The Russian Military Stumbles in Ukraine

An alternate view

By Uldis Sprogis, AM THINKER

Initially the goal of the Russian military was to strategically take over all of Ukraine by focusing on taking over the capital Kiev, installing a puppet government sympathetic to Russia, and occupying all of Ukraine as needed. Logistic challenges were too many. Poor troop training and planning were primary causes of failure.

More than one Russian soldier was lied to initially by their commanders who said that the soldiers were going on a training mission and not to fight in Ukraine. Overly confident Putin lied and first categorized the war as a “special military operation” and not a war. On December 23, 2022  about 10 months into the war Putin finally admitted for the first time that it was actually in a war with Ukraine.

Early in the attack towards the capital Kiev there was no access to railroad transport and roads were clogged with Russian vehicles. Fuel, munitions, spare parts, and other materiel were not efficiently distributed to forward combat lines. Supply lines could not keep up with the long combat pushes and logistics vehicles were not properly protected.

One example was a 40-mile-long Russian military convoy which stood still in front of a river with a blown-up bridge for about a month outside of Kiev.  It was a sitting duck for guerrilla counterattacks.

Another example of acute Russian failure was a strategic airport near Kiev which was an ideal resupply area. Russian paratroopers held on to the airport briefly, but Ukraine easily got it back.

The Russian ground offensive was probably made on the incorrect assumptions on how the Ukrainian military, the Ukrainian people, and the West would react. The Russian surprise 2014 cakewalk into parts of Donetsk or Eastern Ukraine and the easy takeover of Crimea on the Black Sea probably lured Putin into thinking that invading the whole of Ukraine would be a similar easy cakewalk.

Little did the Russians realize that occupation of territory was not enough; controlling the territory once occupied was problematic with a hostile Ukrainian populace.  Strategically, the Russians failed to coordinate their land, air, and rocket or missile attacks with too small an invasion force which permitted the west to supply military hardware via Western Ukraine with the railroads and electrical grids still functional.

Russian offensive cyber and electronic warfare failed to blind Ukrainian military command and control or threaten critical infrastructure for prolonged periods. Ukraine was able to blunt the effects of the cyberattacks with defensive help from private companies, Western governments, and other state and non-state actors.

I have been following the war almost on a daily basis since it started and it is sometimes hard to discern what is Russian and Ukrainian believable propaganda and what is not, but I am most shocked by some of the videos of Russian soldiers complaining about the military and how badly they are being treated by their commanders and by the corrupt military bureaucracy. Also, some of the intercepted cellphone calls by soldiers with their wives and acquaintances are hard to believe but probably true in many cases since they were peppered with abundant Russian profanities.


May 3, 2023 | 6 Comments »

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. Hi, Peloni and Reader.

    If this were a US election, I would say that anything can happen; but since weapons and soldiers can’t be manipulated as easily as election boards and voters, I’m pretty confident of a tactical Ukrainian victory, and possibly a Russian political collapse. Here are Denys’s latest notes (worth a look):

    At the moment, it appears

    1. Russia is evacuating tens of thousands of civilians — from Crimea, as well as Donbass.

    2. Memos have been leaked of Putin’s planned reactions in case of a disastrous Russian defeat, and

    3. The timing of the events seem to indicate that Prygozhin wants to wash his hands of what’s about to happen.

    4. I think I saw, in passing, that the Moscow “Victory Parade” has been scrapped. not sure. Gottago.

  2. Prigozhin is an oligarch hired by the state to fight in this war. His forces are as much an asset to the govt as they are a threat. The claims of being undersupplied and unsupported by Russia air support may very well be true to some extent due to this. Indeed, Prigozhin stands as much a potential rival to Putin as he does as an ally of the West in their hopes to return Russia back to the 1990’s when the Oligarchs controlled everything, much to the destruction of the state and the public. Putin has every reason, therefore, to keep the victories and support of Prigozhin’s forces limited. That being stated, the state of supply and air support for Prigozhin should not in any way be assumed to be representative of the Russian armed forces in general, as has been the claim made by Prigozhin and supported by his champion’s in the West. Recall that as long as a political settlement is avoided, the interests of Prigozhin and the West are served, whereas that of the Russian govt and the Russian poeple are not. Consequently, I would suggest that we take Prigozhin’s testimony with a measure of care and consideration before accepting it as an honest estimate of where the war stands.

  3. @Michael S.

    Wagner forces to abandon Bakhmut

    They need a rotation because of the heavy losses which Prigozhin blames on insufficient supply of ammunition due to mismanagement at the top of which he has informed the Kremlin, the Russian forces will take the place of Wagner’s forces, allegedly, on the 10th of May.

    There is only 5% of Bakhmut that still need to be freed.