During this morning’s press conference at the U.S. Department of Defense, Brig. General Joseph E. Hilbert quoted Ukrainian sources as saying, “The worst thing the Russians did was give us eight years to prepare. During this time, Ukrainian forces worked closely with the U.S. military, including seeing many National Guard forces who spent significant time in Ukraine training and working with the military there. .
Through this association, the Ukrainian military took the US emphasis on training (and training, and more training) to heart. The Ukrainian forces also saw something in the way the American forces were structured, especially something that Kos spoke about repeatedly, the value of non-commissioned officers.
Russia maintained a top-heavy command layout, based its strategy on an army of untrained conscripts, and reshaped its military structure around small tactical groups of flimsy battalions. Ukraine implemented a program to insert and retain non-commissioned officers, doubled its training which included training on complex strategies, and strengthened its brigade structure to improve redundancy and strength in depth.
This all took time, which is why Ukrainian officials are happy that this invasion, if it were to happen, took place in 2022, not 2016 or 2018. There is no good time for a war , but the interval between Russia’s first and second advantage is the time Ukraine has spent preparing at all levels to do what it is doing right now.
During the afternoon session, reporters expressed concern about missiles Russia fired at western Ukraine, including towns that had previously been spared from bombardment. Many of these missiles were aimed at electrical substations, railway infrastructure and Ukrainian defense-related factories. The Pentagon agrees that the intent of these missiles is to disrupt the flow of weapons entering the country and diminish Ukraine’s ability to “rebuild and reinforce” its positions. On Tuesday, two of the missiles fired were reportedly high-velocity Kalibr missiles launched from a Russian ship in the Black Sea.
The missile attacks continue on Wednesday. The total number of missiles Russia has launched since the invasion began is now over 2,300.
However, the United States notes that Russia still has a poor record when it comes to accurately hitting targets, that “Russia’s ability to accurately target has been less than advertised”, and that it has been inaccurate over the past 70 days. Without giving details, the spokesman hinted that Russia may still not be in touch with the targets it really wants to hit.
Although they wouldn’t give any numbers to tie it, the DOD insists that Ukraine continues to see new weapons and supplies entering the country at “an incredible rate” and that these weapons are still arriving on the front lines in timely. The Pentagon also said some of the US M777 howitzers sent to Ukraine are now in use.
Also during the afternoon session, the Pentagon noted that army and national guard units were involved in the training of Ukrainian forces in Germany (as well as the possible use of military units). the Air Force to train on the new Phoenix Ghost, the details of which are still murky). While discussing this, the Pentagon said Ukrainian forces have also been trained in the use of “unmanned surface vessels” – in other words, drones.
Finally, while assessing that Russia is not making the progress it wants, the Pentagon said it believed Russia still had problems with command, unit coordination, unit cohesion and morale. Even so, Russia still has “a lot of firepower to continue this fight. It could be a protracted battle in the Donbass.
This remark matches that of some Ukrainian officials this week, who seem to be warning their country to prepare for a protracted war.
Over the past week, Ukrainian forces have waged a steady counterattack in the area north and east of Kharkiv. At the start of this offensive, Russian forces were right at the city limits, but Ukraine pushed these forces out of the suburbs, out of neighboring towns, and through a series of villages to open a 40 km (25 mile) corridor around the bruised city. The Ukrainian counterattack brought them to Staryi Saltiv earlier in the week and largely evacuated the forces east of the town to the Silverskyi Donets River.
Ukraine’s attempts to eliminate Russian forces, which apparently include numerous Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) militias, have not gone without a hitch. On Monday, Ukrainian forces attempting to enter the town of Kozacha Lopan ran into heavy resistance, losing several vehicles in the process. However, Ukrainian forces remain a short distance away, but at the moment the largest combat zone appears to be at the eastern end of this line – where it appears as of Wednesday evening that Ukraine managed to completely drive out Russian forces from Stary Saltiv. There are also claims that Ukraine took the city of Shestakove, which would go a long way to clearing the main road between Staryi Saltiv and Kharkiv, but this is currently unconfirmed.
However, also on Wednesday, Russia apparently attempted to strike back. The location is unclear, although it appears to be back at the northwest end of the area, again near this town of Kozacha Lopan, where Ukrainian forces were pushed back earlier. However, Russia’s attempt to retake territory from Ukraine in this area reportedly failed.
How Russian tanks are dictated by Russian strategy, and vice versa
On Wednesday, Oryx reports that more than 3,400 pieces of Russian equipment have been lost. Over 600 of them are stray tanks, and a large portion of them are some form of T-72. Much like the structure of their army, the nature of their tanks is defined by the expectations of the Russian leadership. And then the nature of what the army can do is defined by these tanks.
“The greatest advantage of the T-72 is also its greatest weakness. Because this vehicle was designed to be used by a conscript army. It is therefore easy to use. But this is also its greatest weakness, because a conscript army can’t use fancy tanks.It’s supposed to be easy to maintain, but that’s not the case if all your corrupt generals are stealing the funds that are supposed to be used to maintain the vehicles.