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The two strategic mistakes of the West that led Ukraine to a moment of great wartime weakness

The two strategic mistakes of the West that led Ukraine to a moment of great wartime weakness

Two years ago I was woken up at 5 a.m. by a call from my friend asking, “Maksym, has the war started?!“. At 8 a.m. I was already giving an interview on Ukrainian television, trying to explain to viewers what was going on. At 10 a.m. I gave an online lecture to my students at the university from all over Ukraine, including those who It was a special lecture: I gave them advice on how to survive and what to do in this new and terrible reality, which just a few days ago seemed like an apocalyptic scenario for most Ukrainians and people around the world looked like a Hollywood movie.

Today it seems like an eternity has passed since then, but it’s not just two years. Many tragic and unreal events have taken place: the evacuation of my 9-year-old son from Kiev on February 24, 2022, then the more complicated evacuation of my mother and sister from besieged Mariupol under constant shelling after two weeks of mortal silence. Days when we didn’t know if they were alive or dead. Where A completely empty Kiev, with the sound of explosions of Russian shells and rockets, seemed a fairly safe place compared to the images we received of the Russian siege of Mariupol. The hundreds of civilians, mostly women, children and the elderly, who lost their lives in the port city’s theater, even though “CHILDREN” was written in capital letters to alert the Russian pilots.

Only after several months and thousands of innocent deaths and frightening stories from millions of Ukrainians did the US and EU leaders authorize the delivery of weapons to Ukraine. This not only saved hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians from the torture and basement rapes that took place in Bucha and many other cities that Russian troops were able to occupy in the first days and weeks of the full-scale invasion. I am sure that we have seen only a small part of the thousands of war crimes committed by Russian soldiers after they lost the Battle of Kiev and had to hastily flee the capital regions. Chernigov, Zhytomyr and Sumy in northern Ukraine.

More than 10,000 unmarked graves have been identified directly next to the Mariupol ruins using satellite photos. Just numbers on the wooden sticks above. The number of civilians killed in Mariupol varies between 10,000 and 90,000. Nobody can say that for sure. In the year and a half since the occupation, Russian murderers have done everything they can to hide evidence of their crimes against humanity. The most cynical decision was to rebuild the drama theater in the same place and with the same building. Right above the graves of the innocents killed by their bombs. With the smell of decaying bodies challenging the concrete.

After our Western partners supplied us with weapons, the Ukrainian armed forces demonstrated the incredible effectiveness of their operations in the fall of 2022 when they cleared the Kharkiv region and forced Russian troops to leave Kherson, the only regional capital they have been able to occupy since March 24. February 2022. A dozen Himar systems allowed them to ruin logistics and evacuate 300,000 inhabited cities that Russian commanders wanted to turn into a “Second Stalingrad.”

The successes of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in 2022 made our partners believe in Ukraine’s victory. Unlike before the all-out Russian invasion in February, when intelligence predicted that Kiev would have fallen within three days and Ukraine would have been occupied within two weeks. It didn’t happen and even today it still seems like a true miracle. The difference in military potential between the “second army in the world” and the Ukrainian army was taken into account. It was the courage and spirit of millions of Ukrainians who neither wanted to become slaves of Russian Tsar Putin nor lose their freedom, the true religion of the Ukrainian people, that prevented all these apocalyptic scenarios carried out by the secret services. Westerners.

At the same time, in late 2022, Putin realized how wrong he and his generals were about Ukrainians and their willingness and ability to fight for their independence. And they changed strategy. The main goal now was to keep the occupied territories under control and use all means to stop a new Ukrainian counteroffensive in 2023. After the operation failed, they decided on a long-term war of attrition “Blitzkrieg” strategy. We hope that after the failure of the counteroffensive, our Western partners and their societies will become tired and lose interest in the war.

Unfortunately, The euphoria over Ukraine’s success in 2022 led our partners to become complacent, costing us thousands of lives and potentially winning the war in 2022 or the first half of 2023. Instead of providing more weapons, tanks, fighter jets, missiles and projectiles in the fall of 2022, after the Ukrainian armed forces broke through the defensive line in the east and south, the US government decided to suspend deliveries to Ukraine in order to rethink the strategy and itself To prepare for the counteroffensive in 2023, we are beginning long-term discussions with our European allies on how to provide Ukraine with the necessary weapons and prepare new brigades on its territory.

