The ‘rasputitsa’, Ukraine’s ally that could stop Russia’s plans
In late 2021, Russia began massing troops on its border with Ukraine. About 100,000 soldiers they increased the tension between these two countries, whose relationship began to deteriorate in 2004, on the occasion of the first Maidan, the Orange Revolution. It seemed that everything was going to remain in an intimidating movement on the part of Putin, who saw in Volodímir Zelenski, president of Ukraine, a threat after he revealed his intentions to recover Crimea and control over the rebel territory of Donbass, as well as improve his military strategy to join NATO. However, the latest moves by Moscow seem to indicate the opposite and the international community is preparing for all possible scenarios.
According to reports from the Joe Biden administration, the Kremlin has sent military reinforcements to the border in recent days, mainly attack helicopters. But there is an unexpected obstacle that could delay any invading movement by the Russian artillery: the mud.
At this time of year, the floor of the border between Russia and Ukraine it is usually frozen. However, as revealed by The New York Times, citing US government sources, this area of Eastern Europe is experiencing a mild winter, warmer than usual, so the ground is muddy and could hinder tank movement and other artillery vehicles, which could get stuck in the mud. This could force Putin to delay any operations that require the advance of heavy vehicles.
It wouldn’t be the first time mud stops a war. In fact, one of the great problems that the Nazi troops encountered during their incursion into Russia during World War II was precisely the thick quagmire that the roads became when the snow accumulated during the winter began to melt.
something similar happened in 1812 to Napoleon, when his soldiers tried to invade the Russian Empire. The French troops had to move through alternative areas that were more wooded and less conducive to the formation of mud.
This phenomenon is known as ‘rasputitsa‘, which consists of the infiltration of water into the ground that gives rise to a sea of mud at the time of the melting of the snows during the spring and at the time of the autumn rains.
The clay has thus become a true ally of Kiev, a ‘overall mud‘ that could overrun the advancing Russians.