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How Ukraine Can Win a Long War

FOREIGN AFFAIRS August 20, 2023

How Ukraine Can Win a Long War

The West Needs a Strategy for After the Counteroffensive

By Mick Ryan

A remarkable article, well written, very detailed, rather optimistic in assessing Ukraine’s chances to win the war.

The next way to help the Ukrainians continue their evolution in quality and endurance is making sure they know the West is prepared to support them in their fight to defeat Russia and to offer this support in 2024 and beyond.

Defeat Russia! Support them in their fight! Continue their evolution in quality and endurance…

Endurance is the crux of the matter. The article fails to spotlight the crucial shortage of Ukraine: men. Trainloads of western hardware and brilliant software based advice cannot replace manpower, soldiers.

According to U.S. estimates, as of August 2023, Ukraine has already lost an entire generation of young men, 70,000 dead and between 100,000 and 120,000 wounded, the Guardian and the New York Times reported.

According to the 2023 International Institute of Strategic Studies’ Military Balance report, Ukraine now has an active-duty force of 688,000 with 400,000 in reserve and 250,000 in its police and paramilitary forces.

Close to 200.000 casualties compare with some 290,000 soldiers in active duty.

As of 2023, according to different data published by Statista in February. Russia had an estimated 1,330,900 people listed among its total military personnel, compared with 500,000 for Ukraine. Russia had 830,900 active soldiers, with Ukraine at 200,000, according to this data.Both countries had reserve forces of 250,000 people.

If these estimates are credible they mean that as many Ukrainians have been killed or wounded as remained active in fighting..

Replacing the casualties has become more and more difficult in a war of attrition which benefits Russia with its millions of potential recruits, its powerful and fully functioning armaments industry and the deep pockets of its natural resources-rich government..

In Ukraine, forcing all men, even old, wounded and handicapped ones, to serve in the armed forces is a nasty but understandable requirement of this fight for survival of the nation.

Michael Kofman, director of the Russian Studies Program at the CNA research organization, said … that talking to soldiers at different levels gave him the impression that "many of the best people have been lost." "You often lose your best people in war first," Kofman said. "Many of the folks who are trained by NATO between 2014 and 2022 have been lost too. A lot of junior leaders have either been lost or have been rotated up and promoted. So there's a lot of churn.

Is there any way by which Ukraine could solve its military personnel shortage? Well, there are two possible ways

== hiring and enlisting foreigners

--- training and enlisting women.

Experiences Ukraine had with foreign volunteers are not encouraging. Communication problems, lack of battlefield experience, low tolerance of rough conditions are among the problems encountered. In any case, the numbers of foreign volunteers are way too low to offer Ukraine more than symbolic support.

Enlisting women for battlefield service means a psychological problem for patriarchal societies such as Ukraine.


 Presentation of body armor specially designed for women – a long overdue initiative. With 5000 women serving in combat roles, this is essential for better protection. Even Princess Olga Monument is wearing one too

However, it is not unusual: Israel and the Kurdish part of Syria and Iraq are well known for their brave and tough women soldiers. Still, many women of suitable age have fled Ukraine with their children; others have been internally displaced. It would be difficult to contact them and motivate them for military service.

Their work not only serves the children; in the absence of men they bear the brunt of the Ukrainian economy.

Heinrich von Loesch
For the record, Ukraine’s armed forces comprise around 42,000 women, with 5,000 bravely serving on the frontlines. Their body armor is versatile, with detachable parts for diverse tasks.

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