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Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief says Ukraine needs unique invention to avoid protracted war

Thursday, 2 November 2023, 09:43
Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief says Ukraine needs unique invention to avoid protracted war
VALERII ZALUZHNYI. PHOTO: GLOBAL IMAGES UKRAINE VIA GETTY IMAGES

Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, believes that without a combination of new technologies to defeat the Russian army, Ukraine faces a protracted trench war that could exhaust the Ukrainian state.

Source: Valerii Zaluzhnyi in an interview with The Economist

Quote: "The simple fact is that we see everything the enemy is doing and they see everything we are doing. In order for us to break this deadlock we need something new, like the gunpowder which the Chinese invented and which we are still using to kill each other."

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Details: Zaluzhnyi stated that this time, however, the decisive factor would not be a single new invention but a combination of all the technical solutions that already exist.

He is calling for innovations in drones, electronic warfare, anti-artillery and mine-clearance equipment, including new robotic developments.

"We need to ride the power embedded in new technologies," he says.

In Zaluzhnyi’s opinion, the delay in the delivery of Western weapons, while disappointing, is not the main reason for Ukraine's predicament.

Quote: "It is important to understand that this war cannot be won with the weapons of the past generation and outdated methods. They will inevitably lead to delay and, as a consequence, defeat."

Details: Zaluzhnyi explained that technology would play a crucial role.

He is delighted with his recent conversations with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and stressed the crucial role of UAVs and electronic warfare systems that can interfere with drones’ flight.

The Economist writes that Zaluzhnyi's assessment is sobering, as there is no sign that a revolutionary technological breakthrough, whether in the field of drones or electronic warfare, is around the corner. 

And technology has its limits.

Even in World War I, the appearance of tanks in 1917 was not enough to break the stalemate on the battlefield. It took a whole new set of technologies and more than a decade of tactical innovation to produce the German blitzkrieg in May 1940. 

This means that Ukraine is stuck in a protracted war in which, as Zaluzhnyi said, Russia has the upper hand. 

However, he insists that Ukraine has no choice but to hold the initiative by continuing to advance, even if it advances only a few metres a day.

Zaluzhnyi is desperate to prevent the war from settling in the trenches.

Quote: "The biggest risk of an attritional trench war is that it can drag on for years and wear down the Ukrainian state."

Details: In World War I, rebellions intervened before technology could make a difference. The Economist notes that four empires collapsed then, and a revolution erupted in Russia.

The collapse of Ukrainian morale and Western support is what Putin is counting on. 

Zaluzhnyi has no doubt that a protracted war is beneficial for Russia, a country with three times the population and ten times the economy of Ukraine.

"Let’s be honest, it’s a feudal state where the cheapest resource is human life. And for us…the most expensive thing we have is our people," he says.

Zaluzhnyi states that he has enough soldiers for now. But the longer the war lasts, the harder it will be to keep them.

"We need to look for this solution, we need to find this gunpowder, quickly master it and use it for a speedy victory. Because sooner or later we are going to find that we simply don’t have enough people to fight," he concludes.

Background: Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, in his column for The Economist, said that the war with Russia is moving to a new stage, the trench warfare, with static and exhausting battles. To win it, Ukraine needs high technologies.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi named five priorities that Ukraine needs to survive in the war with Russia: air superiority, electronic warfare, counter-battery fire, mine clearance technologies and building up mobilisation reserves.

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