The intensity of drone use and minefields "made it impossible" for both Russia and Ukraine to conduct offensive operations last year, the head of Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR) Kyrylo Budanov said in an interview with Le Monde published on Jan. 11.
Russia has constructed defensive lines along the areas it has occupied in Ukraine’s east and south, laying deep minefields that are nearly impossible for Ukrainian troops to penetrate.
Meanwhile, experts have said that drones on the battlefield are one of the primary reasons Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive last year failed to make any notable gains.
In addition to widespread drone use on both sides, the density of minefields, which has not been seen since World War II according to Budanov, is another factor making offensives extremely difficult for both sides.
“We know the solution for drones — electronic countermeasures. Mines require specialized equipment,” Budanov said.
While Ukraine and Russia are both deploying sophisticated electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, Moscow enjoys an upper hand as it heavily invested in these systems prior to the war, an FT analysis published on Jan. 7 revealed.
One Ukrainian soldier told the FT that Russian UAVs were “hitting us like mosquitoes” saying his colleagues were "falling like flies."
General Valeriy Zaluzhny called EW capabilities “the key to victory in the drone war" in November.
Budanov also noted that while Ukraine has observed an increase in Russia’s domestic ammunition production, the quality of its ammunition has decreased.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine is planning to ramp up its weapons production this year and is aiming to produce 1 million drones in 2024.