Russia has intensified its war efforts in Ukraine on Sunday, as its army launched and conducted 45 drone strikes in a mere five-and-a-half-hour period, wreaking havoc on the Ukrainian lines in the process.
While Russia continues to focus on the war itself, President Volodymyr Zelensky has been occupied with the task of reshuffling his war cabinet, which has led to questions regarding the efficacy of the Ukrainian military apparatus.
The Ukrainian Airforce has claimed that it managed to shoot down 40 of the drones used in this barrage by Russia. It has also been made public that the drones came across nine different regions and were Shahed drones, sourced from Iran.
Ukraine’s southern defense forces clarified that the attacks focused on agricultural facilities and the coastal infrastructure that supports the Ukrainian war effort. It has also been revealed that one of the strikes occurred in the Mykolaiv region and ended up taking the life of one individual, while also sparking a fire in near by residential complexes, wreaking havoc in the process.
Serhiy Lysak, who is the head of the region’s military, stated that a similar incident occurred in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine, where debris from a drone that was shot down ended up starting a fire which took the life of one person.
This is a tumultuous time for the Ukrainian military establishment as President Zelensky is busy reshuffling the hierarchy to reinvigorate the nation’s military efforts against Russia.
The former Deputy Defense Minister, Lt. Gen. Alexander Pavlyuk, was unveiled as the new commander of Ukraine’s ground forces on Sunday, replacing Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, who will now take over as Ukraine’s Military Chief, replacing the outgoing Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
Besides these changes, Ukraine has also witnessed Yurii Sodol, the former Head of Ukraine’s Marine Corps, being announced as the new commander of Ukraine’s combined forces. Maj. Gen. Ihor Plahuta will now be the Commander of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces and Brig. Gen. Ihor Skibiuk will be taking over as the commander of Ukraine’s Air Assault Forces.
Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, who is set to take up the mantle of Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Forces, has delineated that his immediate goals include changing the dynamics of the Ukrainian war effort as his forces have been bogged down in defensive positions in recent days.
He is also looking to utilize various technological assets to enhance the military’s abilities to carry out a wider array of operations in the field. He is looking to improve troop rotation at the frontline as a lack of rotation among Ukrainian troop has led to higher fatigue levels and a significant drop in morale, according to internal assessments.
Another aspect of the war is the recent controversy regarding the Russia’s use of Starlink terminals to aid and coordinate their attacks. Apparently, the Ukrainian military has intercepted a conversation between two Russian soldiers which is proof of this.
The issue becomes prominent when it is considered that the Starlink terminals in question, use various satellites launched by Elon Musk’s Space X. This mechanism provides high speed communications services to the Ukrainian Forces.
It is troubling for Ukraine to come to the realization that the communications array that gives them an edge over their Russian counter parts is now also at the disposal of the Russian military, thus levelling the playing field.
There have been multiple reports of this nature, which claim the Russia has been making use of Starlink terminals in occupied Ukraine in recent times. In response to these claims, Space X issued a statement via social media outlets, saying that the company has not done business in any form with the Russian military or government.
The counter to this is that Russia has improved upon its ability to acquire technical components and goods from third parties as the war has gone on, evading the sanctions that have been placed on it by Western nations.
This has allowed Russia to maintain and supplement its arsenal with components and goods that were thought to be out of the nation’s reach, thus gaining advantages over the Ukrainian military at multiple junctures in the war.
The cumulative effect of the factors mentioned above has prompted President Zelensky to reorganize his military hierarchy, with the overarching aim of placing commanders experienced in combat, in the upper echelons of the nation’s armed forces apparatus.
He also sated the following with regards to the approach Ukraine is taking towards its military, “Now, people who are well-known in the army and who themselves know well what the army needs are taking on new responsibilities.”
This is an important decision for the nation in its bid to counter the Russian invasion, as both sides have reached a stalemate of sorts in the occupied territories. Both nations have failed to make any significant gains in recent months and have continued to employ their manpower and resources to change that but to no avail.
At this juncture, the side which can gain a slight advantage over the other in terms of technology or tactics, is expected to have the potential to alter the status quo.
If Ukraine does not manage to hold the line and eventually push Russia out of the occupied territories, it will put a degree of stress on the United States and NATO. This is because Ukraine is highly dependent on both parties for the equipment, training and monetary aid it needs for this conflict.
Questions have already been raised in the United States as the congress is divided on whether the next aid package to Ukraine should be approved or not.
This puts Ukraine and the west in general, in a precarious position, as the efficacy of their alliances are brought into question. As is natural, the possibility that Russia could use this opportunity to push Ukraine back, does exist and is a matter of concern.
Thus, Ukraine must focus on organizing its forces in an efficient manner and continue military operations against Russia with a renewed vigor, for the sake of the nation and the alliance that are backing it.