The winning strategy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: does it exist?

The Republican congressmen and senators, whose pragmatism is a trademark, have made their support for Ukraine contingent on the White House (read: the Office of the President of Ukraine) fulfilling certain conditions. The main ones are:

    1. A clear statement of what constitutes a victory for Ukraine in real terms.

    2. Providing a specific plan for achieving this victory.

    3. Developing a list of weapons, resources and finances needed to implement this plan.

    4. Determining the timing of the plan and strictly monitoring its implementation.

In essence, this is the concept of "sunrise by hand". Or a manipulative attempt to squeeze the war into the parameters of a regular business plan, such as opening a fast food chain. But we are talking about a war that is irrational in nature and dynamic in development, which does not fit into a static ratio of resources and capabilities.

What is characteristic is that no such seemingly necessary conditions are set for supporting Israel. Although the stated "complete and final defeat of Hamas" is a more illusory and existential goal than Ukraine's victory.

At the same time, a well-known New York Times article postulates that President Zelenskyy's Presidential Office (in fact, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Office) is depressed, desperate, and disorganized, i.e., incapable of producing even tactical plans. 

Each of the above facts - the list of conditions from the Republicans and the analysis of our crisis by the Democratic mouthpiece - is quite alarming in itself. But if you put them side by side, the picture becomes even more sadly "stereoscopic."

Nevertheless, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, V. Zaluzhnyi, in an interview with the Economist, attempts to speak honestly about the existing problems from his own point of view. Yes, there is an acknowledgment of mistakes, but that is not the main point. The main thing is the factors of quantity and, even more importantly, time that Zaluzhnyi cites.

Let's see, last summer we were provided with two dozen HIMARS. And the enemy immediately felt it. But if there were a hundred of them, they would most likely have been able to turn the tide at the front and prevent the loss of Lysychansk, Bakhmut, and so on. And now we have a lot of these MLRS, but the enemy has managed to adapt - they have pulled back logistics, used electronic warfare to prevent targeting, and the impact of the HIMARS has noticeably decreased.

Attacks by Storm Shadow cruise missiles and ballistic ATACMS on enemy airfields at the beginning of our offensive would have neutralized the aggressor's aviation, primarily helicopters, and this would have minimized our losses of armored vehicles, especially in the south, the direction of the main attack. And it would have ensured a breakthrough of the front, without which the offensive is stalled. Now these missiles are also working, but not as effectively as they could have been at one time.

It is the same with NATO aircraft. Fifty F-16s would have been a tipping point yesterday, but tomorrow they may be almost invisible.

I could go on, but the point is clear: providing Ukraine with modern weapons in "homeopathic doses" at the wrong time has the opposite effect - it makes the enemy adapt. Just as microscopic doses of poison lead to the body's habituation. And the only question is whether this happens because it is impossible otherwise, or whether it is a deliberate balancing act to prevent either side from defeating or winning.

Instead of the General Staff, I can easily formulate what weapons are needed for victory: all NATO cruise and ballistic missiles in the amount of thousands of units. NATO airplanes and helicopters in the amount of hundreds of units. All models of NATO attack drones in the amount of tens of thousands of units. And all this without any reservations about strikes on the aggressor's military targets, whether on the occupied or on its territory.

It is also necessary to activate all the capabilities of Western intelligence services to rigidly, not softly, condescendingly undermine the dictatorial regime in Russia.

It is clear that Ukraine will not make such proposals, and the White House will not offer them to the Congress and the Senate. Taken together, this is the same as asking for NATO's full participation in the war against Russia. For example, the much-needed Tomahawk cruise missiles can only be provided with their carriers - ships and submarines. And the required number of airplanes can only be flown by former pilots who are citizens of NATO countries. And it is clear that the enemy's attempt to turn a conventional war into a nuclear war is inevitable, because it will immediately begin to lose and try to raise the stakes once again.

No one will take such risks for humanity because of Ukraine. And everything else does not guarantee a victorious outcome.

So it turns out that the seemingly understandable demand from the US Republicans to provide a specific plan for victory and a list of necessary weapons is actually a pretext for refusing support. More precisely, to gradually reduce it and transfer it to a purely humanitarian plane. By the way, not only military aid to Israel today, but also Lend-Lease from the United States to the USSR during World War II somehow took place without business plans and conditions... Because there was a real desire to defeat a common enemy as soon as possible.

It is impossible to invent and then implement a winning strategy for this war step by step. It can only be a synthesis of plans, decisions, and efforts that is constantly changing, evolving along with the changing conditions in the war and in the world around us. Or it could be "Capture Ukraine in two weeks," as the Kremlin has been clumsily strategizing.

Although some kind of presentation plan for the United States will certainly be drawn up (but it is unlikely that we will be shown it). They will continue to provide weapons under it, but with a downward trend. And there will be more and more pressure for peace talks with the aggressor on the condition of a veiled loss of the occupied territories. "Real politics" and all that...

So, is it a complete dead end and hopelessness? No, because we are Ukraine, we are used to surviving in inhuman conditions. But the part of society that disagrees with the hidden surrender will have to force the government, whether this one or the new one, to wage a real war for survival. With all its difficult manifestations. When we deserve it, we will have a "black swan" - an event that will turn everything in our favor.

Sitting on the couch and "believing in the Armed Forces" will not be enough. Even liking patriotic posts will not be enough. Even praying for Putin's real death will not be enough to win.

"Blood, toil, tears, and sweat" is not just a catchy phrase from Churchill. This is the only formula for victory. Now let's remember when we have seen our leader, even if not in tears, but at least sweating? Not from the gym, but from hard work for Ukraine?

Oleksandr Kochetkov

Ukraine Front Lines


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