To fix its problems in Ukraine, Russia turns back to the architect of the war

To fix its problems in Ukraine, Russia turns back to the architect of the war

The New York Times reports:

Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, the architect of President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, took over the day-to-day running of Russia’s war effort this month by convincing his boss that his predecessor was too passive, American and European officials say.

But General Gerasimov’s turbocharged strategy is what led to Russia’s problems to begin with, and Moscow still does not have the troops, ammunition or equipment that military officials say it needs to mass the big offensive promised by the country’s senior military leader.

Since General Gerasimov replaced Gen. Sergei Surovikin, who was in the job for only three months, Russia’s military leadership has focused on tactical issues like whether troops should travel in civilian vehicles and the dangers of their cellphone use, Western officials say. But while those matters have certainly bedeviled service members, there is no evidence that the Russian military has begun to address its fundamental problems, like shortages of ammunition and well-trained troops, despite the musical chairs of generals, according to these officials.

In Washington, where military and defense officials walk the halls of the Pentagon with lists of the steadily growing number of Russian generals who have been fired or demoted during 11 months of war (nine so far), the latest installment of who’s in charge is viewed as part of a drama with an ever-evolving cast of characters who have not gotten the job done.

“It’s kind of like a reality TV show,” Colin H. Kahl, the under secretary of defense for policy, told reporters last week. “And I think it’s more indicative that the Russians have still not figured it out about how they intend to command the fight, and I think the dysfunction among Russian commanders is pretty profound.”

Now on his third overall war commander, Mr. Putin has accomplished few of his goals. Russian troops have failed to seize Kyiv, the capital; President Volodymyr Zelensky is still in power; Ukraine has closer ties to the West than ever; and despite signs of some cracks, NATO remains united. Even Russia’s more limited goal of taking over the entire eastern region of Donbas remains elusive. [Continue reading…]

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