Military expert explains failure of Russian offensive and why aggressor is losing war of attrition

13 April, 04:25 PM
A Ukrainian serviceman near a self-propelled howitzer 2C3 Akatsia near Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, April 12, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko)

A Ukrainian serviceman near a self-propelled howitzer 2C3 Akatsia near Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, April 12, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko)

Azerbaijani military analyst Agil Rustamzade during a Radio NV broadcast on April 12 revealed why the expected major Russian offensive this winter fizzled out, and why the aggressor is losing the war of attrition.

The expert argued that a large-scale offensive was out of the question because Russia is currently unable to conduct major offensive operations.

He pointed out that Russia has a reserve of 40,000 soldiers for an operational offensive, but has been unable to even use them.

"There may be various reasons for this," he said.

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“I believe that the failure near Vuhledar and the failure near Avdiyivka is due to the Russian army’s ‘shell hunger.’ They changed their plans and did not use their second-stage reserve.”

Rustamzade added that in a war of attrition, "a priori there are no such tasks as advancing deep into the enemy's territory."

"What they have captured suits them, and their goal is to exhaust the Ukrainian army and Ukrainian society, regardless of whether they are on the offensive or defensive," he said.

He believes that Russia will lose the war of attrition.

"In a war of attrition, when there are no particular offensive actions, the quality of the artillery duel, the quality of the firepower matters," Rustamzade explained.

“And I believe that Ukraine understands this, we see effective counter-battery combat by the Ukrainian army. The destruction of the enemy and its human resources will definitely affect the course of this conflict. The quantity of firepower will be important for the Russian side, as opposed to the quality for the Ukrainian side.”

Rustamzade noted that Ukraine's Western allies are increasing the supply of artillery weapons to Ukraine, while Russia's supply is significantly limited.

"According to various estimates, the Russian military industry can produce from 1,500 to 4,000 shells daily," he said.

“They are limited by the capabilities of their chemical industry, the ability to create the necessary composite metals. Weapons production is a complex process, and if you lose at least one link, it automatically negates all efforts. In Russia, there is a huge shortage of specialized machines that produce gun barrels. Where can you find this additional machine? This is a big problem under sanctions. The Russians are not able to increase production as much as Ukraine's Western partners.”

Rustamzade explains that the Russians are even pulling out the "guns of the Second World War," at the same time, emphasizing that there are few artillery shells left for such systems.

"In a war of attrition, the Russian army will eventually lose because it cannot increase its firepower on the enemy, unlike Ukraine,” he concluded.

Russian, Ukrainian, and Western sources stated that the Russian winter offensive failed to achieve its goal of capturing all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts by March 31, said the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War in its report for April 1.

The Kremlin may resort to reshuffling the high military command following the failure of the winter offensive, UK intelligence has speculated.

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