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Russia’s Military Blunders Are Bad News for Ukraine

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31.03.2022

The jury is still in on the Russia-Ukraine war. In, rather than out, because the trial is ongoing. Some tentative impressions are nevertheless in order, especially as they impact the West and Israel.

‏Many experts, official and otherwise, have commented on the slow pace of the Russian advance on Ukrainian targets. It is making the invasion more costly, directly in casualties and indirectly in blows to the Russian economy due to sanctions.

Russia’s defense ministry has admitted as much by announcing that the focus is on the Eastern front, more ambitious and Western-oriented aims having been abandoned for lack of progress. But even "self-limiting" wars can be strategically won even while battles are lost, because in the long run, national stamina will win over tactical brilliance.

‏Western observers note that the Russian private soldier is not motivated enough to put up a fight against the Ukrainians, whether civilian or in uniform, and that the crucial element in any army is the non-commissioned officer, the seasoned sergeant, and the Russians have apparently neglected their NCOs training and motivational packages too.

Other problems: Cumbersome and outdated logistics, flawed coordination between the air force, army and (Black Sea) navy, and armored corps inferiority falling victim to anti-tank weapons.

‏The latter is surprising, since decades ago the Soviets led the world in developing and fielding tactical missiles against tanks, as well as planes and ships. Yet the Arab-Israeli wars, in this regard, offered lessons that were better learned by those who absorbed the effectiveness of these weapons than by their creators.

The IDF implemented its anti-missile playbook with lessons learned in acquisition, tactics and training. The U.S. adopted many of the relevant ones in its Air-Land Battle doctrine. The Russians have seemingly lagged behind. They, or their 1970’s predecessors, were better on the attack than they are now in........

© Haaretz


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