A retired U.S. military colonel who helped train and reform Ukraine’s military following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 told Reuters on Saturday (March 26) that Ukraine’s military has gone from a ‘decrepit’ state, to becoming effective at fending off Russian advances in major Ukrainian cities.
Retired U.S. Army colonel Liam Collins has seen first-hand the Ukrainian military transform from what he calls a ‘decrepit’ force into an effective operation capable of fending off Russian advances.
“Ukraine’s military in 2014 was decrepit, it really didn’t have a lot of training capability, they weren’t effective at the tactical level.
So, it wasn’t a surprise to see how poorly they performed at that time given their level of training.”
In 2014, Russian forces were able to seize parts of Ukraine with relative ease.
Collins, a career special-forces soldier, served as the executive officer for the Defense Department’s special adviser to Ukraine working to reform that nation’s military establishment in 2016, at the end of the Obama administration.
One success, Collins said, was changing the Ukrainian command structure, giving junior leaders the ability to make battlefield decisions, rather than a top-down command approach.
“It allows them to take initiative on the battlefield, right? You might be given some orders, ‘Go take this hill,’ for example, and if you can’t adjust on that, you’re just going to keep running up the hill into the hornet’s nest.
You have to empower leaders to make those kind of quick decisions, but it also requires a trained professional military to do that.'”
Collins said the Russian military appears to have taken a less flexible approach at the tactical level.
“If you have a conscript army, which a lot of the Russians are, you’re not going to be capable of executing that same kind of discipline initiative at the tactical level.”
Not to be overlooked, Collins said – Ukrainians’ fierce hold on their independence.”They don’t want to be part of Russia. They like their civil liberties. They like a higher standard of living.
And so that’s why they’re going to fight so hard.”
Via our partners at Reuters
Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests break out in Russia
Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests over Putin’s mobilisation plan break out in Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Zelensky says his nation just wants peace and believes Russia should be punished and ostracised for its actions.
“A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people,” Zelensky said. “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory”.
In the powerful speech, the Ukrainian President also called for Russia to lose its U.N. veto power. Russia is currently one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.
He is also seeking more military aid, pleading for more weapons to help liberate his country’s land.
Protests engulf major Russia cities
In Russia, police have arrested hundreds of protestors who are rallying against Vladimir Putin’s military mobilisation.
Human rights group OVD Info estimates more than 1,000 people have been taken into custody so far. The largest number of arrests were made in St Petersburg and Moscow.
As the Kremlin announced its intention to call up thousands of extra troops to fight the warn in Ukraine, flights departing Russia sold out almost immediately.
The mobilisation will likely see at least 300,000 military reservists drafted to bolster Russia’s forces.
In Moscow, the prosecutor’s office is warning that calls on the internet to join protests, or participation in these protests, could result in up to 15 years in jail time.
Russia’s disinformation laws about the war have made public demonstrations rare.
In his first national televised address since the war began, Putin said he will use “all available means” to protect Russian territory.
In theory, this could include nuclear weapons.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance remains vigilant.
“We will make sure that there is no misunderstanding in Moscow about exactly how we will react. Of course it depends upon what kind of situation or what kind or weapons they may use. The most important thing is to prevent that from happening and that is why we have been so clear in our communications with Russia about the unprecedented consequences,” Stoltenberg said.
Meanwhile, Putin’s mobilisation follows weeks of heavy losses for Russia in Ukraine, with Kyiv recapturing a huge area just east of Kharkiv.
U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future
U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future, but there is a catch
The U.S. will provide tanks to Ukraine in the future, but issues with maintenance and training may delay the rollout.
Ukraine has received billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment, allowing the war-torn nation to defend itself against Putin’s regime.
Russian forces are continuing to “conduct airstrikes that are impacting civilian infrastructure”, most recently striking a “dam near Kryvyi Rih”, according to a top U.S. official.
“This disturbing pattern which includes strikes that hit power stations last week continues to show Russian forces’ disregard for civilian life,” the official added.
When it comes to further military aid, the offical confirmed tanks are “absolutely on the table”, but are not an option for the immediate battle.
Once training, maintenance and sustainment issues are addressed, the roll out is more likely.
This follows verified reports Ukraine has successfully shot down 55 Russian
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed there would be no let-up in fighting to regain
territory lost to Russia.
Mass burial site discovered in Ukraine
A mass grave with over 400 bodies has been found in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region
The price of war is beginning to reveal itself in Ukraine as a mass grave, with over 400 bodies has been discovered in the recently liberated Kharkiv region.
The burial site was found in the city of Izyum, an area captured by Russian forces at the beginning of the war, and a victim to ultimate brutality.
Over recent days, Ukrainian forces have recaptured the area. So far, they have discovered over 1000 bodies in the city, with this number rising every day.
The mass grave site shows the extent of Russia’s atrocities, although Russia denies responsibility.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is launching an investigation and says “Russia leaves death everywhere and it must be held accountable for that.”
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