Russia on the Back Foot: Western Allies Allow Ukraine to Attack

Recent Russian territorial gains in Ukraine could be reversed following a dramatic policy change from the US and Germany. The announcement could see a substantial tactical shift from both sides in the coming months.

War Nearly a Decade Old

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There has been a version of this warm running since 2014 when Russian-backed militias took control of Crimea in southern Ukraine. In 2022, the Russians moved in entirely, and the countries have been at war since. 

Western Support Slow to Arrive

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Only following the invasion did the West get behind Ukraine with more enthusiasm. Since then, billions have been spent arming and training the Ukrainian military. 

West Terrified of Escalation

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Despite helping the Ukrainian military with weapons and intelligence, the NATO countries applied clear conditions – the guns could only be used in self-defence and on Ukrainian soil. They didn’t want escalation. 

Ukraine Performing Well

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Despite the sporadic weapons deliveries and strict criteria for their use, the Ukrainian military is performing incredibly well. Although outgunned and outmanned, they are arguably still winning.

Russia Doesn’t Control Much Territory

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Despite having the second largest military in the world, the Russians only control 18% of Ukrainian territory despite being at war in some capacity since 2014.

Cost to the Russian Military Is Huge

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Thanks to superior Western weaponry and better battlefield tactics, the Ukrainian military has destroyed tens of thousands of pieces of Russian equipment and has killed or injured over 500,000 Russian military personnel. 

Weapons Inventories Completely Different

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Whilst the Russians have decades of Soviet-era equipment to fall back on and a full-time war economy pumping out military equipment, the Ukrainians have had to go cap in hand to other countries. 

Deliveries Have Been Sporadic

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When relying on equipment deliveries, you’re at the mercy of different governments. An impasse in the USA meant they supplied no military aid for Ukraine for months.

Shortfalls Plugged by Other Militaries

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The European countries have ensured equipment has reached the frontlines for Ukraine. Still, they don’t have the reserves that the US military has, so momentum was allowed to shift towards Russia.

Russia Took Advantage

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Whilst there was a several-month delay in American equipment reaching the front lines, the Russians took advantage of the depleted firepower from Ukraine. They launched assaults and took territory. 

Momentum About to Change

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Given the recent Russian advances, the Western allies have relaxed the rules on where Ukraine can strike using NATO-supplied equipment. 

UK and France Led the Charge

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The UK and France were the first to allow the Ukrainian military to use their weapons to attack targets on Russian soil. They saw this as a legitimate act of self-defence, given Russia was allowed to group forces to attack Ukraine, but Ukraine were unable to strike. 

USA and Germany Followed Suit

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Following the UK and France’s lead, the others relaxed the rules and have also granted permission for Ukraine to strike in Russia proper, but only at designated military targets. 

Why Now?

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On one hand, it’s likely to be so that Ukraine can regain momentum in this war. It could also be that Western intelligence deems that the Russian military capability has been depleted sufficiently that they don’t need to worry about retaliation. 

Tide Likely to Turn Further This Summer

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In addition to the relaxation of rules from the West, Ukraine will also be supplied with dozens of F-16 fighter jets, with the first few arriving in the coming weeks. 

Ukraine Will Have Air Attack Capability

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This is a huge momentum shift for the war because it’s the first time that Ukraine will have a legitimate air attack capability. They’ll have modern fighter jets and Western-trained pilots, which will allow them to attack further into Russia and provide air protection for many of their units. 

Russia Depleting as Ukraine Getting Stronger

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Adding the F-16s, renewed aid packages from Western partners and improved weather conditions will strengthen Ukraine significantly. On the Russian side, they’ll be attacked more frequently and with better weapons. 

Russia Can’t Go on Forever

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The Russian war machine can’t keep up with the rate of losses they’re currently experiencing and are likely to keep experiencing. They can repair and replace equipment, but not fast enough to keep up.

Experienced Soldier Numbers Falling

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With Russia losing around 1,000 military personnel per day through death and injury, they’re having to call up inexperienced conscripts to the battlefield. They don’t have the expertise and training of the regular army, hence the large casualty numbers. 

2024, a Big Year for the War

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Now Ukraine is going to be supported in the air, the Western arms production capacity is bolstered, and the Russians are weakening. As long as we maintain support, we can expect to see a much different picture in the war by the end of the year.

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The post Russia on the Back Foot: More Western Allies Allow Ukraine to Attack first appeared on Edge Media.

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