Military expert on Donbas situation: "Escalation is likely in August"
What will happen in the Donbas
Ukraine does not have enough weapons, the Russian military in the Donbas now has dozens of times more artillery and ammunition than the Ukrainians. This was stated by the British The Independent. The newspaper cites a certain intelligence report, but does not say by whom and for whom this report was compiled.
The online Current Time publication discussed situation at the front with Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov.
—Do you agree with the assessments that Ukraine has problems with weapons in the Donbas?
—“We have problems with weapons not only in the Donbas, we have problems with weapons in general in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, especially with ammunition. There are no special problems with the main types of weapons. In ammunition, we are inferior in quantity, but we win in quality.
- How Azovstal defenders and other war prisoners will be judged on both sides of Russian-Ukrainian war
- My father burned alive after tank fire” – Mariupol resident recalls life under Russian occupation
— Do you agree with the numerical estimates that Russia now surpasses Ukraine in the Donbas by 20 times in terms of the number of guns, and 40 times in terms of the amount of ammunition?
— Yes, I can agree. But I don’t think by 20 times, maybe less. Because such an amount of artillery would simply be unrealistic to deploy. As for ammunition, I agree, because they use the stocks of the Soviet Union. By the way, very often there are cases of non-explosive shells due to their improper and lengthy storage in warehouses.
But the question, again, is quality. Today, in the same direction of Severodonetsk, Russian artillery can open fire only at the limit of its range, because they are afraid to come closer – they immediately come under the counter-battery fire of our artillery.
—My first thought when I read this article by The Independent was that the West is not keeping up with the supply of weapons. How correct is my guess here?
—Your guess is almost correct. The United States was very late with the adoption of the lend-lease law. We hoped that the law would be adopted much faster, and then we would already be talking about massive arms deliveries from the United States. Now they are delayed by almost a month. God willing, they will arrive by July.
As for the grant assistance that we receive from our partner countries, yes, it is good, we need it. But you can see what volumes the partner countries provide in terms of armaments. This is not enough, it is very little today, given the scale of the hostilities that are taking place in Ukraine.
—Now in Ukraine they are waiting for lend-lease deliveries. The European Parliament recommended that weapons be provided to Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian authorities in the quantity that is needed. When can we expect Ukraine to have enough weapons?
—If we are guided by the timing of the start of shipment of the first batch of lend-lease, which, judging by the American press, began on the day when Joe Biden signed the law on financing the lend-lease, then somewhere in late June – early July. That is, Lend-Lease will finally work.
—What is your forecast of the situation at the front in this regard?
—The situation at the front will now likely, will gradually turn into a positional war, because the Russian Federation, even with the gigantic superiority in the number of barrels and ammunition that it has, has actually exhausted its offensive potential. And Russia also needs a pause.
Therefore, I think that there will be a certain period of positional warfare. And somewhere in the second half of the summer, probably in August, Russia will try to form some kind of reserves and will resume the offensive, and we will try to form a counter-offensive grouping with the lend-lease supplies and try to launch a counter-offensive. So the second half of summer promises to be ‘hotter’.
—Why are the Ukrainian military so desperately trying to keep Severodonetsk now?
—This is more of a political issue than a military one. We do not give Russia the opportunity to declare even a small victory in the Luhansk region.
—How long can this go on?
—Judging by the situation in Severodonetsk itself, we can keep it up for a long time.