Exclusive: Ukraine must adapt to cuts in Western military aid, says embattled army chief

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In his article, the Ukrainian army commander said that putting an end to “outdated stereotypical thinking” is essential to help modern militaries win wars.


Kyiv
CNN

Ukraine must adapt to cuts in military aid from its key allies and focus more strongly on technology if it wants to win its war against Russia, embattled Ukrainian army chief Valery Zalozhny said.

And in an exclusive article for CNN. Introduction middle A whirlpool of rumours Regarding his future, Zalozny also addressed the challenge of mass mobilization, a source of tension between him and President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The general's article did not mention his relationship with the president, nor did it mention reports that Zelensky was preparing to announce his dismissal after four years in office, a move that a source said could come within days.

Instead, the military leader seeks to build on a quote made in an article published three months ago, in addition to commenting for the first time on a series of political setbacks at home and abroad.

In that first article, Published in The EconomistZalozny highlighted the importance of unmanned aerial vehicles and electronic warfare capabilities as a priority for Ukraine, before concluding: “New innovative methods can turn this positional warfare into a war of maneuver.”

Zalozny’s description of the situation as a war of position – a war characterized by attrition and lack of mobility on the battlefield – was an admission that the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which began with great fanfare earlier in 2023, is effectively over.

Expectations were high earlier in the year that Ukraine could attack and advance, waging a war of maneuver to reclaim large swaths of territory lost to Russia in 2022.

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But deep Russian minefields and heavy Russian artillery fire, coupled with the rapid deployment of drones providing first-person visibility across the front lines, making covert attacks more difficult, have proven difficult to overcome.

In the south, the primary focus of the effort, Ukrainian forces advanced about 20 kilometers; The hope was that they might be able to reach the coast, about 70 kilometers away.

When Zalozny — in a separate interview at the same time — referred to the situation as a “stalemate,” Zelensky’s office exploded, saying such talk only helps Russia.

In his article for CNN, it is clear that Zalozny does not view the war situation any differently.

But he now clearly believes that Ukraine's military leaders must take into account a series of disappointments and distractions away from the battlefield as well.

It indirectly refers to the US failure to agree on a new military aid package for Ukraine, as well as the fact that developments in the Middle East since October have attracted international attention elsewhere.

In addition, “the weakness of the international sanctions regime means that Russia…is still able to deploy its military-industrial complex in an effort to wage a war of attrition against us.”

He doesn't say it in so many words, but the article seems to indicate a growing feeling that Ukraine's fate is ultimately in its own hands.

Of course, the self-help attitude is not new in Ukraine.

It has prioritized the domestic drone industry, for example, and has achieved successes in its maritime drone program, striking Russian naval targets in the Black Sea, and with its long-range aerial drones, flying hundreds of kilometers to strike sites in and around Russia's largest cities.

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But internal problems are clearly a source of concern, as when Zalozny noted the reluctance of his political masters in Kiev to support his call for a greater mobilization of up to half a million conscripts, an admission of the overwhelming superiority in Russian troop numbers.

“We must acknowledge the great advantage he has [Russia] On human resource mobilization and how this compares to the inability of Ukraine's state institutions to improve manpower levels in our armed forces without using unpopular measures.

In a society that may be reluctant to directly endanger large numbers of young men and women, remote-controlled drones provide a more palatable type of combat operations, he acknowledges.

Technology “boasts an undoubted superiority over tradition,” he wrote at one point.

But he says their importance goes much further, demonstrating his belief that unmanned aerial vehicles, along with other high-tech capabilities, have revolutionized not only combat operations, but the overall approach to strategy as well.

Only an end to “outdated stereotypical thinking,” he writes, can help modern militaries achieve victory in war.

Read Valery Zalozny's full article here.

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