According to military experts, Ukraine is in the middle of one of the most dangerous periods of the Russian offensive war. They base this on the fact that Russia has made significant progress by changing its approach.
Military expert Michael Kofman says Russia has clearly learned from the first weeks of the war. In the vicinity of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, Russian troops have suffered a large part of the losses so far during the war.
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“Now the Russians are fighting as we expected,” Kofman said in the War on the Rocks podcast. Kofman has published several books and articles on the Russian armed forces over the past few years, most recently on the war in Ukraine. “Russia is no longer making stupid mistakes and can adapt to Ukraine’s actions.”
In the first weeks of the war, Russian troops were surprised by attacks on a convoy that brought supplies to areas around Kiev. “They are fighting better now and they are doing well in the areas where they fought.” Logistics works much better, ”says Kofman.
After initial difficulties in Donbass, Russia has now managed to repair the supply route. The railway now even runs through large sections of the route from a military base in Russian Belgorod to Izyum, the gateway to the Donbas.
Kofman notes that the supply of supplies means that Russia can now attack Sievarodonetsk almost continuously, which does not give Ukrainians any breaks they need to gather and launch a counteroffensive. As happened in Kiev.
However, the truth is that Ukraine is currently running out of weapons. In particular, artillery and anti-aircraft missiles are missing, the Ukrainian army reports. President Volodymyr Zelensky recently said that his country would not be able to defend itself without the supply of additional heavy weapons.
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“Looking at the first few weeks of the war rarely gives a good picture of what the party is capable of,” says Kofmann. However, the challenge for Russia in the Donbas is currently great. Because it seems that Russian troops want to surround the Ukrainians. To do this, on the one hand, it must keep the Ukrainian armed forces in its pocket with a continuous attack and, on the other hand, close the four sides.
Former US General Mick Ryan suspects that Russia’s main focus is on acquiring land – not destroying Ukrainian forces at all costs. The goal, of course, is to conquer the entire Luhansk region. Russia justified the military operation in Ukraine by ensuring security in the Donbas. According to Ryan, the liquidation of Ukrainians on the ground would not fit into this story.
“Although Russia has learned from the first weeks of the war and is now able to concentrate troops in one place, the Russian military is accepting heavy losses with a task in the Donbas,” Ryan wrote on Twitter. Ryan believes the war is “at the end of the beginning.”
Kofman also reports on the War on the Rocks podcast that Russia is doing everything it can to keep up with the gates. Instead, the military would try to find volunteer soldiers or make reservists ready to fight. The money they pay for it has been steadily rising over the last two months.
Russia relies on Western war fatigue
However, the so-called “third battalions”, which are supposed to make the newly deployed soldiers combat-ready, are not combat-capable during this time – just like technology. The American think tank “Institute for the Study of War” informs about this difficulty that new soldiers cannot be deployed immediately and also tie up resources.
Kofman assumes that the war will last the longest economically, logistically, materially and politically. Ukraine is dependent on the West mainly for arms supplies. If the West continues to support Ukraine, the war could last for months, if not years.
According to him, Russia does not believe that it could lose. The Russian leadership is betting that the West may become tired of the war and that it will not change the weapons supplied much. Time is on our side, that is the credo.