The US and NATO can produce it quicker than the Ukrainians
Russian State Department Arms Controlled by the Odesa Strikes Back: Implications for Russia During the Ukraine Assault
EUREKA, Mo. After falling out with his partner at a limousine company in the St. Louis suburbs, Martin Zlatev recently sought a lucrative new business opportunity: selling $30 million worth of rockets, grenade launchers and ammunition to the Ukrainian military.
Time is of the essence according to the pair recently writing to the Ministry of Defense. They outlined a plan to sell American, Bulgarian and Bosnian arms to Ukraine.
The Biden administration has quickly approved hundreds of millions of dollars of private arms sales to Ukraine, cutting the approval process in half. The State Department has approved more than $300 million in private deals to Ukraine in the first four months of the year, according to government documents. The department authorized less than $15 million worth of such sales to Ukraine during all of the 2021 fiscal year.
Beyond that, it appears that Russia is massing replacement soldiers and additional units to launch an offensive to take the portions of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in the southeast, that they do not control – while also establishing defensive positions in depth in other areas that they control in the south.
As Ukraine races to shore up its missile defenses in the wake of the assault, the math for Moscow is simple: A percentage of projectiles are bound to get through.
It’s not clear how much of a hit the Russians are taking, and whether they will have to use older, less accurate missiles to make up for it.
Some of that inventory was dispatched this week. Western officials say Russia has recently used older and less precise KH-22 missiles, of which it has large inventories. Weighing 5.5 tons, they are designed to take out aircraft carriers. Dozens of people were killed in a shopping mall in Kremenchuk in June.
The Russians have also been adapting the S-300 – normally an air defense missile – as an offensive weapon, with some effect. They have wreaked havoc in Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv, and their speed makes them difficult to intercept. But they aren’t accurate.
Over the weekend, Russian drone strikes on the southern Ukrainian port city of Odesa plunged more than 1.5 million people in the region into darkness. Zelensky warned that restoring power to people would take days, not hours, and that the region was in a very difficult situation.
He told CNN’s Richard Quest that this was the “first time from the beginning of the war” that Russia has “dramatically targeted” energy infrastructure.
Over the past nine months, the Ukrainians have also had plenty of practice in using their limited air defenses, mainly BUK and S-300 systems. But Yurii Ihnat, spokesman for the Air Force Command, said Tuesday said of these systems: “This equipment does not last forever, there may be losses in combat operations.”
The US has seen some evidence of the failures of Iranian drones,according to the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.
Petraeus believes that the US and western support of Ukraine means that the Russians will face off against better trained and organized Ukrainian soldiers in the coming months. And Petraeus says his money is still on the Ukrainians.
Ukraine’s wish-list – circulated at Wednesday’s meeting – included missiles for their existing systems and a “transition to Western-origin layered air defense system” as well as “early warning capabilities.”
The system is widely considered one of the most capable long-range weapons to defend airspace against incoming ballistic and cruise missiles as well as some aircraft. Because of its long-range and high-altitude capability, it can potentially shoot down Russian missiles and aircraft far from their intended targets inside Ukraine.
Western systems are beginning to spread. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Tuesday that a “new era of air defense has begun” with the arrival of the first IRIS-T from Germany, and two units of the US National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAM) expected soon.
These are not off-the-shelf items. The IRIS-T had to be manufactured for Ukraine. Western governments have limited inventories of such systems. And Ukraine is a very large country under missile attack from three directions.
World Affairs News: Iran’s Arms to the War on Crime and its Implications for NATO, the Middle East, and the West
On Tuesday, the senior military commander of the Ukrainians thanked Poland for training his air defense battalion that had destroyed nine of the Shaheeds.
He said Poland had given Ukraine “systems” to help destroy the drones. Last month there were reports that the Polish government had bought advanced Israeli equipment (Israel has a policy of not selling “advanced defensive technology” to Kyiv) and was then transferring it to Ukraine.
Editor’s Note: Frida Ghitis, (@fridaghitis) a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is an opinion contributor to CNN, a columnist for World Politics Review and a columnist for The Washington Post. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.
Now, CNN has reported Iran is about to start sending even more – and more powerful – weapons to Russia for the fight against Ukraine, according to a western country closely monitoring Iran’s weapons program.
