Force attrition is Ukraine’s biggest challenge

Russian military officer liquidated in Ukraine
Russian military officer liquidated in Ukraine

In a contest of resources, attrition is king.

The United States says it will consider various options for helping Ukraine until Congress approves the $60 billion aid bill.

Now it’s about $200 million from Pentagon reserves. I would like to emphasize that every time we deal with numbers, both millions of dollars and hundreds of millions of dollars, we must remember that it’s not about transferring funds to Ukraine. These are some interbudgetary transfers within the United States. The Pentagon obviously has enormous reserves, so they can review and make corrections from time to time. Of course, this entails bureaucratic procedures, changes to planning. But the fact that there are these reserves, it’s better that they express it in hundreds of millions of dollars, than in the number of munitions, which could give Russia valuable intelligence.

Ukrainian military personnel on the ground have already reported that the situation with ammunition has improved recently.

It also happens when some unannounced weapon is delivered to the front. The issue of U.S. aid is still in limbo. It’s still unknown when or how it will resolve. We have the prospect of receiving 800,000 artillery rounds [in the coming weeks]. At some point, if there is really not just a commitment, but concrete calculations, when these ammunitions are delivered, we can obviously also use the reserves we have more actively. Because, when it’s not clear what will happen in the next three months, then, of course, we should try to stretch out what is left for as long as possible. Therefore, we may have different options. I repeat again, if there is certainty about the replenishment in the nearest specified time, we can more freely use those reserves that have been stored for a rainy day.

We have the prospect of receiving 800,000 artillery rounds

Regarding long-range weapons. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently said that the partners should not lack courage in terms of supplying Ukraine with long-range weapons. It’s obvious that this concerned, first of all, the leaders of the United States and Germany. From time to time, some journalists and observers say that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is very indecisive on this issue. That is, Germany has made huge progress in revising its policy of military support for Ukraine, but there is still some lingering fear of Russia. Journalists often talk about such a connection, they say that Scholz wants [U.S. President Joe] Biden to be the first to transfer ATACMS missiles. At the same time, unfortunately, Biden’s policy has also stalled somewhere at the level of the priorities that he or his administration have set for themselves. Therefore, it’s difficult to say when this vicious circle will be broken. But this latest controversy with the interception of a conversation between German generals, followed by the reaction of Chancellor Scholz himself, shows Germany is trying to find any excuse to block such decisions for as long as possible.

I would like to add a few more words about Scholz. Because it’s not just about Scholz’s personal qualities. He is the leader of a political party, and they listen to public opinion. And I was simply very surprised when the other day I saw the results of a German public opinion poll regarding the supply of Taurus cruise missiles. This is something that shouldn’t be in politics. That is, you can conduct polls, but the value of public opinion for politicians is not to blindly follow it.

Longer-range weapons will help Ukraine seize the initiative on the battlefield. This is one of the key elements. Because in a war of attrition when the resource race continues, the more Ukraine will be able to destroy the resources for waging war in Russia’s rear, the more chances it will have to seize the initiative. Any standoff weapons will help, regardless of the exact type.

Personnel issues are probably the most acute problem in this war. Now this argument is also used against Ukraine in the West in the camp of opponents of increasing aid. They say: we’ll now spend taxpayers’ money, will further escalate relations with Russia, and Ukraine is running out of soldiers. At the same time, the Ukrainian parliament is slow in passing mobilization reform, the Ukrainian government is doing nothing to improve the situation with mobilization. Well, actually, if you ask me where the decisions are stalled, I recommend reading Ben Hodges [former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe]. In an interview with NV, he said the diagnosis is very simple. This is not a failure of the army. This is the failure of the government and the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine’s parliament] to change the laws to solve this problem, to fix the system. So that male and female recruits are sure that they’ll join the army and they’ll be equipped, trained, prepared, and their families will be taken care of. Therefore, the problem is obvious and how it should be solved is obvious. Therefore, I emphasize, this is a question for the government, for our politicians. The problem is the irresponsible attitude of our MPs to the war. They are now acting against the people of Ukraine and against Ukraine’s strategic interests.

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