The Ukrainian military is now waging a war of intense attrition against stubborn and larger Russian forces along a front of nearly 1,000 kilometers. It is still desperately short of air power, and offensive action will be disrupted by the deteriorating weather.
The Russians are likely to launch another campaign to cripple Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, plunging its people into a dark winter. On the battlefield, the Russians have adapted. Next year’s defense budget will be 70% higher than this year’s. They are in this for the long haul.
But the Ukrainians are also adapting, after a stuttering start to the counteroffensive.
As Franz-Stefan Gady and Michael Kofman argued in The Economist, “Ukrainian soldiers’ ability to master Western tech quickly led to misplaced optimism that the time it takes to develop cohesive fighting units could be short-circuited.”
Now they’ve returned to a style of warfare they know best, using small groups of mobile infantry to test entrenched Russian defenses. It’s also appropriate to the circumstances now, because scores of Russian drones spotted any concentration of forces and directed massive artillery fire against them.
Small and nimble is the answer.
Read the full analysis here.