A few days ago, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Alexey Reznikov said the AFU’s operation “is behind schedule but is going according to plan.” At the same time, he added, “The main value for us is the life of our soldiers.” In reality, these statements cannot be called anything other than absurd.
When a counteroffensive is planned, it is true that certain schedules are devised. For example, there is the combat control schedule (or the planned interaction table). This is put together for each day of the operation. Missile troops and the artillery also have a schedule for preparing and striking priority targets. But to claim that the AFU’s operation is “behind schedule” is to demonstrate a certain operational ignorance.
Meanwhile, saying things like “our counteroffensive is going slowly because we are sparing our people” is only an attempt to justify the apparent failure of the operation.
The Ukrainian community of experts also occasionally voices the idea that the AFU is currently conducting “formative” and “test” operations. This sounds rather unconvincing. Firstly, there is no such thing as “formative” or “test” operations in the theory of operational art. There are only combined arms operations that start at the level of the army corps. If the attacks are carried out by battalions or brigades, this is no different than regular combat operations. So, the Armed Forces of Ukraine aren’t conducting any operations in any of the directions yet. Based on the results, their attacks can be characterized as local battles conducted to improve the positioning of the troops, and nothing more.
Ukrainian experts have also expressed the idea that “we are slowly grinding the enemy’s forces and resources, and sooner or later there will come a moment when the enemy’s defense will collapse either at one important point or in several areas.”
If Ukraine were waging a war against a small state with a small population and a military-industrial complex with limited potential, such a technique could prove effective sooner or later. But fighting against a country with mobilization capabilities that greatly exceed Ukraine’s, and a military-industrial complex which is speedily gaining momentum, is a very unpromising strategy.
Every single day brings Ukraine closer to the exhaustion of its own resources. Kiev loses personnel and equipment, and the Ukrainian Army uses up its scarce stocks of ammunition.
Ukraine’s military-political leadership has repeatedly stated that not all trained reserves have been pulled into battle yet. Again, this sounds strange. The number of reserves, their equipment, and level of combat and operational training is one of the top state and military secrets. The timely (and most importantly, surprise) entry of strategic reserves into battle can change the entire course of the armed conflict. But openly talking about this is like turning military science upside down.