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The Possible Last Chance For Ukraine – OpEd

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By Kung Chan

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It has been reported that Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said its armed forces have inflicted some 800 casualties on Russian forces since the military operations began on Thursday. The ministry also stated that more than 30 Russian tanks had been destroyed by the Ukrainian forces, along with 7 Russian aircraft and 6 helicopters. Yet, currently no one can independently verify this, and the war is clearly still ongoing. Judging from the progress of the battle, the battlespace, and various other information, the current losses for Russia in Ukraine have greatly exceeded those of the Russo-Georgian War. At that time, the casualties of the Russian army were 76, and the whole process only took 5 days.

Another reference case is the Chechen Wars. The number of Russian casualties in the First Chechen War was 3,826, with 17,892 wounded, and 1,906 missing. Judging from these figures, the casualty tolerance of the Russian army is roughly in the range of 20,000 to 30,000 people. Although the Russian army finally occupied Chechnya, it actually allowed the latter to become unofficially independent, which has been the case so far.

From a comprehensive analytical perspective, if Ukraine can persist in fighting and cause the total number of Russian casualties to exceed 30,000, then the pressure on Vladimir Putin will increase tremendously, and his attitude will have a greater chance to change. Likewise, this will also change how the rest of the world react on Ukraine. In order to achieve such a goal, as a weaker party, Ukraine must adjust its strategy quickly and flexibly, from a typical urban defense operation, which consumes a lot of resources to arrange defense lines in fighting a tough battle against the Russian army, to a selective urban ambush battle. Under such a strategy, Ukraine would utilize the main focal points of the cities (or villages) as baits to lure the Russian army to attack, then inflict causalities on as many Russian troops as possible. Such combat experience is actually from Chechnya. It is effective, simple and easy to achieve, under the condition that the battle is joined by able veterans and courageous volunteers.

As for whether Ukraine can finally realize such a strategic attempt to cause losses of a large number of Russian troops, thereby gradually turning the tide of the war, this will be mainly depending on the actions of the so-called “Supreme Command” in Ukraine. It is definitely impossible without an effective organization, and I do not have sufficient confidence in that comedian-turned-president to achieve this. In any case, this may be Ukraine’s very last chance.

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