US Army veteran says tactical Russian advances will be more visible when Ukraine launches it counter-offensive
NEW DELHI: Even as the majority of Western analysts continue to maintain that Russia has heavily underperformed in the Ukraine war, a US Army veteran has argued that Moscow has made huge tactical gains on the battlefield and cautioned the Biden administration against being caught off guard.
In a recent op-ed, former US Lt Col and author Daniel L Davis highlighted a crucial shift in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, emphasizing the tactical and operational improvements made by the Russian military. He warned that Washington policymakers need to update their understanding of the evolving trajectory of the war to safeguard US interests.
Contrary to initial expectations, Davis pointed out that Russia has made significant strides on the ground in Ukraine, challenging the prevailing narrative that the Ukrainian armed forces consistently outperformed their Russian counterparts.
He pointed out that there is sufficient evidence to confirm that Moscow is now in better tactical positions on the battlefield as Ukraine says it is fully ready to launch its much-awaited counter-offensive.
Lt Col Davis cautioned against underestimating Russia’s capacity to make war, both in terms of material and personnel, as well as their historical resilience in recovering from initial setbacks. On the other hand, Ukraine’s limited resources and troops leave little room for error. Over the course of the war, Ukraine has suffered staggering casualties and equipment losses in major urban battles, while Russia strategically chose to abandon cities and establish defensible positions elsewhere.
He highlighted the cost Ukraine has paid in major urban battles, losing troops, equipment, and ammunition. On the other hand, Russia’s industrial capacity and manpower offer them the ability to absorb losses and adapt tactically, stressing that Ukraine’s personnel and industrial capacity cannot match Russia’s, and losing skilled troops and leaders has further exacerbated the situation.
Davis argued that Ukraine now faces a critical dilemma of whether to exhaust its last offensive capacity in a final attempt to inflict significant damage on the occupying Russian forces or preserve it in anticipation of a potential Russian summer offensive. With no apparent path to a military victory, continuing to fight in the hope of success may result in further territorial losses for Ukraine.
“Ukraine is now faced with a world-class dilemma: should they use their last offensive capacity in a last gasp of hoping they inflict a grave wound on the Russians defending in the occupied territories or preserve them in case Russia launches a summer offensive of their own? There are serious risks with either course of action,” he wrote.
“I assess there is currently no likely path for Ukraine to achieve a military victory. Continuing to fight in that hope may perversely result in them losing even more territory,” the army veteran predicted.
Davis underscored the need for the United States to reassess its approach in the coming months and said that US’ western allies must contribute more to Ukraine’s war efforts.