Is there any chance of avoiding a protracted war?
Ukrainian journalist and former external adviser to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Yuriy Butusov answered this question during his live stream on 25.07.2022. Translation kindly provided to you by Volodymyr: https://twitter.com/VolodyaTretyak
Full video in Ukrainian:
“I think we cannot avoid a protracted war now. Let’s run through the issues quickly now. Avoidance is impossible because Russia will now… World War III has started. We see after Russia began to receive deliveries of Iranian drones Shahed 129 that Russia will assemble a world axis of those countries that have entered into open conflict with NATO countries and countries of the West. That is, these are rogue countries that Russia takes under its wing. That is Syria, Iran, North Korea, and China. So they gather all these outcasts they try to build relations with China. They are trying to develop ties with some other countries in Asia, i.e., change the vector there. So we see that Russia will concentrate all its efforts on destroying Ukraine. And we see that, unfortunately, our Western allies are still thinking.
Strangely enough, in a war, you can reduce the level of escalation so that we stop Russia from dragging NATO into the battles and expanding the war beyond Ukraine. They think it is possible to keep the war within a small bonfire that will burn only on Ukrainian soil. This is a profound mistake. We have already shown that Ukraine is ready to use specific, not all, but certain types of weapons. Our service members have mastered such, first of all, as HIMARS, as satellite surveillance systems quickly and professionally. They also learned NATO artillery relatively quickly. And, of course, if NATO were to increase arms deliveries sharply, it would probably not be possible to achieve a quick victory, but much faster to force Russia to sit down at the negotiating table. Now, unfortunately, this is not the case. The path of this war is a very long one. Despite the HIMARS, Russia retains, believe me, massive munitions and combat equipment superiority. Only because of the quality of our people, our manpower, our dominance in motivation, and intelligence.
Because our men are fighting for their country, suffering unheard-of hardships, and making unheard-of sacrifices. We are turning this front, this war, in our direction. We are winning, achieving victory at a high cost. And this front is stopped because, believe me, on every inch along the frontline, our people are doing incredible feats every day, constantly risking their lives and health, continually going into battle and beating the enemy.
So in the meantime, we need an increase in military assistance and material financial support from the state by NATO. We need training, and it takes time. We need a reorganization of the army to wage a network of centric and modern, sensory battlefield warfare. We need to do all of this. We need to reorganize from the organizational form we arranged in the USSR. Unfortunately, we still have the Soviet staff structure. The Soviet statutes there are adapted to the Ukrainian realities. But unfortunately, this isn’t easy to do. These are complex things that require a defense doctrine.
We need to change this quickly. We must do all of this during combat operations. Russia has the same problems. It is incapable of achieving a quick victory, and it is incapable of achieving success at all. We have the whole world on our side. The Ukrainians have rallied to repel this aggression. But we don’t have the strength to defeat the second most heavily armed army in the world quickly. So our goal is to reorganize the army, to beat the enemy, so they don’t have the human resources to devote to the war. Yes, they will get drones, missiles, guns, tanks, and planes somewhere else. They are still producing weapons. But we are getting weapons too. We need to destroy the cadres that Russia is sending to war. These are the commanders, first of all, the command staff, especially the junior ones. Platoon commanders, company commanders, and battalion commanders are all there. The war is concentrated around them. And that’s why we have to inflict damage on that professional army that the enemy has thrown into battle. So it’s still not such a quick task to outbattle this army.
The war will be a protracted one. Russia is concentrating all its forces on destroying us. So, friends, let’s tune in for a long resistance, for a long fight. It is not a sprint; this is World War III. And it is simply our mission that our country is the battlefield of this war.”