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Zaluzhnyi: Ukraine must escape from 'trap' of prolonged war

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 1, 2023 11:44 PM 2 min read
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi is seen during official celebrations for Ukrainian Independence Day on Aug. 24, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Alexey Furman/Getty Images)
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Ukraine needs specific support from the West now that the war is in danger of moving to a "positional" stage, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, wrote in an opinion piece for the Economist on Nov. 1.

This new stage is characterized by "static and attritional fighting" that will allow Russia to restore its military power.

There are a number of technologies that could provide a "way out," Zaluzhnyi believes. This includes providing Ukraine with greater air power, as well as drones.

Ukraine also needs to improve its ability to conduct electronic warfare from drones. Electronic warfare is "the key to victory in the drone war," he wrote.  

Russia "outdoes us in this area," having created a new branch of its army dedicated to electronic warfare and built 60 new types of equipment. At the start of the war, 65% of Ukraine's jamming platforms were produced in Soviet times, Zaluzhnyi said.

A third priority for Ukraine is defeating enemy artillery. The effectiveness of the Ukrainian military in striking Russian artillery positions has decreased, while Russian counter-battery fire has improved "largely thanks to its use of Lancet loitering munitions."

Southern counteroffensive runs out of steam as West scrambles to deliver aid
As fall weather arrives, observers are looking at the status of Ukraine’s three-pronged counteroffensive, which continues to move very slowly. Ukrainian forces have yet to fully break through Russia’s defensive lines and fight to their target cities — Tokmak, Berdiansk, and Vasylivka. Their tempo i…

Improving mine-breaching technology is the fourth priority. While Ukrainian equipment has been updated with Western supplies, even these "have proved insufficient given the scale of Russian minefields," some of which stretch back 20 kilometers from the front line.

The fifth priority, Zaluzhnyi concluded, is to build up reserves in the Ukrainian military.

However, training in Ukraine is limited by the fact that few Ukrainian soldiers at the front can be spared for training missions and training centers are within reach of Russian strikes.

Russia "will have superiority in weapons, equipment, missiles and ammunition for a considerable time," Zaluzhnyi warned.

With the threat of a positional war looming, working on these specific priorities could help Ukraine "escape from that trap."

Zaluzhnyi does not often provide media appearances to western press outlets. He gave a rare interview to the Washington Post in June, in which he warned that the Ukrainian counteroffensive was not sufficiently equipped.

He compared advancing without modern fighter jets, such as F-16s, to fighting with "bows and arrows." Russian artillery fire sometimes outnumbers Ukraine's by ten times, he said.

Those who complain of "slow progress" should understand that the counteroffensive is "not a show."

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