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Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief reveals his strategy to defeat Russia

General Valerii Zaluzhnyi told the Economist that Ukraine needs high-technology weaponry to overcome Russia’s advantage in the skies, on the ground, and in electronic warfare.
Valeriy Zaluzhnyi
Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief reveals his strategy to defeat Russia

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has entered a new “positional” stage, where technology is the key to success, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, wrote for the Economist.

According to Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Russia’s war against Ukraine is turning into a “positional’ struggle” with static and exhausting battles. To win this war, Ukraine needs high-technology weaponry, Valerii Zaluzhnyi said.

Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief outlined the top five priorities of Ukraine’s Armed Forces for the next stage of the war. According to Valerii Zaluzhnyi, to win the war of attrition, Ukraine must

  • build up reserves
  • achieve air superiority
  • improve counterbattery artillery fire
  • modernize electronic warfare systems
  • use more advanced technologies to deal with huge minefields.

Ukraine needs mine explosive technology to advance and liberate occupied territories, Valerii Zaluzhnyi said. Western supplies have been insufficient, given the scale of Russian minefields, stretching for 20 kilometers in some areas, according to General Zaluzhnyi. When Ukrainian troops neutralize enemy minefields, Russia quickly rebuilds them by launching new mines from a distance. Ukraine needs radar sensors that detect mines in the ground and smoke screen systems to conceal the activities of Ukrainian deminers, Valerii Zaluzhnyi said.

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General Zaluzhnyi stressed that airspace control is essential for large-scale ground operations. Ukraine needs manned aircraft and drones to win the battle for the skies. Valerii Zaluzhnyi noted that Russia currently maintains a significant advantage over Ukraine in the skies, and this makes it difficult for Ukrainian troops to advance.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces also need advanced electronic warfare systems, which is the key to winning the drone war. According to General Zaluzhnyi, over the past decade, Russia has modernized its electronic warfare forces, creating a new type of troops and developing 60 new types of highly effective electronic warfare equipment. Russia is much stronger than Ukraine in this regard, Valerii Zaluzhnyi admitted. While Ukraine has developed many domestic electronic warfare systems, it also needs greater access to electronic intelligence from its allies, General Zaluzhnyi noted.

“New innovative approaches can turn this ‘positional’ war into a ‘maneuver’ war again. We also need to focus on modern command and control, so we can visualize the battlefield more effectively than Russia and make decisions faster, and on rationalizing our logistics while disrupting Russian logistics with long-range missiles,” Valerii Zaluzhny said.

Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief warned that positional war is beneficial to Russia, as it allows it to restore its forces and replenish losses. In such a situation, the Armed Forces of Ukraine need critical military capabilities and technologies to repel Russian invasion.

General Zaluzhnyi admitted that Russia has significantly improved its counterbattery mainly due to using Lancet kamikaze drones, which work with reconnaissance drones.

According to Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine has achieved parity with Russia thanks to more accurate firepower, but this cannot last. Ukraine needs better artillery reconnaissance equipment that can determine the location of Russian guns, General Zaluzhnyi said.

“Russia should not be underestimated. It has suffered heavy losses and expended a lot of ammunition. But it will have superiority in weapons, equipment, missiles, and ammunition for a considerable time. Its defense industry is increasing its output despite unprecedented sanctions. Our NATO partners are dramatically increasing their production capacity, too. But it takes at least a year to do this and, in some cases, such as aircraft and command-and-control systems, two years,” Valerii Zaluzhnyi said.

According to Valerii Zaluzhnyi, a positional war carries enormous risks for the Armed Forces and Ukraine as a state. If Ukraine wants to break out of this trap, it needs to have air superiority, greatly improved electronic warfare and counterbattery capabilities, new minefield technologies, and the ability to mobilize and train more reserves outside Ukraine (to avoid deadly Russian air strikes), General Zaluzhnyi concluded.

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