should not forget that China has primarily ambitious economic interests both in the Americas and in Africa. In such circumstances, improving relations between China and the United States could slow down the pace of China-Russian military cooperation.

Instead, countries such as Iran, Belarus, and North Korea remain the leaders in helping Russia. In addition, some post-Soviet countries facilitate the importation of high-tech components for the manufacture of modern weapons and military equipment into Russia.

- Do you think Russians can seize Transnistria? Or attack Moldova?

In the context of hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, the likelihood of an increase in Russia's military presence in Transnistria remains low

- As for the seizure of Transnistria... Do you think they haven't done it yet? They have a pro-Russian government, active Russian propaganda, citizens with Russian passports and a military contingent there. The only other thing they could do is to hold a referendum according to the scenario of the temporarily occupied regions of Ukraine and to consolidate the territory of Transnistria within the Russian Federation at the legislative level.

That is why securing a land corridor to Moldova was so desirable for the Kremlin - we saw this in the direction of the main attack of the Russian occupation forces in the south of our country in the first days of the large-scale invasion.

The Russian military contingent on the territory of Transnistria is intended to perform peacekeeping tasks and has limited capabilities for combat operations. The armed forces of the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova are under Russian control and have a low level of equipment and training. Deployment of additional forces and means of the Russian armed forces on the territory of the breakaway republic is possible only by air through the airspace of Moldova or Ukraine. In the context of hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, the likelihood of an increase in the military presence of the Russian Federation in Transnistria remains low.

Objectively, these units are hostage to the Kremlin's decisions. For more than a year they have not been able to rotate, and for more than a year they have been on full combat alert and waiting for suicidal orders. This is exhausting and demotivating, to say the least.


- After the failed coup in Russia led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, there is information that the Wagner PMC will be relocated to the territory of Belarus. Do you think this is an additional threat to our country?

- We are calculating and preparing for any scenario. The enemy is insidious, so we do not rule out the possibility that the coup attempt was nothing more than a well-planned staging for the further relocation of these units to the territory of Belarus. And today, by order of the President of Ukraine, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, we are reinforcing our troops, including along the border with Belarus.

However, as the leader of our country has already reported, most of the mercenaries were successfully destroyed by the Ukrainian Defense Forces, so the number of Wagnerites that could be redeployed to Belarus are only exhausted remnants that cannot pose a threat to professionally trained, well-equipped and motivated servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

It is also known that the Wagner PMC, despite the failed Prigozhin rebellion, continues to agitate and recruit militants throughout the Russian Federation after suffering losses. The mobilized seek to sign a contract with PMCs rather than the Russian Ministry of Defense. Those who sign a contract are sent to a collection point and then proceed to a training center in Molkino.

As for the redeployment of the Wagner PMC, it is most likely that the territory of Belarus will be used for temporary stay and training of these militants to perform tasks primarily in Africa. At the same time, some of the mercenaries will be used as instructors to train units of the armed forces and other law enforcement agencies of Russia and Belarus.

We do not exclude that if appropriate decisions are made, the enemy's likely actions may include demonstrative and provocative actions in the border areas of Ukraine in order to constrain our troops and divert reserves.

At the same time, there is an opinion that also has the right to life. It is that the proposal to relocate mercenaries to Belarus is a tactical move by Lukashenko, who has no intention of sending his troops to war in Ukraine, but is not ready to lose Putin's patronage either. In fact, the meaning of this issue is much deeper than we think. Could it be that Lukashenko now realizes that he has two choices: either to free himself from Putin's noose or to lose his presidency-and possibly his life-in a coup d'état?

As we know, all dictators have ended their lives in only one way. So, being in a dead end, it is quite possible that it is with the help of the Wagnerians that Lukashenko can satisfy his own fantasies.

Maryna Synhaivska

Iryna Kozhukhar

Photo - from the archive of Ukrinform

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