What Ukraine Did Right

What Ukraine Did Right

While it is entirely likely that Russia will ultimately win, fact is that things are not going at all according to either Russian or Western predictions. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned in every single metric, Ukraine has defied the odds, fighting Russian army to a standstill in many places. While things may turn out poorly for Ukraine, Moscow’s plan of a quick victory has already failed.

So what has happened?

As Napoleon Bonaparte had pointed out long time ago, moral factors in war outweight physical ones by a fair margin (In war, the moral is to the physical as three is to one. – certain famous not-so-short Corsican). And while Ukrainians are fighting for survival of their country, Russian conscripts that were comprising the initial invasion wave were told they were simply going to exercises. Ukrainian civilians are taking up arms to defend their cities, allowing the professional soldiers to put their training and equipment to good use by initiating a war of maneuver instead of allowing themselves to be tied down in static defensive operations. Moreover, invasion had flared up Ukrainian nationalism, which provided the psychological and moral foundation for stiff defense of the motherland. Nationalism is something which neither Putin nor Western elites understand, which is why Ukrainian resistence had surprised the both.

And despite doomsday predictions of extremely effective Russian cybernetic attacks devastating Ukrainian C4ISR networks, this has not come to pass. Ukrainians had maintained effective command and coordination despite powerful Russian attacks. Russian army by contrast has shown little coordination and unified leadership. Its centralized command structure has not only limited its ability to adapt – with junior officers and NCO’s waiting on the orders from up high – but has also sapped Russian morale. This in turn has meant that Russian generals had to resort to leading from the front, resulting in several of them dying.

Ukrainian forces had also utilized small-unit tactics, maneuver and terrain to their advantage, fighting what was essentially a guerilla war. They also proved better than Russians at combined-arms warfare, integrating UAVs, artillery, infantry, tanks and electronic warfare. Russians meanwhile had failed to do any of this, at least initially. They concentrated forces in heavy, slow armored columns which Ukrainians could then attack with basically impunity.

Lastly, Ukraine has managed to control narrative of the war in the wider world. This was clearly helped by the fact that Russian army had failed at fulfilling its stated objectives.

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