The second big mistake

In doing so, they enabled Putin and his army to prepare and build a three-line defense with minefields spanning thousands of square kilometers that were impossible to traverse without incurring heavy losses. The second major mistake made by Westerners was forgetting their own military doctrines. in which it is forbidden to even launch an offensive operation without having air superiority. This mistake also cost thousands of lives of Ukrainian soldiers during the summer counteroffensive in southern and eastern Ukraine. And even those weapons that were promised to be delivered to Ukraine in the winter of 2023 have been delayed or not realized. The lack of resources prevented Ukraine’s advance.

The best example of broken promises ands the EU’s announcement that it would deliver one million artillery shells to Ukraine by March 2024. Ukraine has received only 600,000 ammunition. 60% of what was promised.

At the same time In the fall of 2023, Russia negotiated with North Korea to supply 2,000,000 projectiles for a few months. In addition, they began deploying their ballistic missiles, which were used in attacks on Kharkiv back in January. Iran, in turn, has sold hundreds of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles to Moscow that will soon be deployed on the battlefield.

At the same time, the United States stopped supplying weapons and projectiles to Ukraine during the election campaign, and contracts for the supply of air defense systems will expire in March, according to US intelligence calculations. Therefore, the number of Russian missiles and Iranian drones with which the country hits its targets will increase significantly. Not only the destruction of Ukraine’s military factories, but also the increase in the number of civilians killed in their attacks, just like two years ago.

This year My son visited me in Kiev to spend the New Year and celebrate his birthday. Two days after their arrival, on December 29th, I woke up to the explosion of some Russian rockets that landed a few kilometers from my house. Luckily my son slept well and didn’t get upset. A few days later, on January 2, the attack was repeated. Most ballistic missiles were intercepted by air defense systems. But believe me, the noise when one rocket hits another in the sky is twice as loud. And if the Rockets of the Patriot system hit the supersonic aeroballistic missile “Kinzhal”.Even fifteen kilometers away, houses and walls shake. Over the last two years, we have all learned to recognize the function of air defense systems by sound, whether projectiles or missiles are flying towards us or to the opposite side… The calibers of the projectiles used or the type of air defense systems that cover the sky protect over Kiev from Russian missiles or Iranian drones.

Either run to the bomb shelter or stay in the bathroom/hallway, following the two-wall rule.

But it’s one thing to live alone like me and be responsible for your own life. And again, if you need to ensure the safety of your family. My son wants to return in the spring. He is still unaware of the risks and dangers.

Last year, with the help of American Patriot systems, the European NASAMS and other types of air defense systems as well as the capabilities of Ukrainian soldiers, Kiev became the safest city in Ukraine. But by stopping deliveries we will no longer have capacity, so I will not put my son’s life at risk. As much as I miss him and am willing to stay with him…

I am disappointed by the Western strategy against Putin and his people’s fatigue with a “long war.” and returning to business with Russia through indirect means. We see Western products being sold to Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Turkey and then re-exported to Russia, making billions and billions. While Moscow produces rockets from these components, it kills more Ukrainian soldiers, as well as women and children. We all saw and remember what they did in Bucha, Mariupol, Bakhmut, Severedonetsk and many other cities and towns that were wiped from the face of the earth.

We all know that the same thing will happen to other cities very soon if our Western partners continue to focus on their own problems and further reduce military aid to Ukraine.

It is not yet clear to European politicians that Putin will not stop at Ukraine if he defeats and occupies it. He will continue to break all his promises to the West. Just like Hitler in 1939. History repeats itself. Just like the Europeans repeat their mistakes and try not to “look up” like in the famous Hollywood film. The price of these mistakes will at some point, as in the 1940s, be too high for everyone, not just Ukraine, which was officially the country that suffered the most in World War II and is now experiencing this tragedy again.

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