CNN link. Is there a political interpretation to this move?
Donetsk is 479 miles south of Moscow. The January daily mean temperature in Moscow is 20.3F. For Donetsk, it is 24.6F. In winter, Donetsk is a little more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than Moscow. Moscow has the climate that defeated Napoleon and Hitler. Donetsk is a little better, but still severe.
It is possible to fight there in winter; the 3rd Battle of Kharkov (same neighborhood) was initiated by a German attack on February 19, 1943. But it was a matter of life-and-death for both Soviets and Nazis. The Ukraine conflict is a luxury war, the optional entertainment of “nation builders” and “geopolitical strategists.”
When an army is deployed to the field, readiness initially increases, and then, like an organism exhausted by the cost of adaptation, it decreases. You don’t want the army of a luxury war rusting away in the field when it could be maintained for the dismal season in heated barracks, where everything is cheaper, because the logistics and infrastructure have been pre-arranged. If for no other reason than to save money, Putin’s decision to return the army to luxury accommodations in heated barracks, with luxury sauna, is wise.
But in the spirit of wasting nothing, the withdrawal, until the daisies start pushing up again (the relevant Russia/Ukraine genus is Gerbera), will be very useful to the propagandists of RT and other Russian institutions of disinformation, which seem to be so active these days. One wonders, how Putin will entertain himself before the daisies bloom? He could deploy some Russian “advisers” to Alawite Syria, he could play with the gas taps, or he could expropriate McDonalds.
Or he could head out to the big-box store and pick up a hidef TV, the type with the fancy surround-sound system, so that he can feel like he is sitting in the middle of a war zone with explosions all around. It’s cheaper than the real thing, a real luxury.