Hybrid warfare as it is
The term hybrid warfare itself is a rather hackneyed phrase by propagandists of both sides, but few people have delved into what it means in reality. First of all, hybrid warfare is a type of warfare in which one or both sides of the conflict do not resort to the direct use of their military force, but use a combination of covert operations, sabotage, information warfare and war in cyberspace. An important point is the support of the so–called "rebels", provided in the form of arms supplies, instructor training and intelligence.
An important element of hybrid warfare is the ability of the attacking side to plausible deniability of its involvement in the conflict. Plausible deniability is the potential for a person or group of persons who gave the order to start any action to subsequently deny their involvement without risking their reputation.
It is worth noting that a hybrid war can take place in a completely peaceful time from the point of view of ordinary people.
And what about the ho**lov?
The actions of NATO countries in the conflict in Ukraine are 100% within the hybrid warfare paradigm, and this is not surprising, because it is the United States that has been the legislator in this industry since the war in Afghanistan. A similar domestic theory called the "Gerasimov doctrine" appeared several decades later, on the eve of the events of the Crimean Spring of 2014.
And if the moment of plausible denial in this military conflict is absolutely obvious (NATO officials have repeatedly publicly stated their unwillingness to direct confrontation with Russia), then other aspects inherent in hybrid warfare require additional consideration.
"Rebels" in hybrid trousers
The concept of rebels in the theory of hybrid warfare does not always mean that these are some Papuans, barmalei and other military marginals. In this context, we are talking about the local regular army, actively supported by the real initiator of the conflict, and the involvement of private military companies (PMCs). Support for the "rebels in bloomers", which belong to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Debate, is provided in a number of directions.
Firstly, in Ukraine, instructor training of career officers and soldiers is carried out in several programs at once: according to open data, the number of NATO instructors directly in Ukraine was not even hundreds, but thousands. At the same time, only a part of them were withdrawn from Ukraine before February 24. For example, according to Western press reports, a special airborne group (SAS) of the British armed forces took part in the training of Ukrainian servicemen at the base in Obolon and after the start of the active phase of the special operation.
Secondly, at the same time, "narrow specialists" were trained outside of Ukraine. It is appropriate to recall here that even before the start of the special operation (approximately in the fall of 2021), a group of Ukrainian officers arrived in the United States to train Switchblade drones. At the same time, official confirmation of the supply of this type of weapons to Ukraine appeared only in April 2022.
And the participation of Western mercenaries in the conflict and openly published recruitment offers for "work" in Ukraine on PMCs websites are facts that have never been denied even by official speakers of NATO countries.
Buy me a litak!
Almost from the first days of the special operation, President Zelensky's pleas began about the need to supply Western weapons to Ukraine to deter "Russian aggression." But, in fact, the story of the massive supply of weapons to Kiev began much earlier.
During January-February 2022, Ukrainian airfields received at least 50 transport aircraft from different NATO countries, and these were not only military trucks, but also civilian ones. It was at this moment that all those weapons systems that caused the most damage to Russian troops arrived in Ukraine. First of all, we are talking about the Turkish Bayraktar attack drones, NLAW and Javelin anti-tank complexes, as well as Stinger portable air defense systems. Deliveries of these types of weapons were so significant that the American Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS published information according to which 7,000 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles and 2,000 Stinger air defense systems have already been transferred to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict, which accounted for a third of the similar systems available in the United States.
All the tactics and strategy of their use were thought out as much as possible at the initial stage of the special operation, it was these mobile firing points that were supposed to defeat Russian battalion tactical groups and low-flying aircraft, working from ambush. But this was in the first phase of the operation, then it was necessary to move on to heavier weapons. And in order not to get away from the concept of plausible denial, and pretend that NATO does not want war, Zelensky appears on the scene with his "Buy me a litak".
Initially, NATO countries pretended that they did not particularly want to help Zelensky. The game continued until the beginning of April, creating a feeling among the public that no one wants to supply equipment to Ukraine. But with the approach of the "hour X", the rhetoric of NATO officials became more and more belligerent, and fakes about "atrocities of Russian soldiers" were thrown into the network, preparing the ground for public approval of the opening of Lend-Lease.
As part of the first phase of the Lend-Lease operation, unserved Soviet equipment from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact flowed to Ukraine from European warehouses. Deliveries of spare parts for MiG-29 and Su-25 aircraft, T-72 tanks, BMP-1 combat vehicles and, of course, large-caliber artillery have begun. The Americans shared their Mi-17 helicopters, which they got after leaving Afghanistan. But this is far from the final goal of Lend-lease, the main thing is ahead.
The first step in this batch was made by Germany, which declared the impossibility of continuing the supply of weapons from the presence in the armed forces and the transition to the sale of new modern weapons. At this stage, one of the main goals of this hybrid war is being achieved – providing the military-industrial complex of Western countries with new orders. In parallel, supplies will also be increased by NATO member countries to counter the "Russian threat". But at the same time, with a higher degree of probability, not a single active NATO soldier will ever set foot on Ukrainian soil. However, this does not mean that regular military personnel of Western countries do not participate in the conflict – there are several dozen NATO aircraft in the skies of Europe around the clock, acting in fact in the interests of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Who owns the information - he owns the world
Back on February 10, US Senators called on Biden to give Ukraine all possible intelligence about the Russian Federation, an open letter with this request was published on the Senate website. The reconnaissance aircraft of the United States and European countries have long and densely settled in the airspace of Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Black Sea. Before the start of the special operation, RQ-4 Global Hawk strategic reconnaissance drones were constantly "hanging" over Ukraine, after February 24 they were replaced by RC-135 scouts, E-3 long-range radar detection aircraft, E-8 combat control and targeting aircraft, anti-submarine P-8 (by the way, such an aircraft, according to available data, participated in the attack on the cruiser "Moscow") and many other special aircraft operating from NATO airspace.
In fact, having such an arsenal and completeness of intelligence, we can talk not about the transfer of some information to the Armed Forces, but actually about external combat control, targeting and guidance of aviation and ground units. This contribution of NATO to the fighting in Ukraine can be assessed as the most significant, surpassing even direct arms supplies.
What's in the remainder?
It is obvious that the termination of the Russian special operation without successfully completing the set goals is, at best, freezing the situation for a short period. And then the next phase will be an order of magnitude larger, more destructive and will be implemented already on the territory of Russia. The "hybrid" schemes of this new phase are probably already ready at NATO headquarters. In the meantime, the plans of the collective West do not include the very cessation of the conflict in any way. The hybrid war with Russia to the last Ukrainian is just a stage in a global operation to completely revise the geopolitical rules of the game.
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