Ukraine is at great risk of its front lines collapsing - POLITICO

Ukraine is at great risk of its front lines collapsing - POLITICO
# 03 April 2024 15:51 (UTC +04:00)

According to high-ranking Ukrainian military officers who served under General Valery Zaluzhny — the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces until he was replaced in February — the military picture is grim, APA reports citing POLITICO.

The officers said there’s a great risk of the front lines collapsing wherever Russian generals decide to focus their offensive. Moreover, thanks to a much greater weight in numbers and the guided aerial bombs that have been smashing Ukrainian positions for weeks now, Russia will likely be able to “penetrate the front line and to crash it in some parts,” they said.

They spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely.

“There’s nothing that can help Ukraine now because there are no serious technologies able to compensate Ukraine for the large mass of troops Russia is likely to hurl at us. We don’t have those technologies, and the West doesn’t have them as well in sufficient numbers,” one of the top-ranking military sources told POLITICO.

According to him, it is only Ukrainian grit and resilience as well as errors by Russian commanders that may now alter the grim dynamics.

However, the high-ranking Ukrainian officers reminded that relying on Russian errors is not a strategy.

“Zaluzhny used to call it ‘the War of One Chance,’” one of the officers said. “By that, he meant weapons systems become redundant very quickly because they’re quickly countered by the Russians. For example, we used Storm Shadow and SCALP cruise missiles [supplied by Britain and France] successfully — but just for a short time. The Russians are always studying. They don’t give us a second chance. And they’re successful in this.”

“But often, we just don’t get the weapons systems at the time we need them — they come when they’re no longer relevant,” another senior officer said, citing the F-16 fighter jets as an example. A dozen or so F-16s are expected to be operational this summer, after basic pilot training has been completed. “Every weapon has its own right time. F-16s were needed in 2023; they won’t be right for 2024,” he said.

And that’s because, according to this officer, Russia is ready to counter them: “In the last few months, we started to notice missiles being fired by the Russians from Dzhankoy in northern Crimea, but without the explosive warheads. We couldn’t understand what they were doing, and then we figured it out: They’re range-finding,” he said.

drones. “We need Howitzers and shells, hundreds of thousands of shells, and rockets,” one of them told POLITICO, estimating that Ukraine needed 4 million shells and 2 million drones. “We told the Western partners all the time that we have the combat experience, we have the battlefield understanding of this war. [They] have the resources, and they need to give us what we need,” he added.

The officers emphasized that they need many, many more men too. The country currently doesn’t have enough men on the front lines.