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This article is written knowing that there have been many lives lost due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and no matter how “ineffective” Russia’s invasion has been, it has effectively killed many Ukrainians and Russians with no desire to be there.

With that caveat, U.S. experts are shocked at the Russian military’s ineptitude in its invasion of Ukraine. From the AFP, linked to the Times of Israel:

U.S. specialists who study the Russian military say they have been astonished by the mismanagement of the campaign, which has seen invading columns stalled, apparently hundreds of Russian armored vehicles lost, and the Ukrainians preventing the Kremlin’s air force from controlling the skies.

According to the article, warfare is a lot like any other extensive team endeavor, errors are supposed to pile up over the first two to three months, not the first few days, and yet that is precisely what has happened.

The Pentagon and private sector experts expected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army to quickly destroy Ukraine’s ability to fight back, undermining its command and control of the 200,000-strong Ukraine military, wrecking its missile defenses and destroying Kyiv’s air force.

None of that has happened in the first six days. And, although there are no reliable estimates of the dead, injured and captured Russian troops, the numbers appear to be much higher than what would have been expected in a well-managed invasion.

As we have all read and seen reported, Russia (along with most others) did not expect Ukrainians to fight back with such tenacity, and yet a determined defense does not lead to tanks running out of fuel, nor food shortages to troops – one of the most fundamental aspects of any mission. There is even an old cliche, “an army marches on its stomach.” This is sheer incompetence and lack of thorough planning for contingencies. Military leaders are supposed to have fallback plans for situations such as; “What if everything we’ve planned goes wrong… ”

Also surprising was the limited or ineffective deployment of electronic warfare weapons, which most analysts expected would have a significant role in attacking the Ukrainians’ ability to communicate.

“Were the Russians able to cut off Ukrainian military leaders from those they are commanding … Ukrainian air and air-defense forces would have been forced to fight in an uncoordinated fashion, making them less lethal and more susceptible to attack,” the Scowcroft Center report said.

Perhaps the Russians had every intention of cutting off all electronic warfare weapons but were unable to do so. The article does not speculate as to whether the Ukrainians are getting intelligence fed to them by sympathetic NATO members, nations with the most to lose whenever war breaks out in Europe. It is possible that the United States intelligence services have provided the Ukrainians with the type of information needed to protect those assets. We do not know. We do know that there was open speculation in the media during the run-up to the war that President Biden was giving the media intelligence as an attempt to send a message to Russia, that the United States knew Russia’s plans and thus Russia had leaks. Recall, “Russia plans to invade on Wednesday…” and the Russian army held off?

Boston, who has taken part in high-level war games focused on the Russian force, said there are signs they much of the force is young, undertrained for this kind of conflict, and probably unaware they were even going to war.

He said it appeared, too, that the troops on the ground had no sense of what they were trying to do in invading Ukraine, with its longstanding ties to Russia.

“If you don’t know what’s going on … you can’t adapt,” he said.

Conscripts, asked to risk their lives, not to defend their nation, but in an attack, a war of choice, can anyone blame them?

The experts all pointed out that none of this means that Russia will not win in the short term and occupy Ukraine. Russia simply has too many resources and too much firepower. But occupying a country is one thing. Holding that country is another, and experts agree that Russia is off to an astonishingly bad start.

 

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