Ukraine vs Russia on military might: Why Putin’s victory is not guaranteed

Frank Ledwidge, a senior lecturer in military capabilities and strategy at the University of Portsmouth, said that the defeat of the Ukrainian army could still cause a lot of pain to Russian forces.

Ukraine’s shabby army was incapable of resisting the annexation of Crimea in February 2014. Since then, the poorly equipped but well-motivated Ukrainian Army has taken thousands of casualties fighting the force. separatists in the eastern Donbas. Meanwhile, the nation has embarked on an often messy program of military reform, making the military – while still vulnerable in many important respects – a rather formidable force. .

Are from 2014-15Ukraine has tripled its defense budget and modernized its forces – not only to defend itself against Russia, but to comply with international standards. requested by Nato as an input request.

Result has been mixed. In theory, their army looks impressive – with about 800 heavy tanks and thousands of other armored vehicles protecting and transporting a regular force of about 200,000 men. These are much better trained troops than in 2014. They have good leadership, especially in the key non-commissioned ranks – the backbone of any army. On the critical front, most observers report high morale and motivation.

But this is only part of the story. Most of their armor and equipment were relatively old, and although the factories produced modernized versions of older models such as the T72 tank, they were not very effective in combat. much more modern cars. Russian tanks and armored vehicles – some of them are equal or higher Best Nato stock.

Furthermore, the Ukrainian army is vulnerable to Russian artillery, traditionally the Red Army’s most formidable arm, and to the threat of Russian strike aircraft. Recent gifts from Anti-tank artillery and hand-held aircraft Nato Missiles and other weapons will hurt Russian forces – but not the enemy.

The Ukrainian Air Force possesses a substantial fleet of Cold War-era aircraft and well-organized and trained personnel. But Russia has configured “aerospace force” to achieve and maintain critical control over the air by using, among other systems, S400 . long-range air defense missile. These systems give the Nato air force pause for serious thought, let alone vintage 1990s Ukrainian fighters and bombers.

Advanced Russian fighter jets and missiles will dominate the skies for the time being even though Ukraine has achieved it some success against many people’s expectations. There are credible reports that Ukrainian warplanes are still flying and have significantly shot down several Russian jets. Their old anti-aircraft missiles – but still effective – anti-aircraft missiles are also cause damage to Russiaaccording to Ukrainian sources.

The navy is now militarily insignificant – all the more so since most of it seems to was sunk in the harbor within 24 hours of the start of the conflict.

Strengths and Weaknesses

But this is not a foregone conclusion. It is very difficult for Ukrainian generals to properly play Russian power and deploy forces to be destroyed by their artillery or air power. They’ve seen it all too much in the past. In July 2014, a formation of the Ukrainian army was destroyed by a rocket artillery attack in eastern Ukraine. What is remarkable is how the missiles are guided to their targets by drones operated by Russian-backed separatists.

Focusing only on the quality or quantity of equipment is always a big mistake. In the UK, military thinking outlines “three elements constituting combat power”. They are moral (spirit, cohesion, motivation), conceptual (strategy, innovation and military “doctine”) and material (weapons). It’s one thing that has an advantage in the physical component of war, it’s quite another thing to make it successful. The Ukrainians will try to exploit Russia’s vulnerability when it comes to a protracted military campaign with the potential to suffer heavy political casualties.

Many Ukrainians have a basic understanding of how to handle weapons – a few hundred thousand the person who booked is called up as the invading Russia certainly did. They may despise modern tanks and sophisticated weapons, but may also have an edge in the moral and conceptual realm.

There is a strong tradition of partisan warfare in Ukraine, where the ideas of “territorial defense” – rebel groups fighting small acts of war on the ground they know well are supported by military units. the regular team is – if possible – ingrained. In the early days of the cold war after the country was liberated from German occupation, the anti-Soviets “Rebels“Lastly defeated only in 1953. During this time, they inflicted tens of thousands of casualties. It may have been forgotten by the rest of the world, but this conflict is very much remembered in Ukraine.

Russian Armed Forces Praised has been implemented a large proportion of their ground troops, and have a very limited ability to capture insurgent-disputed lands or – even more importantly – to sustain operations beyond the “break-in” phase. “first of the war. The last thing Putin wants is a protracted war, with urban bloodshed and echoes of Chechnya – that’s what Ukrainian forces will likely give him.

The war is going its own way, but a possible and reasonable Ukraine approach would be to exchange land from time to time. They will hope to cause casualties and draw Russian forces in urban area where their advantage is less pronounced. In the event of a defeat on the ground, the Ukrainian defenders could default to a well-equipped, highly motivated and protracted insurgency, probably supported by the west. This is Putin’s nightmare.

The flip side of that particular coin is that Western support for such “terrorism” can attract an unpredictable and very dangerous response. In his “declared war” speech, Putin threatened “consequences like you’ve never experienced in your history” to those who “try to hinder us”, explicitly alluding to Russia’s huge nuclear arsenal. In the face of failure or humiliation, reason can fall short.

Frank LedwidgeSenior Lecturer in Military Strategy and Capability, University of Portsmouth

This article was republished from Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read original article. Ukraine vs Russia on military might: Why Putin’s victory is not guaranteed

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