Ukraine cannot defeat Russia alone on the battlefield
Ukrainian soldiers near the front line in Lugansk province in November 2023. Photo: Reuters

Ukraine’s intelligence general said that the country’s army has faced the most difficult period since the beginning of the war and cannot defeat Russia alone on the battlefield.

Major General Vadym Skibitsky, deputy director of the General Directorate of Military Intelligence of Ukraine (GUR), predicted on May 2 that Russian forces will promote their plan to completely control Lugansk and Donetsk provinces, the goal they set from the beginning. when the war broke out in February 2022.

“The Russian army was ordered to take over somewhere before Victory Day on May 9. The speed and success of the attacks will determine the time and place where Russian forces attack next,” Mr. Skibitsky speak. “We have no weapons, they always know April and May are difficult times for Ukraine.”

Mr. Skibitsky admitted that he did not see any way that “Ukraine could defeat Russia alone on the battlefield”. Even if Ukraine achieves its goal of pushing Russian forces back to its border, the fighting will not end.

“Such a conflict can only end with treaties,” Mr. Skibitsky said. “The parties are trying to gain the most favorable position ahead of potential negotiations, which can only begin in the second half of 2025 as Russia faces serious headwinds.”

According to the deputy leader of GUR, the capacity of the Russian defense industry will peak in 2026 and will not increase due to lack of materials and engineers. Both warring sides may run out of weapons, but Ukraine is at risk of running out of weapons first with the current situation.

Ukraine’s immediate concern is Chasov Yar, a city in Donetsk province that is located higher than the surrounding area and holds the key to the next advance of Russian forces in the region.

General Skibitsky admitted that the collapse of the stronghold of Chasov Yar, like Avdeevka, was “only a matter of time” and that it would happen sooner or later depending on the supplies and reserves of Ukrainian forces here.

Russian forces in recent weeks have succeeded in a deep attack on the village of Ocheretino , located west of Avdeevka, due to mistakes in Ukraine’s troop rotation in the area.

Russian units broke through the first layer of the enemy line and penetrated an area of ​​about 25 square kilometers, causing Ukraine to urgently send forces to patch the hole near Ocheretino.

General Skibitsky commented that the Russian army is no longer as bulky as it was in early 2022, but has become an organization operating “unified, with a clear plan and under consistent command”.

He predicted that Russia was preparing to attack the Kharkiv and Sumy provinces in northeastern Ukraine. The time this happens depends on the strength of Ukraine’s defense line in the Donbass region. “The main Russian offensive will begin in late May or early June,” the Ukrainian general said.

Skibitsky said Russia is deploying a total of 514,000 infantry to fight in Ukraine, higher than the number of 470,000 given by General Christopher Cavoli, commander of the US Command in Europe and leader of the Supreme Allied Command in Europe. of NATO, launched last month.

About 35,000 Russian troops are stationed along the border with Ukraine’s Kharkiv province, which could increase to 50,000-70,000 people. Russia is establishing a reserve of 15,000-20,000 troops stationed in the central region of the country, which can supplement the main force participating in the war.

“We will continue to fight because there is no other choice,” General Skibitsky said. “We want to live, but the outcome of the war cannot be decided by ourselves.”