What Is the Political and Military Situation with the Russo-Ukrainian War?

September 9, 2022
UkraineWorld spoke to Valentyn Badrak, author, military analyst, the Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies. Key points – in our brief, #UkraineWorldAnalysis:

1. On the strategic importance of Kherson Region:

  • If by the end of the year Ukrainian troops have managed to knock the Russians out of Kherson Region, it would be a powerful blow to the "sciatic nerve" of Putin's regime. The fact that they are not holding the so-called “referendums” is a signal of their feverish state.
  • As Boris Johnson said, the West raised the Russian monster by not taming Putin after his encroachments.

2. On the political aims of of Ramstein Contact Group participants:

  • There is no consensus among the participants of the Ramstein Contact Group, and no anti-Putin coalition; Scholz and Macron want to preserve Putin's regime, so they are artificially restraining Ukraine’s offensive.
  • Colin Kahl, the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for defense policy, noted that Ukraine does not need ATACMS, which has a range of up to 300 km, because it seems that all Russian targets are within a 70-80 km distance, which is covered by the operational range of HIMARS rockets. But we urgently need tactical missiles to reach Russia's military infrastructure.

3. On the probable scenario of the unfolding of military operations:

  • Ukrainian troops are on the counteroffensive. That said, there are two types of risks: unprepared Ukrainian reserves and artificial restraint from the collective West.
  • Up to now, the front line has been defined by Russia, but the brilliant work of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has helped to achieve tactical successes (with the recent liberation of around 20 settlements).
  • Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and Mykhailo Zabrodskyi, First Deputy Chairman of the National Security, Defense, and Intelligence Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, have recognized that war will go on in 2023.
  • Firstly, for a serious offensive, 10-20 armed brigades will need to be formed, and worn-out weapons will need to be repaired and updated. Secondly, Ukraine’s political and military leadership must share the responsibility for the offensive.

4. On Russia's resources and military manpower:

  • Russia is exhausted, and is looking for microchips to resume weapons production. They will manage to find some amount. Smuggling is natural to Russia. All Russian weapons, including missiles, originate from stolen western technologies.
  • Ukraine is a completely different country. For example, the whole world is wondering how the Ukrainian Armed Forces have managed to adapt high-speed HARM anti-radar missiles to their MiG-29 fighters.
  • Therefore, Russia is running out of resources, but has some capacity to renew them. The amount of money Russia received from energy sales over the past 6 months has allowed them to increase their armed forces to 2 million people.
  • By issuing a decree to increase army’s standard strength in 2023, Putin is trying to shift the center of gravity of the war to 2023. Full mobilization is possible if Putin proves to Russian society that this is Western war against Russia.
  • The collective West is short-sighted because it is not providing Ukraine with a sufficient number of advanced weapons, thus bringing a Russia-NATO collision closer.

5. On the ongoing supply of arms:

  • Let's wait until the end of September to see if the promised anti-aircraft missile systems, in particular German IRIS-T with a range of up to 40 km, as well as NASAMS, arrive. We need operational-tactical missiles, anti-aircraft defenses, and ranged fire systems like tanks and artillery.
  • Weapons are being handed over, including HARM missiles and about 1000 costly smart munitions, which have an adjustable range of 70-80 km. But we are dealing with insufficient quantities. At one point, Ukraine asked for 96 HIMARS launchers, but was provided with 20.

6. On the progress of Ukrainian domestic armaments:

  • In the fall of 2021, the Security Council began implementing a missile program. We need to quickly resume production of the missile systems we have already developed, such as the Neptune anti-ship missile system, which can be adapted to land targets.
  • The range must be urgently increased to 500 km, and for cruise missiles up to 750-1000 km. If there is a political will combined with stated doctrine, it will be possible to produce up to 200 missiles per year. We are able to make a missile sword.

This material was prepared with financial support from the International Renaissance Foundation.

Daria Synhaievska, analyst and journalist at UkraineWorld
Valentyn Badrak,the Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies