victory on the ground are Kiev and Washington’s wishful thinking: ずくなしの冷や水

2022年05月02日

victory on the ground are Kiev and Washington’s wishful thinking

ウクライナ戦争の経過、現況に関しては、Scott Ritter の右に出る人はいません。
Ukraine is winning the battle on Twitter, but in the real world Kiev is losing the fight for the Donbas
Claims that Ukraine is set for victory on the ground are Kiev and Washington’s wishful thinking at best
Western media coverage of the Ukraine conflict has been so hysterically one-sided, and divorced from reality, that it's probably only a matter of time before Iraq's erstwhile 'Comical Ali' is brought out of retirement to insist that there are no Russians advancing towards the Ukrainian army's front lines. Meanwhile, the actual fighting continues to result in a string of defeats for Kiev's battered forces, who have already lost control of two major cities, despite unprecedented support from the US and its allies.

As American officials work with the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to craft a perception of Kiev's victory against the Russian military, Moscow is preparing to counter with a harsh dose of reality.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on the heels of a dramatic visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev where, together with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, he met with Zelensky, testified before Congress that the goal of the Ukrainians in fighting their two-month-old conflict with Russia “would be to push the Russians out of the territory that they’re trying to occupy in eastern Ukraine.”

Blinken added that the administration of US President Joe Biden was providing “full support” to Kiev to achieve this goal. The Secretary of State added that Zelensky’s objective was to degrade the Russian military so that it would not be able to attack Ukraine in the “next month, next year or in five years,” echoing similar sentiments expressed by Lloyd Austin, who had declared that the goal of the US was to “see Russia weakened” so that it cannot “do the kinds of things that it has done [in Ukraine].”

The shared optimism of Blinken, Austin, and Zelensky comes from the joint embrace of a narrative of the Russian military operation against Ukraine which holds that the Russians are in the process of suffering a strategic defeat in Ukraine. But in a sign that this narrative may represent little more than wishful thinking on the part of these three leaders, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, had a more nuanced take, noting that if Russia were to get away with what he termed its “aggression” against Ukraine “cost-free,” then “the global international security order” that has been in place since the end of the Second World War would be put at risk.

Far from projecting a sense of optimism as to the outcome of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Milley’s statements reflected a sense of urgency that comes with the recognition that the war in Ukraine has reached a critical juncture.

The gap between perception and reality when it comes to assessing the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is a direct result of the confusing nature of the conflict itself, where a well-oiled propaganda campaign waged by Ukraine and its western partners, both government and media alike, contrasts with a Russian public relations effort which is reticent to delve deeply into Russian strategic goals and objectives, let alone the day-to-day details of the fighting on the ground. The result is an information war where two competing narratives wage an unequal conflict, and perception is ultimately trumped by reality.

Some harsh truths

As the military operation in Ukraine enters its third month, some harsh truths have emerged which are altering how both the Russian armed forces and modern warfare will be assessed going forward. Few analysts−including this author−expected serious resistance to last more than a month. Indeed, General Milley had briefed Congress during closed-door briefings in early February that a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine could result in the fall of Kiev within 72 hours.
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There were several reasons for such an assessment. First and foremost was the extensive preparation that had been conducted by Russia in advance of the military incursion. The movement of hundreds of thousands of troops along with their equipment and the logistical means to sustain both men and material in combat is not a trivial exercise, and Russia had been engaged in military drills which stretched out over the course of several months, perfecting such logistics. The Russian military is led by officers who excel in staff work and preparation, and to assume that they had planned for every possibility that could be encountered on the battlefield is not an outlandish proposition.

Doctrinally, the Russian military was configured for the kind of warfare it had prepared for, where its overwhelming advantages in mass and firepower were optimized to produce the very battlefield results anticipated by most observers−the destruction of enemy defenses in depth with massed fire, followed by an aggressive armored assault that penetrated deep into the enemy rear areas, sowing confusion and disruption leading to the rapid loss of combat effectiveness on the part of those being attacked.

A Russian-Ukrainian war was always going to be primarily a ground war; neither the Ukrainian Air Force nor its Navy were expected to put up a sustained, viable resistance to their Russian counterparts. While the Ukrainian Army had been trained and equipped as a virtual NATO proxy force since 2015, the reality was that it had undergone a rapid expansion from 2014, when it could field some 6,000 combat-ready troops, to its pre- military operation composition of some 150,000 soldiers organized into 24 brigades. The expectation that Ukraine would be able to perfect anything more than basic battalion-sized combined arms operations (i.e., the coordinated employment of maneuver forces with artillery and air support) was wishful thinking.

While Ukraine had placed a great deal of effort in transitioning from an all-conscript military in 2014 to one where some 60% of its combat personnel were professional contract soldiers led by seasoned non-commissioned officers, one cannot create such a force in so short of time. Small unit leadership of the sort that represents the glue that holds a military force together under the strain and duress of sustained combat simply had not had enough time to take hold and mature in the Ukrainian army, leading many to assess that it would fold when placed under the stress of Russian doctrinal warfare.

The following analysis is sourced from publicly-available reporting by journalists embedded with the Russian military and the forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic, as well as Russian Ministry of Defense briefings and statements made by the Ukrainian side.

Within the first week of the Russian operation getting underway, it was clear to most that many of the assumptions that had been made were flawed and/or misplaced. First and foremost, Moscow had opted not to employ its forces according to standard doctrine, opting instead to take a light approach which appeared to be born from a concerted effort to minimize civilian casualties and harm to civilian infrastructure that itself was derived from a fundamental misunderstanding of the reality of the situation on the ground in Ukraine.

The reported purging of 150 officers from the 5th Department of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), responsible for operations in the so-called “near abroad” (which includes Ukraine), along with the arrest of Sergei Beseda, the former head of the department, suggests that Russia had suffered a failure of intelligence the likes of which has not been seen since the Israeli failure to predict the Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War of October 1973.

While the Russian government has remained characteristically tight-lipped about any possible shortcomings regarding the work of the 5th Department prior to the start of the military operation, the statements by Russian leadership suggesting that the Ukrainian military might remain in its barracks and that civilian leadership would not interfere with Russia military operations suggest that these assumptions were made using intelligence provided by the 5th Department. That such assumptions, if indeed they were made, proved to be so fundamentally off target, when combined with the preparedness of the Ukrainian military to engage the initial columns of Russian forces, suggests that the work of the 5th Department had been disrupted by Ukrainian security services, who took control of Russian human networks and fed false reports back to the Russian leadership.

・・・長文です。引用ここまで。Scott Ritter の寄稿です。ウクライナ戦争開始直後、ウクライナに入ったロシアの輸送車列が待ち伏せに会い全滅、赤茶けた残骸が延々と道路上に残された状況がSNSで流れました。情報機関と司令官が責任を問われています。ロシア軍にかなりの犠牲者を出したはずです。ですが、その後ロシア軍は態勢を立て直して侵攻しました。
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 00:32| Comment(0) | 国際・政治
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