With low technology, trench warfare, Ukraine’s military is not the size of NATO

On the ground, the plastic sheets flapped in the cold wind. With the breakaway trenches nearby, in a row of trees across the snowy fields, the only place that was truly safe was underground.

Nothing about the unit suggests a NATO connection other than the name Lima, which is the NATO phonetic alphabet symbol for the letter L. It underwent an overhaul as part of its alliance aspirations. In Ukraine, military units have been renamed according to NATO standards.

The conflict is fought with rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and artillery systems dating back to the 1970s and earlier. The US-made, and more recently, British-made anti-tank missiles are intended primarily to repel a large-scale Russian attack, not for use at the front.

The US Javelin anti-tank missile was deployed only last fall to eastern Ukraine. Turkey has supplied a newer weapon to the country, the Bayraktar TB2 armed drone, but the Ukrainian military admitted to using it only once in combat last October.

However, military analysts say the force is in much better shape than it was in 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and fueled the war in the east. The United States has provided $2.7 billion in military assistance in the years since. In recent weeks, it has authorized Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send US-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, and Britain has provided anti-tank guided missiles.

And the Ukrainian army is fighting hard. Some 400,000 Ukrainian soldiers, including about 13,000 women, have undergone rotations along the eastern front, providing a contingent of veteran fighters.

However, soldiers in this position, aged between 25 and 59, said multiple rotations also took a heavy toll. Pvt. Volodymyr Murdza, 53, is nearing the end of his second three-year contract. His son is also serving in the war and his wife is terribly worried, he said. “She called and said, ‘I’m worried because you didn’t call me,’ Private Murdza said. “And I said, ‘Dearest, sunshine, you call whenever you can.'” With low technology, trench warfare, Ukraine’s military is not the size of NATO

Fry Electronics Team

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