Ukraine military better than before, but still outrun by aggressive Russian troops
Since last month, Russia has been assimilating its troops in a rather escalating fashion along Ukraine border, enough to raise red flags in the west.
The flourishes from Russian side, including new field hospitals, armor and artillery shipments, weren’t considered a normal and routine exercise. It might be taken as a muscle flexing gesture by Kremlin, but Moscow has made one thing clear, if a war situation arises, Russia is prepared to cast a blow on its estranged neighbour.
Michael Kofman, a senior researcher at CAN said, “My take is that all the signaling from Russia’s side is that the next war with Ukraine will be a much larger one … and that it will result in a much larger defeat in terms of Ukrainian force. That’s at least what they’re posturing.”
Ever since the 2014 war, Ukraine and Russia have been preparing for next conflict or war, whenever that would be. Ukraine’s military has evolved a lot since then, but the level of modernization achieved by Russian defense forces is beyond comparison. “I would say that we have done the absolute best, or at least very well, that we could based on the funding and constraints we had,” said Mykola Bielieskov, a Kyiv-based military analyst.
In the 2014 war, Ukrainian forces were barely in a situation to stand against Russia. Majority of troops were untrained and mismanaged, unable to handle equipment including aircrafts. Bielieskov said, “The army was in tatters – in freefall, I would say. A couple more years of this and the army would have been nonexistent.” Learning from it, Ukraine has spent over $4.7bn in defense and has built 38 line and artillery brigades. Training and combat experience too have improved across armed forces and corps. Russia in comparison, still holds larger and advanced militaries in comparison to Ukraine.
The aggression along Ukrainian borders by the Russian troops has gathered attention of the West. US and NATO have reaffirmed their support to Ukraine and have called out Moscow to de-escalate the situation. US President Joe Biden has proposed a summit with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation.
On Thursday the foreign ministers of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are visiting the conflict zone. If a war situation arises, Moscow would probably seek a ‘short and sharp conflict’.