Expert: Ukraine holds initiative, while advantage needs to be seized

Rainer Saks.
Rainer Saks. Source: ERR

Ukraine holds the strategic initiative in its war with Russia as it can use accurate artillery strikes to keep Russian forces on their toes. Now, the question is how will Ukraine manage to capitalize on its advantage, security expert Rainer Saks told the "Terevisioon" morning show.

"Victory cannot be temporally defined right now, while Ukraine holds the strategic initiative," Saks suggested. "Ukraine has had enough precision artillery munitions to keep the pressure on Russian troops. From here, the question is how will they be able to realize their advantage.

Saks remarked that Russia seems to have stopped using expired munitions as their low quality makes them dangerous, such as Tochka-U rockets that the Russians were trying to throw at Kharkiv before.

"The intensity of Russian artillery fire has been cut in half since this summer," the expert said, adding that it is difficult to say whether this is due to dwindling munitions stocks or Ukraine's success in disrupting Russian logistics.

Russia no longer has the military advantage it enjoyed during the first months of the war when they managed to force Ukrainian forces to fall back using massive artillery barrages.

Fierce fighting near Bakhmut

Fighting has been fierce near the city of Bakhmut since the war started.

Russian troops have managed marginal gains in a narrow sector there but are still well short of their goal.

Ukraine has suffered losses in the area, while Russia's have been massive, Saks remarked. "Casualties are highest among those recruited from prison and recently mobilized, with no fighting skills and poor weapons and equipment. Russia is not using much in the way of armored vehicles – whether because of the weather or because they've run out, hence their massive casualties."

On the one hand, Russia is trying to switch to a war of attrition – if it cannot conquer the territory of Ukraine, the hope is that the West will tire of supporting it, Saks offered.

Ukraine in turn is waging a war of attrition to inflict massive casualties on the other side. "And because the Russians are senselessly attacking, their casualties are indeed mounting," he added.

Ukrainian artillery has managed to do so much damage that Russia is allegedly mulling another round of mobilization, the expert suggested.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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