Ukraine’s top general said that there is “no certain final outcome in view” in the country's battle against Russia and that success will only be possible by increasing the distance that Ukraine can strike with its missiles.
“Only by balancing out the weapons’ operating range, thus disturbing the said center of gravity for the enemy, can we get to a turning point in the ongoing war,” Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi wrote on Wednesday in a piece co-authored with Lt. Gen. Mykhailo Zabrodskyi, first deputy chairman of the national security, defense, and intelligence committee of Ukraine's parliament.
“There is every reason to believe,” they write, that the conflict “is not going to end anywhere within 2022.”
In a wide-ranging and revealing analysis published by Ukrainian state media Ukrinform, Zaluzhnyi and Zabrodskyi said that the country needs more weapons to battle Russian forces.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine, in the best-case scenario, are able to employ outdated launchers and strike no farther than the depth of the enemy's operational rear,” they wrote. “If Ukraine succeeds in receiving the appropriate weapons, operational and strategic prospects for 2023 will look totally different. The very threat of the Ukrainian Armed Forces employing means of destruction of the appropriate range will force Russia to reconsider the nature, course, and outcome of the ongoing confrontation.”
As an example, they cited Ukraine’s strikes on Russian bases in Crimea last month. This is believed to be the most explicitly Ukrainian military leaders have publicly acknowledged the strikes on Crimea.
“This was done by a series of successful missile strikes on the enemy's Crimea-based air bases, first of all, the Saki airfield. The task of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for 2023 is to make these experiences even sharper and more tangible for the Russians and for other occupied regions, despite the massive distance to the targets,” they wrote.
They also said that acquiring more-capable weapons systems from foreign allies can only be a solution as a “transition period,” and that Ukraine must better develop a domestic production capability.
Since the start of the war, they believe, two factors have most hindered Ukraine’s efforts to get more weaponry from allied countries: a “misconception about the scale of the Russo-Ukrainian war” and “the direct threat of the use by Russia, under certain circumstances, of tactical nuclear weapons,” which would threaten all of Europe.
The generals are realistic about Ukraine’s immediate military challenges, saying that “this will be a long conflict, bringing human losses and massive expenses, with no certain final outcome in view.”
They also noted that Donetsk region, the cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa, and even the capital of Kyiv are still vulnerable to capture by the Russians.