The strengthening relationship between Moscow and Tehran has drawn the attention of Iran’s rivals and foes in the Middle East, of NATO members and of nations that are still – at least in theory – interested in restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which aimed to delay Iran’s ability to build an atomic bomb.
Everyone is affected by the war in Ukraine. The conflict has also sent fuel prices higher, contributing to a global explosion of inflation.
If Putin can win the war it will mark a new era of global instability with less freedom, less peace and less prosperity.
The United States and the West provided a lot of support to Ukraine. The war in Ukraine reinvigorated NATO, even bringing new applications for membership from countries that had been committed to neutrality. It also helped reaffirm the interest of many in eastern European states – former Soviet satellites – of orienting their future toward Europe and the West.
Much of what happens today far from the battlefields still has repercussions there. When oil-production nations, led by Saudi Arabia, decided to slash production, the US accused them of helping Russia fund the war by boosting its oil revenues. (An accusation the Saudis deny).
Separately, weapons supplies to Ukraine have become a point of tension with Israel, which has developed highly effective defense systems against incoming missiles. Israel refused to provide the systems, despite being asked, but it was due to their own strategic concerns.
The effect of months of military aid. It’s a completely different scale, but CNN reported last month the US is running low on some weapons systems and munitions it provides to Ukraine. After Republicans take control of the House of Representatives, they will promise more scrutiny of US aid for Ukraine, which will make that storyline part of the US aid debate.
The Pentagon is ready to send a Patriot battery to Ukraine, and Russian embassy warnings about provocative language in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia
Higher prices affect all of us. They pack a punch when they come with the right amount of strength. The war has made incumbent political leaders on the defensive in many countries.
A bill was introduced last week by a Republican congressman that would end US support for Ukraine. GOP sources have told CNN that there is a group of Republicans who are against giving aid to Ukranian.
The Pentagon could approve a directive as soon as this week to transfer a battery to Ukraine, officials said on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Final approval would then rest with President Biden.
The White House, Pentagon, and State Department have all refused to discuss the transfer of a Patriot battery, which would be one of the most sophisticated weapons the U.S. has supplied Ukraine.
There are many questions that remain regarding the potential transfer, including how long it would take to train Ukrainian soldiers on the system, if it ever happens, and where the missiles would be deployed.
In a speech to the Group of 7 nations on Monday, Mr. Zelensky thanked the countries for their continued support but listed financing for weapons first among his requests.
The US provided a large quantity of missiles to Kyiv in order to help them in combat, but experts say there is not the same amount of missiles on hand in the Pentagon for that purpose.
But news, first reported by CNN, that the US is finalizing plans to send the system to Ukraine triggered a cryptic warning from Russia’s US embassy Wednesday of “unpredictable consequences.”
Zakharova said that many experts overseas questioned the rationality of the step which would lead to an escalation of the conflict and the risk of directly dragging the US army into combat.
The Patriot system is expensive and complicated and requires intensive training for the multiple people it takes to operate it, but could help the country guard against Russian attacks that have left millions without power.
Asked Thursday about Russian warnings that the Patriot system would be “provocative,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said those comments would not influence US aid to Ukraine.
“I find it ironic and very telling that officials from a country that brutally attacked its neighbor in an illegal and unprovoked invasion … that they would choose to use words like provocative to describe defensive systems that are meant to save lives and protect civilians,” Ryder told reporters.
Is Ukraine an independent country? A Russian response to the Kremlin attack in the Kaluga region and the U.S. demands that NATO be withdrawn
Petraeis: In the long term, Putin still wants to deny Ukraine its sovereignty and make it part of the Russian Federation. In Putin’s grievance-filled, revisionist version of history, Ukraine does not have a right to exist as an independent country.
The installation of a intercontinental missile in the Kaluga region by the Kozelsky missile formation was filmed and shared by Russia’s defense ministry.
It is vital that the leaders of the US and other western nations communicate clearly to Russia that the consequences of using nuclear weapons would be catastrophic.
The commander of a Russian militia in the east claimed on state TV that Russia could not defeat NATO in a conventional war.
Smaller air defense systems have smaller crews and require less personnel to properly operate them. The process of training for Patriot missile batteries usually takes months and will now be done under a lot of pressure from Russia.
