The lengthy and strongly dug-in defensive Russian lines in occupied southern Ukraine mean present no quick and easy solution in terms of breakthrough, while Ukrainian forces are currently having to engage in cruel and dirty work in order to make any incursion, Brigadier General Vahur Karus, commander of the Estonian Defense Academy (Kaitseväe Akadeemia), says.
Appearing on ETV show "Ukraina stuudio" Monday, Brig. Gen. Karus said that despite the lack of progress towards any form of counter-offensive from Ukraine, however, this need not mean the front will have to remain static.
Ukrainian troops are having to address a relatively wide front line in the South of their country and have accordingly concentrated the bulk of their forces there, as the southern part of Ukraine is vital for them in every Karus said: The Black Sea ports and the trade which flows through them are located there, and what happens with Crimea, Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia in 2014, can be influenced here too.
For the same reason, Russian troops are remaining active in the north, for example by continually attacking the small city of Bakhmut, the goal being to tie up as many Ukrainian military units as possible, to divert them from the southern front.
Conflicting reports from the Zaporizhzhia oblast state that Ukrainian troops have passed through some advance positions one the Russian defensive lines, but the future is likely to be increasingly difficult, the brigadier general noted.
So much so, that he cited the example of deadlock warfare on the Western Front during World War One, not the first time the comparison has been made in recent weeks.
Karus said: "The Ukrainians have to find a way to break through. One thing that cane help: Western arms – tanks are good, infantry fighting vehicles are too, air defensive and indirect fire are key. This amounts to a major combination that could help to get make a breakthrough."
"The Russians have indirect fire and air defense capabilities and we are seeing from public sources that Russia has deployed a large proportion of its air defense units in the South, which means that the Ukrainians cannot simply start unraveling the defense from that point – this is that cruel, dirty work that the Ukrainians are currently doing in order to create opportunities for themselves," he went on.
Karus also referred to Russian defense doctrine whereby the dogma is that even if an enemy breaks makes a breakthrough, defending units do not retreat, but must maintain their positions, while the second or third echelon, behind that defensive frontline, are tasked with grinding down that breakthrough.
"There, obviously, the Russians will have a higher degree of defense than there has been at the advance posts of the defense lines," he added.
As for successful Ukrainian drone strikes on Moscow and the Black Sea, Karus said that "Western countries have also provided plenty of drone support, while the Ukrainians also use a lot of commercially-made drones.
"With the latest attacks, it may be the case that the drones are not flying over from Ukraine. Naturally, Ukrainian special forces and disruptive forces are able to operate in Russia, at least to a certain extent," Karus said.
Furthermore, Moscow ought to have world-class air defenses, suggesting that the attacks are not coming from outside, but from the inside, Karus added.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming
Source: "Ukraina stuudio", interviewer Reimo Sildvee