EDF commander: Russia has failed to break the Ukrainian people

Martin Herem.
Martin Herem. Source: ERR

Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Lt. Gen. Martin Herem said on the ETV "Ukraina stuudio" program that Ukraine will need more arms and ammunition from the West to retake the southern parts of the country. He said that the Russians have not succeeded in breaking the people of Ukraine and that he does not see it happening any time soon.

Herem said that when he visited Ukraine, what unfolded in front of his eyes was a surreal picture that demonstrates the strength of the Ukrainian state and population.

"Roughly two kilometers from where the artillery duel rages, a person in Kharkiv is selling strawberries, an old couple is waiting for the green light to cross the street, someone is trimming the grass, while a yellow tractor digs trenches on the edge of town. Shards of glass and debris from a building hit the day before have already been cleared, with a few people looking for their belongings in the area. A diverse picture to suggest it has not proved possible to break the Ukrainians, nor do I see it happening any time soon," Herem said.

Herem said that Russia is firing at civilian objects both to sow fear and out of incompetence.

"They also miss sometimes. The altitude of guided missiles is calculated primarily based on the terrain, while ignoring infrastructure. That causes some buildings to get in the way. The building they hit was not the target. The target was on the other side of it," Herem offered.

The EDF commander said that Zaporizhzhia and Vinnytsia were likely bombed to lower moral.

Herem also said that Russia has started using ship and anti-aircraft missiles in attacks.

He said that Ukrainian soldiers are performing heroic deeds on a daily basis, adding that people fail to grasp the sheer magnitude of the battles there.

"We cannot see it from here, but heroic acts are being committed. No one is really talking about how an offensive by 40 Russian tanks was repulsed near Bahmut on Wednesday."

The front line holding Herem regarded as the most noteworthy. "I cannot see any rapid developments in either direction," he said.

"It will undoubtedly be very difficult for Ukraine to reclaim the southern territories. They need help in the form of arms and munitions from the West. The Ukrainians' plan is to keep eliminating the enemy in hopes that they will eventually turn back," Herem suggested.

Herem said that Russia is relying on a mass of troops, with little heed paid even to the deaths and shortage of officers.

"Russia is simply plowing ahead irrespective of losses, trying to compensate with artillery fire. They occasionally manage to force the Ukrainians to retreat, while the price they pay is terribly high."

Talking about Ukraine's precision strikes on Russian ammunition depots, Herem said Western weapons systems have made it possible. "All of them, the 155 millimeter howitzers and, of course, U.S. HIMARS are highly accurate. This causes Russia the problem of having to move its ammunition stores even further back," Herem said.

Ammunition being far away from the front line means that Russia is finding itself in the same situation that Ukraine has been in. "They will have to do something about Ukrainian artillery. But overpowering the Ukrainian side's artillery is no easy task."

USA said this week that Russia has asked Iran for battle drones. Herem believes these would not change the course of the war.

"Simply put, we are talking about things similar to Bayraktar [drones] that while very effective on camera and indeed in causing the Russian side losses have nevertheless not proved decisive in terms of the war. I do not believe they could seriously affect the course of the war," Herem offered.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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