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4 Apr, 2024 08:41

Kiev’s backers fear frontline breach – media

Some senior Ukrainian officers reportedly share the concern and say Russia should not be underestimated
Kiev’s backers fear frontline breach – media

There are growing concerns both in Ukraine and among its Western backers that an expected Russian offensive this summer could break through the country’s defenses, reports in Western media have claimed.

Kiev has been complaining for months that a shortage of weapons from the West has put it at a massive disadvantage on the battlefield against Moscow. President Vladimir Zelensky told the Washington Post last week that his forces may have to retreat further to reduce the length of the front line and the amount of munitions and men needed to hold it.

“If [the line] breaks, the Russians could go to the big cities,” he warned.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that the ratio of artillery shells fired by Russia compared to Ukraine has increased from 3:1 to 7:1 since the beginning of the year. Sources told the outlet that concerned foreign donors intend to improve the ratio to 7:3, as Western-donated weapon systems are supposedly superior to Russia’s.

Ukrainian military officials, who spoke to Politico on condition of anonymity have warned that the front line may collapse. Russia’s advantage in weapons and manpower means that it will likely be able to “penetrate the front line and to crash it in some parts,” one of the officers said on Wednesday.

“There’s nothing that can help Ukraine now because there are no serious technologies able to compensate Ukraine for the large mass of troops Russia is likely to hurl at us,” a top military leader said.

The warning came from officers who served under Valery Zaluzhny, who was the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces until Zelensky replaced him in early February. Prior to that, the pair had clashed publicly over whether the hostilities with Russia had reached a stalemate, which was the general’s assessment.

The officers cautioned against underestimating Russia’s ability to adapt and counter new military capabilities provided by the West to Ukraine. They “are always studying. They don’t give us a second chance. And they’re successful in this,” one of them said. Even now, Russian forces are laying the groundwork for engaging F-16 fighter jets, which Kiev is expected to eventually deploy, the report said.

Domestically, the Ukrainian government has been downplaying the risks that a Russian offensive would pose. Its information warfare service, the Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD), stated on Tuesday that Moscow “does not have resources” for a major push forward.