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Ammunition is being consumed as fast as during Second World War

Thursday, 15 December 2022, 17:01
Ammunition is being consumed as fast as during Second World War

In the ongoing war with Russia, ammunition is being consumed at a rate comparable to that during the Second World War, and the speed of ammunition replenishment is crucial.

Source: Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in an interview with The Economist

Details: Syrskyi said that now ammunition is being consumed at a rate that is comparable to that during the second world war. Battles are being won by whichever side gets shells delivered to guns quickly enough, he added.


The Commander of the Ground Forces also noted that, judging by the Luhansk experience, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s conscription drive can work.

Reasonably well-prepared soldiers are now appearing en masse all along the eastern frontlines, some arriving from "the depths of Russia, including… from the eastern districts and the Urals". That is a concern, the commander said, but an even more pressing worry is keeping up Ukraine’s arms supplies. 

"The Russians aren’t idiots. They aren’t weak. Anyone who underestimates them is headed for defeat." the commander believes.

The commander explained that the Russians are changing tactics under their new commander, Sergei Surovikin. As Syrskyi said, they are attacking using smaller, well co-ordinated detachments on foot, and it is costly in terms of soldiers’ lives, but that has "never been Russia’s highest priority". 

Answering the question of what victory should look like for Ukraine, Syrskyi noted: "We’ve won when the enemy is destroyed and we are standing on our borders," but he isn’t convinced that will happen any time soon. For the immediate future Ukraine will offer what he describes as "active defence". 

However, as The Economist noted, the commander’s record suggested that he may have something more ambitious up his sleeve.

"All I will say is we are studying the enemy closely. And every poison has an antidote." Syrskyi said.

The Economist pointed out that Syrskyi was born in Russia, and he graduated from the Higher Military Command School in Moscow, But his own command style departs starkly from Soviet and Russian hierarchical practice. He preaches NATO principles of decentralised command, and stresses the importance of morale. 

According to Syrskyi, the modern commander needs to stay connected. He gets 300 messages a day from soldiers. "You must feel the spirit of the army," he said.

The Economist wrote that Syrskyi’s command style emphasises the elements of deception and surprise, using them to compensate for Ukraine’s obvious disadvantage in firepower.

Background: Valery Zaluzhnyi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, told The Economist in an interview that the Russians are preparing about 200,000 new soldiers. The head of the Armed Forces has no doubts that they will go to Kyiv again. Zaluzhnyi also noted that Ukraine is running out of ammunition for its existing defence systems.

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