War: why Russia fails to defeat Ukraine?

Kyiv, like many Ukrainian cities, was repeatedly bombed. However, the defenders resist. (©ZUMA PRESS/MAXPPP/MAXPPP)

We all remember our history lessons, recalling the Cold War and emphasizing the power of the great USSR. Even if its territory is less extensive than before, Russia continues to fascinate as much as it disturbs.

Thanks to (fake?) photographs of Vladimir Putin riding a bear and large propaganda videos designed to show us the power of the Kremlin, the world’s largest country has gradually established itself in the minds of many Westerners as very powerful.

“The Russian army will quickly cope with this,” we said to ourselves.

From the moment Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, it has become clear in the minds of many people that the Russian army will quickly crack down on its opponents.

The Global Firepower website, which ranks countries according to their military power based on various criteria such as numbers, weapons, organization, etc., ranks Russia in 2nd place.th inferior to the Americans, and the Ukrainians are in 22nd placeas well as square.

However, more than a month later resist an invader. Moreover, they managed to sow doubts in the minds of Russian officials.

On Swiss TV RTSOn March 21, 2022, Russian Ambassador to the UN Gennady Gatilov slipped his tongue, admitting that the operations had taken “much longer than expected”.

Video: now on Actu

So how does a “small” country like Ukraine manage to contain big Russia? response elements.

Advantage of defense over offense

On the one hand, Ukraine and its 209,000 defending soldiers. On the other hand, Russia, her weapons, her aura and her 200,000 offensive troops.

If we can believe in disproportionate balance of powerone should not underestimate the fact that “war in its defensive form is inherently stronger than offensive war,” as war theorist Carl von Clausewitz said.

Quoted by Eduard Jolly, researcher on the theory of armed conflicts at the Institute for Strategic Studies at the Military School (Irsem), contacted news.fr, Clausewitz identifies three principles that allow us to assert this.

First, the defender chooses the location of the fight and has a positioning advantage. He knows the area and knows how to use it to his advantage.by setting up ambushes, using natural obstacles such as forests, or, more sensibly, by reducing movements so as not to waste energy.

In Irpen, on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv, the Ukrainians, to give just this example, destroyed the only bridge connecting the two cities. Purpose: to slow down enemy troops.

“They can also sabotage Russian logistics lines, and thanks to the help of the West, they are mastering the sky quite well,” insists the researcher from Irsem.

In addition, they miraculously use their local advantage by performing swarm attacks. “A very fast, very targeted and large group offensive.” They allow the Ukrainians to temporarily be stronger than the Russians and attack them with all their might.

As quickly as they arrived, they left, most of the time with very few casualties. On the contrary, we cannot say the same about the enemy camp.

Edward JollyResearch Fellow in the Theory of Armed Conflicts at the Institute for Strategic Studies of the Military School (Irsem).

Then, in addition to the “earthly advantage”, as Edouard Jolly calls it, the Ukrainians have another serious advantage. They are protected, which means no need to attack. “The temporality of strategic defense comes down to patiently responding to the speed of the attacker,” the researcher notes.

And, finally, Ukrainians defend their land. These are their ancestors. “Once the fragile people were evacuated, their country became a battlefield. source of motivation huge for these soldiers.”

Demotivated Russian soldiers?

At the same time, the Russians are “demotivated”, according to Edouard Jolly. “They were counting on a very quick war. much longer than expected“.

Moreover, according to several consonant sources, six of their generals are dead, “and some soldiers absolutely do not agree with the subject of this conflict,” the researcher clarifies.

Several special representatives even claim that one of the commanders was killed by own troopsprotesting against too much loss.

And this added to the human losses suffered by the Russians. They officially stated that they had lost 1351 soldiers, in addition, 3825 people were wounded. The figure is significantly lower than the real one, according to the researcher: “out of the 200,000 people that Russia sent, and depending on the various offensives launched, I count more on 20% lossincluding the wounded and missing.

A figure more or less confirmed by NATO.

Russia would lose 40,000 people ? A huge figure that would be more than the losses caused by the 10-year war in Afghanistan. It’s impossible to be sure, as their communication is opaque and their propaganda is strong.

On the Ukrainian side, Kyiv reports the death of 1,300 servicemen. Again, it’s hard to verify the figure.

“Today we are still working on the figures for the Second World War, so it is impossible to dwell on the Ukrainian conflict now,” adds Edouard Jolly.

On the other hand, “there is high corruption in the Russian army. The regiments manage a huge amount of resources that are resold on the black market. Putin greatly underestimated this problem, and today it is returning to him.”

“War is expensive”

Then the soldiers have far fewer resources than necessary. And then there’s the fact that war can quickly become very expensive.

Irresistible logistics are required, and Russian logistics are crammed with many elements.

Edward JollyResearch Fellow in the Theory of Armed Conflicts at the Institute for Strategic Studies of the Military School (Irsem).

Ukraine estimates losses at more than 500 billion euros. As for Russia, we are, rather, approximately “approximately 10 billion dollars a day“, according to the researcher. We remind you that on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, we reached 34as well as day.

Will Russia lose this war?

So, Ukraine is ultimately stronger than its opponent? Nothing less confident. “It is impossible to predict, so many elements can come to shake up these events,” Edouard Jolly embarrasses, while reminding that Russia still has a lot of assets, especially in terms of weapons.

However, the Russian government has said it is focusing on “liberating the Donbass”, a minimum goal. And this Tuesday, March 29, after the liberation of Irpen, the Russians declared that “dramatically [leur] fighting” around Kyiv in particular.

Admission of failure or military strategy?

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