Russian military woes continue in Ukraine’s east: Experts

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“RECIPE FOR DISASTER”

Like its Soviet predecessor, the Russian army’s strategy is based on mathematical calculations that leave little room for initiative and having to deal with unexpected situations, the source said.

On Feb 24, Russia launched its offensive on three fronts simultaneously: in the north towards Kyiv, in the east and in the south.

Since the end of March, Russia has concentrated 80 per cent of its available troops in the east, compared to 20 per cent previously.

And Moscow has managed to reposition a great number of tanks and adapt to some of its pro-Western neighbour’s tactics.

Yet, many of the Russian army’s problems of the kind seen in the first month of the war in northern Ukraine and around Kyiv remain unsolved.

“Each unit is waging its own war both tactically and strategically” instead of coordinating, said Alexander Grinberg, from the Jerusalem Institute for Security and Strategy (JISS) think-tank.

“Even if Putin declares a general call-up – theoretically they can recruit more people -, it is hard to figure out how they will overcome the most basic organisational problems,” said Grinberg.

The Chief of General Staff himself, Valery Gerasimov, has been on the frontline – a sign of his difficulty to delegate power.

“The system is so centralised that Putin himself almost takes manual control of things that should be carried out by the military professionals,” Ivan Klyszcz, a researcher from the University of Tartu in Estonia, told AFP.

“This is a recipe for disaster.”

The stalemate on the eastern front means a sudden Russian victory now seems permanently off the cards, according to experts.

For Putin, any kind of result will therefore be some kind of defeat, Klyszcz said.

“Russia has taken on a challenge that it dramatically underestimated. It launched a war it could not win,” he said.