A fairly mild winter and muddy ground could complicate possible Russian plans to launch an invasion of Ukraine, potentially delaying plans for military action, senior Biden administration officials told The New York Times.
Ukraine tends to experience a hard winter freeze by January at the latest, but this year, the ground has yet to freeze in various parts of the country due to mild winter weather.
Frozen ground, which is neither ice nor mud, allows troops, as well as heavy military vehicles and equipment, to maneuver more easily. Mud, however, can cause heavy wheeled vehicles to loose traction, and even tracked vehicles like tanks can be affected if the mud goes deep enough.
Jeffrey Edmonds, a former US Army tanker and CIA military analyst, told Insider that "muddy terrain and things of that nature can complicate operations, but in no way is it an obstacle."
"It's a complicating factor but not one that stops the operation from moving forward," he said, noting that while it may require additional planning, engineering, and logistical support, operations can continue.
"It can slow operations. It can make logistics more complicated, but these are the things [Russia] trains for," Edmonds, a Russia expert with CNA, explained, adding that "they really work very diligently at integrating their engineering assets into their mobility plans."
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