In an interview with The Economist published Thursday, Zelensky also rejected the idea recently suggested by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Ukraine seek to reclaim only land seized by Russia since February 2022 and not areas like Donbas and Crimea, which have been under Russian control since 2014.
France 24 reported this week that NATO still has two main objectives, one of them being to provide aid to Ukraine, and the other being to make sure that NATO forces don’t escalate the war.
The Russian military has a record of unsafe ammunition storage from before the current war, as noted by the UK Ministry of Defense.
The official was speaking to reporters and said that when you load the bullets you cross your fingers that they will fire or explode.
Russia’s War on Everybody. What It Means for You, Is It Really Endanger Your Country? The Case of Ukraine
In the trenches. CNN’s Will Ripley filed a video report from trenches and fortifications being built along Ukraine’s border with Belarus, where there is growing concern about Russia once again assembling troops. Ripley talked to a man who was turned into a tank driver.
A strike against DONETSK. According to the Russian-installed mayor of the area, the Ukrainians have launched an attack against the area that has been controlled by Russian-backed rebels.
Editor’s Note: Keir Giles (@KeirGiles) works with the Russia and Eurasia Programme of Chatham House, an international affairs think tank in the UK. He is the author of Russia’s War on Everybody. And What it Means for You.” The views that are expressed are of his own. CNN has opinions on it.
Of course, Russia and its backers around the world will present this as a massive and dangerous escalation. That is highly effective nonsense.
We shouldn’t underestimate Putin. He still believes that Russians are capable of doing the same thing as Napoleon and Hitler did to the Europeans and Americans. And the US and our NATO and western allies and partners need to do all that we can, as quickly as we can, to enable Ukraine and prove Putin wrong.
Russia has the right to act without fear of being interfered with by a global community because it has the UN Security Council veto and nuclear propaganda to its advantage.
That sets a disastrous example for other aggressive powers around the world. Nuclear weapons are able to cause genocidal wars of destruction against your neighbors because other nations won’t intervene.
If that’s not the message the US and the West want other aggressor states around the world to receive, then supply of Patriot should be followed by far more direct and assertive means of dissuading Moscow.
The first priority is the Patriot missile systems. Complex, accurate, and expensive, they have been described as the US’s “gold standard” of air defense. NATO preciously guards them, and they require the personnel who operate them – almost 100 in a battalion for each weapon – to be properly trained.
More precision weapons ensure that Ukraine misses its targets, and that no civilians remain nearby. Ukraine does not go through many shells as Russia burns through areas it wants to capture.
The new deal will likely include the supply of guidance kits, or Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), which Ukraine can use to bolt on to their unguided missiles or bombs. The accuracy of the force will increase due to this. A lot of the $1.8 billion is expected to fund munitions replacements and stocks.
What Do Ukrainians Need to Know to End the Cold War? An Empirical Narrative of Putin During the First Battles of Ukraine
But Moscow is struggling to equip and rally its conventional forces, and, with the exception of its nuclear forces, appears to be running out of new cards to play. The use of nuclear force is not likely to be an option due to China and India’s statements against it.
Russia has been unhappy with the deliveries for a while, but hasn’t done a great amount to respond to the crossing of what could have been considered red lines.
And there seems to be little suggestion that the West will be letting up on its support for Ukraine. Both the US and increasingly Europe, which recently committed to raising its funding by $2 billion in 2023, appear determined to see Ukraine through this winter and beyond.
Whatever the eventual truth of the matter – and military aid is opaque at the best of times – Biden wants Putin to hear nothing but headline figures in the billions, to sap Russian resolve, push European partners to help more, and make Ukraine’s resources seem limitless.
This is difficult. Congress’s likely new Speaker, Republican Kevin McCarthy, has warned the Biden administration cannot expect a “blank cheque” from the new GOP-led House of Representatives.
The remnants of the America First Party questioned how much assistance the US should give to eastern Europe.
The bill for Washington’s slow defeat of Russia is light, since the US has a trillion-dollar annual defense budget.
Zelensky’s physical appearance in Washington is surely designed to remind Republicans of the urgency of Ukraine’s fight and how a defeat for Kyiv would lead Moscow’s nuclear-backed brutality right to the doorstep of NATO, and then likely drag the US into a boots-on-the ground war with Russia.
