Expert offers ways to improve Ukraine’s military effectiveness, avoid war of attrition

Expert offers ways to improve Ukraine’s military effectiveness, avoid war of attrition

With Russia increasingly pressing its numerical advantage, Ukraine and its partners need to devise a new strategy for strengthening Ukraine’s defenses if they are to avoid playing to Russia’s strengths in an attritional conflict.

That’s according to an article published by RUSI, authored by Oleksandr V. Danylyuk with the Center of Defense Reforms, Ukrinform reports.

In a situation where the enemy force massively outnumbers that of Ukraine, the main priority of the joint efforts of Ukraine and its international partners should be to increase the military effectiveness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU), Danylyuk stresses.

He notes that, despite West’s attempts to avoid further escalation in the Russo-Ukrainian war, the Kremlin pursues its original plans to destroy Ukraine despite colossal losses in terms of personnel and military equipment, the expert believes.

Read also: Russia engages intelligence operatives to create sanctions evasion networks - RUSI

Full military effectiveness is seen as the ability to achieve maximum combat power at the expense of resources that are available “not only physically, but also politically, so it is important to focus not only on tactical and operational effectiveness, but also strategic and political effectiveness”, he argues.

The AFU should be able to convince Ukraine's international partners both to increase military-technical assistance and to lift restrictions on the supply of certain weapons to Ukraine, as well as restrictions on how they can be used, the expert believes

“The political effectiveness of the AFU remains insufficient, as Ukraine’s defense needs are currently only partially met,” he wrote, highlighting the importance of involving partner armies’ commanders in the assessment of Ukraine’s needs.

At the same time, Ukraine needs “unpopular decisions related to mobilization, as well as searching for new ways of obtaining weapons that would involve direct financial obligations on Ukraine’s part, such as, for example, lend-lease,” Danylyuk argues.

Read also: Critical not to give peace initiative to Russia - Zelensky

Dwelling on the strategic effectiveness, the expert admits that the goal of liberating all of Ukraine’s territories ignores the assumption that this will not stop Russia from continuing aggression against Ukraine from its territory, launching missile and bomb attacks on civilian infrastructure.

But even the very idea of forcing Russia to pull troops from Ukraine seems harder to achieve than getting Moscow to the negotiating table sooner – which will be viewed by Russia “as a tactical respite which can be used to restore and build capabilities and plan a new phase of aggression, as was the case with the Minsk agreements”.

It is obvious that ending the war with Russia requires reaching such a moment where the aggressor “has no ability or desire to continue it and is forced to withdraw troops from the territory of Ukraine with or without concluding a new peace agreement (as happened with the US in Vietnam in 1972 , or with the Soviet Union in Central Europe in the early 1990s)”.

“Accordingly, bringing Russia to a state of inability/unwillingness to continue the war should be the basis of a grand strategy that encompasses all means available to Ukraine and its partners, including non-military ones,” Danylyuk wrote, adding that the military strategy should in turn be aimed at inflicting unbearable damage on Russia.

Among other steps needed to implement the relevant military strategy the expert named enhancing the defense production base, exploiting the enemy's critical vulnerabilities, and strengthening Ukraine’s Air Force and air defense capabilities.

Read also: Borrell: Peace summit in Switzerland will be first step to fair peace in Ukraine

Operational effectiveness in the conditions of modern large-scale warfare requires Ukraine’s Army command to be able to identify and implement useful technology extremely quickly, as well as to change operational concepts and doctrines taking into account constant tech developments, finding ways to mix older and newest platforms in a combined arms battle, Danylyuk explains.

The same flexibility and willingness to quickly adapt to new challenges is also necessary for Ukraine's partners, the expert believes, adding that the current pace of such upgrades is “unsatisfactory”.

Tactical effectiveness, the improvement of which is given the most attention should be fully subordinated to the logic of the general military strategy and operational concepts aimed at its achievement.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, a Global Summit on Peace in Ukraine will be in Bürgenstock Resort in Switzerland on June 15-16, 2024.

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