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24 Apr, 2023 19:30

Ukrainian commander laments state of army – El Pais

Kiev needs up to six times more troops and firepower than Russia for its counteroffensive to succeed, General Sergey Melnik says
Ukrainian commander laments state of army – El Pais

Kiev needs more troops, ammunition and equipment to continue its military conflict with Moscow, Ukrainian Brigadier General Sergey Melnik told Spain’s El Pais in an interview published on Monday. Ukraine has already lost most of its professional soldiers as the conflict drags on, he admitted.

“The problem is that we have a lack of people and equipment,” said the general, who commands troops near the Russian border in Kharkov Region. “Professional soldiers… are already exhausted, injured or recovering. Or… dead,” he added.

Melnik said Kiev is now relying on “people without military experience,” who first need to be trained and have an “adequate [level of] preparation to face the enemy.” According to El Pais, the general also “stressed several times during the interview” that Ukraine needs more air-defense systems, citing the threat posed by Russian aircraft.

He also admitted that Kiev’s forces would need to gain massive superiority in manpower and firepower if they are to have any hope of succeeding with a planned counteroffensive. Ukraine will need “four to six times” as many troops as Moscow has fielded in its ongoing military campaign if it is to break through the defenses built by the Russian forces in their current positions, he told El Pais.

He claimed that Ukraine has “enough weapons” to launch the expected offensive but said the more weapons Kiev’s troops get from the West, the better.

Earlier in April, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal told The Hill that the much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive may not get underway until summer. He also called on Kiev’s Western backers to provide it with more weapons, including fighter jets. He also said Ukraine needed “more artillery, ammunition” and missiles.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported that the US and other Western nations are struggling to meet Ukraine’s demands and are “falling short” of supplying Kiev with enough military equipment and ammunition.

A retired US Army colonel and former Pentagon adviser, Douglas Macgregor, also said this month that Russia was “winning” the fight in Ukraine as Kiev does not have enough resources for a successful offensive.

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