He is an inspiring rhetorician, and – as a former reality TV star turned unexpected president – the embodiment of how Putin’s war of choice has turned ordinary Ukrainians into wartime heroes.
The Battle of Kiev between US and Ukraine: What Do Ukranian Tanks Tell Us About Its Operation, and How Do They End Their War?
Western allies, including Germany, the United States and the UK, have promised to ship tanks to assist the Ukrainian military in its fight against the Russians, when weather improves in the spring.
On their phone call, Biden and Scholz “expressed their common determination to continue to provide the necessary financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine for as long as needed,” a joint statement read.
Those systems had been at the top of Zelensky’s wish list because it will allow his military to target Russian missiles flying at a higher altitude than they were able to target previously.
Petraeus studied warfare for decades and practiced its application. He was the commander of both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and later served as the director of the CIA. He earned his Ph.D. from Princeton with a dissertation on the Vietnam War and the lessons the American military took from it. Petraeus is also the co-author, with British historian Andrew Roberts, of the forthcoming book, “Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine.”
If the Russian account is accurate, it was the cell phones that the novice troops were using in violation of regulations that allowed Ukrainian forces to target them most accurately. Ukraine, however, has not indicated how the attack was executed. But the implications are broader and deeper, especially for how Russia is conducting its war now.
It is telling that days after the deadliest known attack on Russian servicemen, President Vladimir Putin called for a temporary ceasefire, citing the Orthodox Christmas holiday. The move was viewed by the US and Ukraine as a way to get some breathing space for Russian forces who are having a hard time.
The Russian officials said that the rockets hit the school where the forces were housed, near a large arms depot. Russian air defenses shot down two HIMARS rockets.
The satellite-guided HIMARS have a maximum range of 80 kilometers. A longer-range 300-kilometer HIMARS has not yet been authorized, despite repeated Ukrainian pleas. The Biden administration worried that a longer range system would expand the war and lead to an increase in hostilities.
Chris Dougherty, a senior fellow for the Defense Program and co-head of the Gaming Lab at the Center for New American Security in Washington, has told me that Russia’s failure to break up or move large arms depots is largely a function of the reality that their forces cannot communicate adequately.
It is a view shared by other experts. “Bad communications security seems to be standard practice in the Russian Army,” James Lewis, director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told me in an e-mail exchange.
The troops killed in Makiivka seem to have been recent conscripts, part of a larger picture of Russian soldiers being shipped to the front lines with little training and deeply sub-standard equipment and weapons.
Indeed, a number of the most recent arrivals to the war are inmates from Russian prisons, freed and transferred immediately to the Ukrainian front. Imagine how appealing it would be to prisoners used to years of isolation with little or no contact with the outside world, to use cell phones.
Defense Minister Semyon Pegov weighed in on the Makiivka attack involving the Russian troops and their own use of cell phones
The question is when the blame will begin shifting from the military to Putin himself, particularly since he has seemed ill-prepared to change the leadership at very the top. One of the most significant changes was the move to make an army general the leader of all Russian forces on the Ukrainian front.
Semyon Pegov, who blogs under the alias WarGonzo and was personally awarded the Order of Courage by President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin two weeks ago, attacked the Ministry of Defense for its “blatant attempt to smear blame” in suggesting it was the troops’ own use of cell phones that led to the precision of the attack.
He questioned how the Ministry of Defense could be “so sure” that the location of soldiers lodging in a school building could not have been determined using drone surveillance or a local informant.
A month earlier, the defense ministry underwent a shakeup when Col. Gen. Mikhail Y. Mizintsev, known to Western officials as the “butcher of Mariupol,” was named deputy defense minister for overseeing logistics, replacing four-star Gen. Dmitri V. Bulgakov, who had held the post since 2008. The arms depot was located adjacent to the Makiivka recruits.
Still, Putin-favorite Sergei Shoigu remains defense minister — as recently as Saturday, before the Makiivka attack, telling his forces in a celebratory video: “Our victory, like the New Year, is inevitable.”
A top Ukrainian national security official has warned of a possible “maximum escalation” of the war in the country by Russia as soon as next few weeks.
“These will be defining months in the war,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Sky News in an interview broadcast Tuesday.
Natalia Humeniuk, head of the United Coordinating Press Center of Security and Defense Forces of the South of Ukraine, said on national television that this was not only on land but also in the air and sea.
