A flood of anti-tank missiles sent to Ukraine has changed the course of the war to put pressure on Russia to find enough troops for the now-likely tiring urban battle.
For some military analysts, the number of missiles against the latest generation of tanks sent to Ukraine in recent weeks is staggering, and in a major modern war it provides an arsenal of these unprecedented weapons to Ukrainian soldiers.
The UK alone says it has sent 3,615 short-range anti-tank weapons (NLAW) missiles with short-range missiles with missiles; Germany said it was sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons from its inventory; Norway 2,000; Sweden 5,000 and the US a number of unpublished Javelin missile systems. Others have also sent weapons. Many are not the latest technology, but the threat they pose is significant.
The javelins are among the $ 3.5 billion that the U.S. administration has just secured from Congress to replenish stocks as they are shipped to Ukraine. According to the Pentagon’s annual budget request, it bought 10 javelin-throwing units in 2021 and 763 missiles worth $ 190.3 million.
“The armies that send these things would certainly be less than what each soldier was ordered to do in Ukraine,” said Phillips O’Brien, of St. Petersburg, Scotland. Professor of Strategic Studies at Andrews University. “Basically, it seems that people are almost stripping naked to convey these things to the Ukrainians.”
The invasion of Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be planned, largely due to resistance in Ukraine and miscalculations by Russia. Last-generation anti-tank weapons pouring into Ukraine are also a factor.
Even the most modern Russian tanks have been vulnerable to “San Javelin”, as a Ukrainian meme has named US-made weapons, according to Pavel Felgenhauer, a Pavest Felgenhauer expert on the Russian Army in Moscow at the Jamestown Foundation. . Russia does not make weapons against third-generation tanks, he added.
Javelin and NLAW have hit a tank from above, where their weakest armor is. They are called to the fire and forget about the missiles so that they can keep the attackers away as soon as a shot is fired. This reduces the risk of a counterattack by exposing their position.
Oryx, a project that independently records verified losses during the conflict, has so far counted the six most advanced T-90 tanks in Russia among the 76 destroyed by the Ukrainian military. In total, Russia has lost 214 tanks to attack, capture or abandon, and a total of 1,292 vehicles, according to Oryx’s count.
Ukraine claims greater losses of Russian tanks, and the Russian Ministry of Defense does not publish figures. Ukraine has lost 65 tanks, 22 of which were destroyed, for a total of 343 vehicles, according to Oryx.
In addition to foreign supplies, the Ukrainian army already had anti-tank weapons that had been produced in the Soviet era and, more recently, domestically. Although less sophisticated than Javelin and NLAWs, these remain effective against most other armored vehicles.
All of this is evident in several Ukrainian videos posted on social media, including an attempt to take a tanker and other armored vehicles to the Brovary district of Kyiv last week. Ukrainian troops destroyed several of them before the column retreated.
Russian commanders will learn from such experiences as the Israeli defense forces in Yom Kippur in 1973 had to adapt to Israeli defense forces, according to Felgenhauer. In the face of the state-of-the-art artillery-fired missile missile tanks in Egypt, the Israelis then moved their infantry behind them in front of their tanks to clear an area of potential threat.
“In stormy cities, the main thing is not to hit the bombs, you also need the infantry to move while the defenders are still in shock. If you don’t, you’re not getting anywhere,” Felgenhauer said. “Will the Russian infantry be good enough for the same? I don’t know.”
Urban warfare is labor intensive. Over the past week, Russia has rolled out deployments elsewhere and assembled mercenaries from the Middle East to create new reserves for its “special military operation”.
An assessment of the conflict by the Washington-based Institute for War Analysis said Monday that Russian-recruited mercenaries and Russian reinforcements will begin arriving near the capital this week. On Tuesday, Kiev city authorities set a two-day night limit for anyone who was found without special passes outside their homes to be considered a member of Russian subversive units.
“It is clear that there is no serious movement in the major cities, and the Russian high command may be concerned about the reluctant troops to push the Ukrainians into the elaborate preparations for the urban war,” said King Lawrence Freedman, Professor Emeritus. The Department of War Studies at London said in a recent blog post. If so, that could make a negotiated deal possible, according to Freedman.
However, if there is no ceasefire, Ukraine’s success in preventing Russian tanks from drilling into urban areas could also lead to a longer and wilder conflict.
All Russian generals in Ukraine were serving in Syria, where Russian forces have been fighting since 2015 and found similar problems, according to Felgenhauer. After Russian planes hit cities such as Aleppo and Homs from above, the Syrian regime’s army would not monitor it, leading to a tough two-year siege campaign.
The solution was at times consumerist and vicious. First, Russia had to prepare special Syrian units that were ready and able to fight in the urban environment. They then used thermobaric “vacuum bombs” that had already been seen in various parts of Ukraine.
The fuel-emitting fuel blasted into tunnels and bunkers drilled by Syrian opposition fighters to protect them from air and artillery attacks, according to Felgenhauer. When this fog exploded, creating a fireball, it would consume the available oxygen and kill those trapped in the bunkers.
“In the West it is believed that you cannot take a city if it is well defended. But that is not the case. How and if you have the right weapon, and basically the Russians both,” he said. He added that the port city of Mariupol, which has been under heavy siege for two weeks, could be tested early. A success would free Russian forces to move to Kyiv and the key port city south of Odessa.
The big question, he added, is whether Russian leaders will be willing to use Syrian tactics in Kyiv, turning the war into a decisive war before their spring lands turn to mud and before the Ukrainian army has time to arm and integrate numerous reserves. to help repel the invasion.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a press release)