Ukraine Tactics Against Russia ‘in Disarray’: Ex-NATO Soldiers

Three former NATO soldiers have expressed criticism regarding the strategies employed by Ukraine to fight off invading Russian forces.

In a lengthy report dubbed the “White Papers,” two former high-ranking members of the US Special Forces and an ex-major with the Canadian Armed Forces revealed some of the problems that the Ukrainian military is facing on the battlefield.

They said Kyiv’s military command structure is currently “in disarray,” affecting the country’s ability to carry out counter-offensives effectively.

“For this (Ukrainian Army) to work, the whole chain of command has to be reading from the same playbook, and that doesn’t happen,” one of the authors claimed.

The report noted Ukraine’s “crumbling” military communications system, which could result in considerable military and civilian casualties.

‘Lack of Combined Arms Operations’

The three ex-NATO servicemen alleged that Ukraine experiences problems in carrying out combined arms operations due to the lack of coordination between its armed units.

The problem reportedly results in failed operations and greater losses of life and equipment.

Based on an assessment by the US Defence Intelligence Agency, Kyiv has suffered 131,000 casualties since the invasion began in February last year.

In addition, the White Papers noted that Ukrainian tanks are sometimes only being used as mobile artillery and not in combined operations with infantry.

Ukrainian soldiers ride armored vehicles to Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, Donetsk region, on February 1, 2015
Ukrainian soldiers ride armored vehicles to Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, Donetsk region, on February 1, 2015. Photo: Oleksander Stashevsky/AFP

Clashing Military Philosophies

The war-torn nation is dealing with a significant problem involving command philosophies, according to the report, even in training Ukrainian soldiers.

Kyiv’s current military command philosophy is based on the Soviet model, a “commander-centric” system with no delegation of authority in training, planning, and operations.

Such a system reportedly causes slow decision-making on the frontline.

Retired NATO commander Maj. Gen. David Fraser backed the assessment, saying there is a clash of civilizations within the Ukrainian defense forces.

“You’ve got the Soviet-era Ukrainian leadership now confronting the western trained rank and file,” he said. “We’ve now got two (military) philosophies now clashing at the same time they’re fighting a war.”

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