The ministry says that military representatives from the two countries will practice joint planning of the use of troops based on their recent armed conflict experience.
The dwindling ammunition crisis in Europe: how to keep the Ukrainian military well-supplied and how to use them without wasting their money
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said its Leopard 2s will reach Ukraine by the end of March, while UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the Challenger 2s should be provided to Kyiv “this side of the summer.” The Pentagon’s deputy press secretary said on January 26 that it would take months for the tanks to be delivered.
On January 30, US President Joe Biden reiterated that Washington would not send its F16 fighter jets to Ukraine, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has also said that he does not envisage providing warplanes to Kyiv.
Since Russia commenced its invasion of Ukraine, one of the biggest surprises has been the willingness of Western countries to donate more sophisticated military equipment to the Ukrainian army, which has left the European militaries’ stock cupboard looking rather bare.
In this week’s crucial meeting in Brussels the topic of dwindling munitions supplies was front and center. Members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, an alliance of 54 countries supporting the defense of Ukraine, talked head on about the challenges of continuing to keep Ukraine’s military well-supplied.
Policy makers in Europe have been keeping a low stock on the assumption that there would be no land war similar to World War I or II and that their weapons could be used at a lower price.
Nick Witney, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said that the combination of no immediate threat and financial pressures on European governments led to a conspiracy of dressing the window while letting the stockroom empty out.
The looming ammunition crisis has, however, revealed that policymaking is often based on convenient assumptions of the best-case scenario. Taking no action is often cheaper than taking action.
Cherevaty, Kirby, and Brussels: What have Ukrainians been learning in the last few years? A warning to anyone concerned with the first open-source war?
Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesman for the armed forces, said on television that soldiers need to keep building defensive lines. He said that the reason for barring civilians, including aid workers, from entering the city was to keep military operations secret.
As a prize, Bakhmut offers little in the way of strategic value for either Moscow or Kyiv. Its significance comes more from the amount of blood spilled to claim it.
“Even if Bakhmut were to fall, it would not have a strategic impact on the overall war,” said the National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby. I think it will not have any effect on the fighting in that part of the country.
In Brussels, Western officials deflected questions about whether Ukraine would win its campaign to secure still more powerful weapons to use against its Russian enemy.
And the Ukrainians also have demonstrated a very impressive ability to learn how to employ new weapons systems and vehicles much more rapidly than anyone anticipated, as they want to master new capabilities as quickly as is possible and get back to the fight.
Asked in Brussels on Tuesday whether fighter jets had been discussed, Mr. Austin, the American defense secretary, said, “I don’t have any announcement to make today.”
Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America, and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. CNN has more opinions on it.
Bergen: Is this the first truly open-source war? The war in Ukraine is being fought by Zelensky, commercial overhead satellites capture Russian battle groups moving around in real-time, and the social media accounts of Russian mercenaries are documenting what they are doing.
Petraeus: It is true. As a general observation, I think the developments in Ukraine have to be a cautionary tale for any country around the world contemplating a very challenging military operation – especially if that country’s forces have not engaged in major (or any) combat operations in many decades.
Petraeus is the one. It is not Russia. Russia has, after all, lost the Battles of Kyiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv; failed to take the rest of Ukraine’s southern coast (not even getting through Mykolaiv, much less to the major port at Odesa).
The things it gained in the province have been lost. The Ukrainians had taken out the headquarters and logistical sites for those forces, and isolated them from the rest of the Russians east of the Dnipro River.
The side that generates the most capable, well-trained and well-equipped forces by then will make the most significant gains. And my bet is on Ukraine in that regard.
We are, however, seeing some glimpses and hints of what the future of warfare might look like. We see the Ukrainian use of drones (of only modest range and capability) as aerial observers identifying Russian headquarters and other targets for the precision munitions the US has provided (which will double in range from 70-80 kilometers to 150 kilometers when the just announced US precision munitions arrive in Ukraine).
We see a war taking place for the first time in a context that includes the presence of smart phones, internet and social media.
What Will we do if we don’t see? – The story of Putin, Petraeus and the fate of the NATO
And there would incomparably greater numbers of vastly more capable unmanned systems (some remotely piloted, others operating according to algorithms) in every domain – not just in the air, but also at sea, sub-sea, on the ground, in outer space, and in cyberspace, and operating in swarms, not just individually!
