There Is No ‘Magic Bullet’ That Can Turn the Tide for Ukraine, by Daniel Davis

Even a couple of million magic bullets won’t turn the tide. From Daniel Davis at


U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 65th Field Artillery Brigade, and soldiers from the Kuwait Land Forces fire their High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (U.S.) and BM-30 Smerch rocket systems (Kuwait) during a joint live-fire exercise, Jan. 8, 2019, near Camp Buehring, Kuwait. The U.S. and Kuwaiti forces train together frequently to maintain a high level of combat readiness and to maintain effective communication between the two forces. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Lefty Larimer)

Last Sunday when the remaining Ukrainian soldier withdrew from Lysychansk, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said evacuating his troops from the city “where the enemy has the greatest advantage in fire power,” was the right call, but “means only one thing… That we will return thanks to our tactics, thanks to the increase in the supply of modern weapons.” While many in the West would like that to be true, the reality is very different: there is no basis upon which to hope for a future offensive to drive Russian troops out of conquered territories.

The most likely result for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) if they continue fighting the Russians is that more of Zelensky’s troops will be killed, more Ukrainian cities will be turned to rubble, and more territory Kyiv will lose to the invaders. A sober analysis of the capacity of the of the two armed forces, an assessment of the military fundamentals that have historically proven decisive on the battlefield, and an examination of the sustainability potential for both sides, make it plain that Russia will almost certainly win a tactical victory.

Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Oleksiy Arestovych said that, to the contrary, the withdrawals in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk weren’t defeats at all, but instead “successful” in that he claimed they allowed Ukraine to “buy time for the supply of Western weapons and the improvement of the second line of defense, to create conditions for our offensive actions in other areas of the front.” This is a common belief in the West but one not borne out by the facts.

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