... Kharkov situation two weeks ago and states:
Remember three weeks ago when Putin and the Russian military were on the ropes and the Ukrainian army was steamrolling through Kharkov? That was then and Urkaine’s promised victory failed to materialize. With the benefit of hindsight, it appears that Russia abandoned the strategically meaningless territory in the Kharkov Oblast of Ukraine and re-deployed forces to the Donbas, Zaporhyzhia and Kherson. Why? To be in position for the referendum–i.e., to defend the Ukraine oblasts that would be given the chance to vote whether or not to reunite with mother Russia. Putin’s subsequent announcement of the referenda, which began last Friday, was not a Hail Mary pass nor an act of desperation. The planning for this had been in the works for at least a month, maybe longer.
While Ukraine continued to throw its troops against the Russian lines and launched artillery strikes on civilian targets, it paid a terrible price in terms of human casualties and destroyed tanks and combat vehicles, and failed completely to disrupt the vote. There have been international observers monitoring the vote throughout the four oblasts. I wish at least one reporter would ask these observers when they were first contacted and asked to come to the Russian controlled territory and do the monitoring. That detail would provide some insight into the extent of the pre-planning for the referenda.
Exactly, now having a luxury of a hindsight we can definitely state that, indeed, the whole Kharkov "offensive", which have been drowned in blood of VSU, was a regrouping with the aim to reinforce the south to allow referenda to take place. Larry makes a superb observation and correctly concludes:
The collapsing economies in France, Germany and Italy also will compel those countries to spend more time trying to quiet growing domestic unrest. When you factor in the energy crisis and Ukrainian military setbacks as winter sets in, the foundation of NATO unity vis-a-vis Ukraine, is likely to crack.
This is a first rate analytical work. Read the whole thing at Larry's blog.