I recall an adage back in the Cold War days that stated, “If it can be seen, it can be hit; if it can be hit, it can be killed.” We did not have the capabilities needed for operationalizing that adage in those days. In the future, however, just about everything – certainly every platform, base and headquarters – will be seen and thus be susceptible to being hit and destroyed (unless there are substantial defenses and hardening of those assets).
We must take a lot of actions to transform our forces and systems. If we want to deter future conflict, we need to ensure there are no questions about our capabilities or willingness to employ them, and we need to do everything possible to ensure that the competition among the great powers doesn’t turn into conflict.
The person is Petraeus. The question is one of the ironies of the situation. Putin set out to make Russia great again. However, what he has done is make NATO great again – with two very capable, historically neutral powers (Finland and Sweden) seeking NATO membership; with substantially increased defense spending by NATO members, most notably Germany; with augmentation of NATO forces in the Baltic states and eastern Europe; and with the greatest unity among NATO members since the end of the Cold War.
Thanks to Putin, the description of NATO as suffering from “brain death” by French President Macron in late 2019 has turned out to be more than a bit premature.
All of that and more were said by Petraeus. They have a long list of problems, including poor campaign design, wholly inadequate training and a culture that condones war crimes and abuse.
How big is Russia in the country? A report from the Kremlin kleptocracy investigation of the Russian army in Ukraine
And it is still led by a kleptocratic dictator who embraces innumerable grievances and extreme revanchist views that severely undermine his decision-making.
You know Stalin said that “Quantity has a quality all its own.” Will Russia’s bigger population make a difference in the war in Ukraine over the long term?
Petraeus: It could if Putin mobilized all of Russia successfully. However, to date, the mobilizations have been partial, as Putin seems to fear how the country might respond to total mobilization. More Russian men left the country than were reported to the stations, according to a report.
More than 300,000 recruits are being sent to the frontlines and up to 100,000 more are on the way. That is not trivial, because quantity matters.
Ukrainians know what they’re fighting for, but it’s not clear if a disproportionate number of the Russian soldiers are from minority groups in the Russian Federation.
What the Russian-American War Really Means for the United States, Europe, and America is: How the US War Ends Bergen ctpr
I know that it’s much harder to make difficult decisions from the outside than it is in office, and I remember sitting around the Situation Room table in the White House. But there are some additional capabilities (advanced drones, even longer-range precision munitions, fighter aircraft, and additional air defense and counter-drone capabilities) that I would like to see us provide sooner rather than later.
The transition from eastern bloc aircraft to western ones will happen eventually. There just aren’t any more MiGs to provide to them, and they reportedly have more pilots than aircraft at this point.
We should start the transition because it will take a number of months to train pilots and maintenance personnel. I think that the Administration has done a very impressive job in this situation and has proved to be an important factor for other situations around the world.
Putin still believes that Russia can ‘out-suffer’ the Ukrainians, Europeans, and Americans in the same way that Russians out-suffered Napoleon’s army and Hitler’s Nazis.
The force that Putin sends into the meat grinder of the toughest battles is the quasi-private Wagner Group. Are mercenaries a good way to use convicts as a tactic?
Russia has done what they are doing with mercenaries in an inhumane way, and itInvolves throwing soldiers into battle as cannon fodder, and little to no concern for their survival.
These are not the tactics or practices that, at the end of the day, foster development of well-trained, disciplined, capable, and cohesive units that have trust in their leaders and soldiers on their left and right.
How Russian War Ends: What Would the Chinese Learn from the Invasion of Ukraine if They Staged a Truncation of Taiwan?
Bergen: What are the lessons of Ukraine for the Chinese if they were to stage an invasion of Taiwan, which would not be over a neighboring land border but over a 100-mile body of water? Does the Moskva’s sinking affect how the Chinese think about this question?
And especially if the target of such an operation has a population willing to fight fiercely for its survival and be supported by major powers – not just militarily but with substantial economic, financial, and personal sanctions and export controls.
Petraeus: I believe it is. This is the first war in which smartphones and social media have been so widely available and also so widely employed. There is unprecedented transparency through the use of open sources.
