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Ukrainian commander makes huge admission about condition of country’s armed forces after a year of war
By JD Heyes // Mar 21, 2023

A Ukrainian army commander has made a startling admission to an American media outlet that puts the country's chances of actually prevailing in the war against Russia in perspective.

According to the Washington Post, this week's report by a commander of a Ukrainian battalion said that "all" Ukrainian soldiers who have combat experience are "already dead or wounded." This could put at risk the Zelensky regime’s planned "spring offensive" to reclaim Russian territory, the outlet reported, adding:

The quality of Ukraine's military force, once considered a substantial advantage over Russia, has been degraded by a year of casualties that have taken many of the most experienced fighters off the battlefield, leading some Ukrainian officials to question Kyiv's readiness to mount a much-anticipated spring offensive.

U.S. and European officials have estimated that as many as 120,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or wounded since the start of Russia's invasion early last year, compared with about 200,000 on the Russian side, which has a much larger military and roughly triple the population from which to draw conscripts. Ukraine keeps its running casualty numbers secret, even from its staunchest Western supporters.

Putting aside the statistics, military personnel in the field report that an influx of inexperienced draftees has altered the profile of the Ukrainian force, which is facing basic shortages of ammunition, including artillery shells and mortar bombs. These losses have led to new recruits being brought in to fill the gaps, the Post said, citing the commander.

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"The most valuable thing in war is combat experience," said the battalion commander, who is with the 46th Air Assault Brigade and was identified only by his call sign, Kupol, in keeping with Ukrainian military protocol. "A soldier who has survived six months of combat and a soldier who came from a firing range are two different soldiers. It's heaven and earth."

"And there are only a few soldiers with combat experience," the commander added, according to the Post. "Unfortunately, they are all already dead or wounded."

These grim assessments have spread a palpable and often unspoken pessimism, from the frontlines to the corridors in power in Kyiv. The failure of Ukraine to carry out a highly-anticipated counteroffensive will fuel criticisms that the United States and its European allies waited too much, after the force was already in decline, to intensify training programs and provide armored fighting vehicles, including Bradleys, Leopard battle tanks, and other combat equipment that could seriously counter Russia's overwhelming strength in numbers.

A senior Ukrainian official spoke under anonymity and called the West's promise of a large number of tanks a "symbolic" amount. Others expressed pessimism about the promise that supplies would reach the battlefield on time, the report said.

"If you have more resources, you more actively attack," the senior official told the Post. "If you have fewer resources, you defend more. We're going to defend. That's why if you ask me personally, I don't believe in a big counteroffensive for us. I'd like to believe in it, but I'm looking at the resources and asking, 'With what?' Maybe we'll have some localized breakthroughs."

"We don't have the people or weapons," the senior official added. "And you know the ratio: When you're on the offensive, you lose twice or three times as many people. We can't afford to lose that many people."

Kupol noted: "I get 100 new soldiers. They don't give me any time to prepare them. They say, 'Take them into the battle.' They just drop everything and run. That's it. Do you understand why? Because the soldier doesn't shoot. I ask him why, and he says, 'I'm afraid of the sound of the shot.' And for some reason, he has never thrown a grenade. ... We need NATO instructors in all our training centers, and our instructors need to be sent over there into the trenches. Because they failed in their task."

To be sure, Russia has lost at least 100,000 men, according to most reliable estimates, but Vladimir Putin has a potential pool of about 40 million men to draw from to replenish his ranks. Ukraine doesn't.

Sources include:



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