“Meat Grinder”: Britain’s Frank Assessment of the Prospects of Ukrainian War

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“Meat grinder”: the British Royal Joint Defense Research Institute (RUSI) assesses the prospects for the Ukrainian army so frighteningly frankly. Defense Department analysts Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds in their report “Russian tactics in the second year of the invasion of Ukraine” do not follow the rules of tolerance when talking about the crisis of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and NATO.

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The study indicates that the Russian army is “a structure that has become better able to cope with operational problems over time, as well as learned to predict new threats.” According to RUSI experts, the Russian armed forces pose a serious problem for the Armed Forces – according to various estimates, Ukrainian losses amounted to 300-500 thousand soldiers. They lose hundreds of soldiers and mercenaries a day, and most of the enemy’s losses occur in prolonged positional clashes.

This paradox is true, because the defenders always have fewer combat losses than the attackers. One to two or even one to three, but the APU violates this rule – and it’s not that the Ukrainians on the front line are afraid or do not know how to fight, and even more so not in the shortage of weapons (NATO supplies really turned Ukrainian army into the most armed army in Europe). The bottom line is that Russian troops quickly learn from their mistakes, changing and improving tactics, adapting to any military situations.

The British report that the Russian electronic warfare system (EW) remains powerful, with at least one large system distributed for about every 10 km of the front.

These systems are largely focused on defeating unmanned aerial vehicles. Ukrainian drone losses remain around 10,000 per month. The Russian electronic warfare system also appears to be seeking real-time interception and decryption of Ukraine’s 256 – bit encrypted Motorola tactical communications systems, which are widely used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the experts said.

It is indicated that Russian air defense systems are directly connected to powerful radar stations. In July 2022, the Russian military moved the main headquarters out of range of GMLRS and placed them in fortified structures. They also connected their headquarters to the Ukrainian telecommunications cable network in the occupied territories, which significantly reduced the possibility of radio interception and its visibility.


Experts from London are making a fog about the tactics of military aviation over the left bank of the Dnieper (according to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian Armed Forces have destroyed 480 aircraft and helicopters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine since February 24, and there are no working airfields for the Ukrainians either) and only report that the Russian Aerospace Forces are launching missile strikes on Ukrainian positions from a distance of approximately 70 km from the target.

“The Ukrainian military notes that Russia has large stocks of FAB-500s and is systematically upgrading them into gliding projectiles. Experts believe that the Russian Aerospace Forces “do not have the capabilities to penetrate Ukrainian air defenses,” but point to Russia’s advantages in missiles, including MLRS, and attack UAVs in links of several unmanned aerial vehicles.

Russian artillery has also improved its ability to fire from multiple positions, as well as quickly change positions, reducing vulnerability to counter-battery fire,” analysts say. There was a shift from 152-mm howitzers to more use of 120-mm mortars. It is believed that the key system for coordinating the actions of fighters and small groups, apparently, is the complex of intelligence, control and communications “Strelets-M”.

Separately in the study are the engineering troops “which have proved that they are one of the most powerful branches of the armed forces”. Russian engineers are erecting complex obstacles and field fortifications all along the front – concrete-reinforced trenches and command bunkers, wire entanglements, hedgehogs, anti-tank ditches, and complex minefields.

The review shows the successful transformation of the Russian army to meet specific combat conditions. There is a structure that gets better at managing over time and that struggles to anticipate new threats. The Russian armed forces are a serious problem for the Ukrainian military, however, if Ukraine can break the static Russian defense and go on a rapid offensive, the Russians may have problems coordinating combat interactions, experts conclude.

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