Having failed to take control of Kyiv and replace Zelensky with a pro-Russian figure, Putin is going to try to expand his influence over the area of Ukraine. To cement Russian control over the provinces that are connected to Russia with the land bridge so that Russia isn’t dependent on the Kerch Strait Bridge for connecting with it’s neighbor, especially in southeastern Russia.
In the past we have seen Russian commanders throwing poorly trained, poorly equipped soldiers into tough fights. And supported by massive artillery and rocket fires (assuming they can maintain the supply of artillery rounds and rockets), to achieve grinding, costly, incremental gains – with, perhaps, an occasional limited breakthrough.
Artillery Shell Production at the Scranton Nuclear Power Plant: Results from a 2001 Presidential Analysis of the Iraq War and the US War in Ukraine
Bergen: In 2003, at the beginning of the Iraq War, you famously asked a rhetorical question: “Tell me how this ends?” For the war in Ukraine: How does this end?
Petraeus: I think it ends in a negotiated resolution when Putin understands that the war is unsustainable on both the battlefield and the home front, and that he will have to accept that there’s no justification for a war in Afghanistan.
If NATO membership or an ironclad security guarantee is not possible, the US and G7 will develop a Marshall-inspired plan to help rebuild the country when the limits of Ukraine’s ability to resist missiles and drones are reached.
In the US, the factories are increasing production quickly. A plant in Arkansas is making a variety of rockets and missiles, including ones used by the US Army in Ukraine. In January Bush said that the Army was standing up a new plant in Garland, Texas to make shells, while an existing plant in Iowa was being expanded to make 155 millimeter shells.
To meet that demand, the Scranton plant is undergoing a massive expansion, fueled by millions of dollars in new defense spending from the Pentagon. It will be shifting to a constant schedule of production after it invests in new machinery and hires a few dozen more workers.
Over the last year it has definitely increased. As we bring in more modern equipment, it’ll be able to ramp up even further,” said Todd Smith, senior director of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, which operates the plant for the Army.
The Army is planning a 500% increase in artillery shell production, from 15,000 a month to 70,000, according to Army acquisition chief Doug Bush. Much of that increase will be fulfilled by the Scranton plant, which makes a large share of the country’s supply of artillery shells.
Bush told CNN the Army intends to double the production of Javelin anti-tank missiles, make roughly 33% more Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) surface-to-surface medium-range missiles a year, and produce each month a minimum of 60 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles – which were “almost not in production at all,” according to Bush.
Stinger and Javelin missiles are some of the most critical and relied-upon munitions by Ukraine to thwart Russian ground advances and aerial assaults, who previously told the US that it needs 500 of each every day.
“The war hinges heavily on defense industrial production, and these are critical investments that the US and ultimately Ukraine will benefit from, but the question is, were they made too late to affect what could be the decisive phases of the conflict this year,” said Michael Kofman, director of Russia Studies at the Center for Naval Analyses, a national security research non-profit.
The US has a lot of work to do when it comes to rebuilding its own arsenals, which the war inUkraine has left dangerously low in the eyes of some experts.
Jones said that US runs out of long range weapons in less than a week of the war in the Pacific.
The Pentagon is working to get things done quickly. Part of that effort involves changing the way it structures work order for the country’s large defense contractors. The military often works off year-to-year contracts making it difficult for partners to plan ahead with production and staff in order to meet needs of the military.
“No defense company in their right mind is going to start producing munitions if by the end of every fiscal year, the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force takes what it had allotted in budget and moves it to a different pet platform or program,” said Jones of CSIS.
The War in Ukraine and the Security of the USA: Milley, McCarthy, And The Prospects For The American Army And The Military And Industrial Base
Gen.Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint chiefs of staff, said that the international community would continue to support Ukranian people untilPutin ends his war of choice.
But back home, there are questions about how sustainable the US commitment to Ukraine truly is. A poll published in December found that support for US aid to Ukraine was declining among Republicans, and there were concerns that a Republican-led Congress could lead to a drop in material support for Ukraine at a time when the rate of weapons production could make all the difference on the battlefield.
And though then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested in October that Republicans could slow funding for Ukraine if they took majority control, sources said he has since walked back his comments privately to reassure senior defense hawks in the House.
If all goes according to plan, in a year production rates in the US will be much higher than they are now, Bush said. And while the hope is that the conflict in Ukraine is over long before then, Bush is confident the US military and industrial base would be ready for whatever comes next.