A Ukrainian general said that the country’s army isn’t strong enough to fight a Russian invasion.
Gen. Kyrylo O. Budanov told the New York Times that Ukraine needs more resources to stand a chance.
Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops at various locations along the Ukrainian border.
A top Ukrainian general is warning that the country’s armed forces are not strong enough to fight back against a potential Russian invasion, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
With just under 100,000 Russian troops massed at various points along the Ukrainian border and more troops moving into these areas, Ukraine’s military leadership is saying that they would need more resources to defend the country from a Russia invasion, the report said.
“Unfortunately, Ukraine needs to be objective at this stage,” Gen. Kyrylo O. Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service, told the Times. “There are not sufficient military resources for repelling a full-scale attack by Russia if it begins without the support of” additional forces, including Western forces.
“They will hold up as long as there are bullets,” he said. “They’ll be able to use what they have in their hands, but believe me without delivery of reserves, there’s not an army in the world that can hold out.”
Budanov told the Times that Ukrainian forces could be quickly overwhelmed by Russian airstrikes and rockets targeting vulnerable, strategic positions, which could incapacitate key elements of the Ukrainian military. As the Russian military’s vastly superior combined arms capabilities give it the ability to hammer and overrun Ukrainian defenses, one expert told Insider that it’s hard to see how Ukraine could repel a full-scale attack.
As Russia gathers troops and equipment in locations not far from the Ukrainian border, the US, as well as some of its allies and partners, have been increasingly raising concerns about the possibility of a Russian invasion.
Biden administration officials revealed late last week that US intelligence indicates Russia could invade early next year with a force as large as 175,000 troops, according to multiple reports.
One official said that “the Russian plans call for a military offensive against Ukraine as soon as early 2022 with a scale of forces twice what we saw this past spring during Russia’s rapid military buildup near Ukraine’s borders.”
“The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery, and equipment,” the official said, further explaining that the US estimates “half of these units are already near Ukraine’s border.”
While the US is concerned, President Joe Biden said Wednesday that unilaterally putting troops on the ground in Ukraine to deter a Russian invasion is “not in the cards right now.”
His administration has, however, threatened Russia with “severe consequences,” namely economic and financial punishments, suggested a possible need to reinforce NATO allies along the eastern flank, and offered to provide additional defensive capabilities to Ukraine.
It is unclear whether that additional support would be sufficient to bolster Ukraine’s combat capability to the point that it could withstand a full-scale invasion by the Russian military. Experts have previously told Insider that it is unlikely Ukraine could win the day.
“The Russians have quantitative and qualitative superiority over the Ukrainian military,” Jeffrey Edmonds, a former CIA military analyst and Russia expert at CNA, recently told Insider.
“I just don’t see the Ukrainians winning this if we’re talking about like a full-on, you know, coming across the border, not sneaking units across the border or using artillery or indigenous forces and things like that,” he said. “We’re talking about combined arms armies rolling across the border in Ukraine with artillery support, full air support, long-range missiles, all the gloves off.”
“I think there would be some costs,” Edmonds said. “I don’t think the Russians think it would be easy, but if you’re a betting man, you would probably put your money on the Russians.”
Robert Lee, a US Marine Corps veteran and Russian military expert, told the Times that “if Russia really wants to unleash its conventional capabilities, they could inflict massive damage in a very short period of time,” further explaining that “they can devastate the Ukrainian military in the east really quickly.” He said it could be over in “the first 30-40 minutes.”
One senior Ukrainian general commanding forces fighting separatists said in a recent interview that if the West did not come to its aid, it would turn to the Ukrainian people, many of which have military experience, and “start a partisan war.” Another senior Ukrainian official told the Times that they could open the weapons depots to the people to defend themselves if all else failed.
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