Russia’s Disorganized, Piecemeal Offensive Is Gaining Ground at a Terrible Cost

News & Politics

Military observers in Ukraine and Europe are looking at the current Russian advance in eastern Ukraine not so much as an organized offensive but as a series of disorganized advances that are exacting a terrible toll on Russian infantry.

“We haven’t actually seen this massing of a single force to punch through in a big offensive. We’ve just seen an effort to advance, and that has come at a huge cost to the Russian army,” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the BBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday.

Also, according to the UK defense ministry, Russia is losing more than 800 soldiers a day, reflecting the almost non-existent training for the hundreds of thousands of conscripts who have joined the war in recent weeks. But even elite units are finding the going painfully slow.

The veteran 155th naval infantry stormed the Ukrainian coal mining city Vuhledar near Dontesk in late January, resulting in 5,000 Russian casualties.

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“The 155th brigade already had to be restaffed three times. The first time after Irpin and Bucha; the second time they were defeated near Donetsk – they recovered again,” Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi, a Ukrainian defense forces spokesman, told Politico. “And now almost the entire brigade has already been destroyed near Vuhledar.”

Russia is trying for a big push this winter before Ukraine can get fully organized and begin to use the western equipment they’ve received in recent months. The tanks, missiles, armored vehicles, and technical assistance are being integrated into Ukraine’s armed forces. But the upgrades won’t be fully ready until spring.

In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin believes he can score some major victories in a region of Ukraine that is far friendlier to Moscow’s troops and where Putin can rely on local reinforcements from battle-hardened pro-Russian militias for support.

“The Russians understand that the continuation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and operations to liberate our territories are inevitable,” said Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence. “That’s why the enemy is in a hurry.”

Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Wallace’s remarks came as the U.S. and other allies gathered for a second day of talks on boosting supplies to Kyiv. On Tuesday, Kyiv’s allies pledged more air-defense systems and training during talks of the Contact Group on Ukrainian Defense. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said discussions on Wednesday would focus on the provision of tanks.

An immediate priority, however, is munitions. Ukrainian troops have fired so many rounds at Russia’s invading forces over the past year that Kyiv’s allies are struggling to meet demand and have had to increase arms production.

As the Contact Group on Ukrainian Defense meets, public support for direct military aid to Ukraine is waning. A new AP-NORC poll finds a considerable softening for the United States sending weapons to Ukraine compared to shortly after the start of the war.

Forty-eight percent say they favor the U.S. providing weapons to Ukraine, with 29% opposed and 22% saying they’re neither in favor nor opposed. In May 2022, less than three months into the war, 60% of U.S. adults said they were in favor of sending Ukraine weapons.

Americans are about evenly divided on sending government funds directly to Ukraine, with 37% in favor and 38% opposed, with 23% saying neither. The signs of diminished support for Ukraine come as President Joe Biden is set to travel to Poland next week to mark the first anniversary of the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II.

“I am sympathetic for Ukraine’s situation and I feel badly for them, but I feel like we need to first take care of priorities here at home,” said Joe Hernandez, 44, of Rocklin, Calif.

This doesn’t mean that the U.S. is going to cut off Ukraine from its number one arms supplier. But it means that Joe Biden is going to have to deal with Republicans — especially on oversight of spending on the war, which has been virtually non-existent.

Ukraine is not an ideal ally nor should we mistake them for a “fledgling democracy.” As inspiring and heroic as their resistance to Russian aggression has been, Biden and other Ukraine supporters should try their utmost to find a way to get the two sides together for peace talks. It should not be considered treason to advocate for peace in Ukraine — a ploy that Biden has embraced.

Related: Infiltration Invasion? 700% Increase in Illegal Chinese Migrants at U.S. Border

Given Biden’s incompetence, there’s a real possibility that the United States might find itself at war with both Russia and China, with consequences that would be catastrophic for us.

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