Zaluzhny Admits ‘Stalemate,’ Warns of a Positional War – ‘Russia Shouldn’t Be Underestimated’

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The war between Russia and Ukraine is entering a new, tiring and protracted phase, accompanied by fighting in which both sides dig in and do not move much, writes Valery Zaluzhny, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. in an article for The Economist.

Zaluzhny said he was concerned because this shift to a positional war plays to Russia’s advantage, allowing the country to rebuild its military strength. This in turn poses a significant threat not only to the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU), but also to Ukraine’s sovereignty as a nation.

“Russia should not be underestimated. It suffered heavy losses and expended a lot of ammunition,” Zaluzhny wrote. “But it will have an advantage for a long time in weapons, equipment, missiles and ammunition. Defense industry increases production despite unprecedented sanctions…

“A positional war is a protracted war that poses enormous risks to the Ukrainian armed forces and the state. New, innovative approaches can turn this war of position back into a war of maneuver,” he added.

From his perspective, Ukraine urgently needs to acquire essential military capabilities and advanced technologies to ensure victory in this evolving war.


Modernization of the air force

The Ukrainian Armed Forces, as mentioned by Zaluzhny, need to improve their military capabilities and technologies, with a primary focus on the air force. Control of airspace is critical for large-scale ground operations, and Ukraine’s initial air force of 120 fighter aircraft has been significantly reduced.

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The Russian Air Force maintains an advantage and continues to strengthen its attack squadrons, posing a challenge to the Ukrainian advance.

The use of drones, both for reconnaissance and attack, should be part of the Ukrainian strategy, using bait and attack drones to overwhelm Russian air defense systems and fighter drones to counter Russian drones.

Electronic warfare

Electronic warfare, including disrupting communications and navigation signals, is the second priority, according to Zaluzhny.

Russia has invested heavily in modernizing its electronic warfare capabilities, in some respects surpassing the United States. Ukraine must expand its own electronic security systems and gain access to allied electronic intelligence data to effectively counter Russian interference efforts, he writes.

Counter battery fire

Zaluzhny said the third task to be addressed is counter-battery fire, mainly aimed at defeating enemy artillery.

In modern warfare, artillery and missile fire constitute a significant portion of military operations, and Ukraine’s initial success in this area is being challenged by improved Russian electronic warfare and counter-battery capabilities.

Ukraine should work on creating local GPS fields to improve the accuracy of precision-guided projectiles in jamming conditions, use kamikaze drones to target Russian artillery, and seek better artillery and reconnaissance equipment from allies.

Mine clearance technologies

The fourth task involves developing mine-clearing technologies to overcome Russian minefields, which in some areas extend for considerable distances.

According to Zaluzhny, Ukraine needs advanced sensors to detect mines, smoke generation systems to obscure mine clearance operations, and innovative methods to safely breach minefields.

All of these technologies can significantly assist in mine clearance.

Increase in reserves

The fifth and final priority that Zaluzhny points out is building up reserves to counter Russia’s manpower advantage.

Political concerns and restrictions hamper Russia’s ability to fully mobilize its population, but Ukraine faces its own challenges in preparing reserves, Zaluzhny wrote.

Ukraine is working on reforms such as a uniform conscript register, expanding the pool of civilians eligible for training and mobilization, and implementing a “combat internship” program to improve training.

Kremlin comments

In its response to Zaluzhny’s Economist article, the Kremlin on Thursday denied Kiev’s top military official’s claim that Ukraine’s nearly two-year conflict had reached a stalemate.

“No, there is no standoff yet,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding: “Russia is steadily carrying out the special military operation. All set goals must be achieved.”

Moscow made no mention of the aim of the “special military operation” to capture the Ukrainian capital Kiev within days or weeks, nor of the aim of limiting NATO’s expansion.

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