More than five months since Russia invaded Ukraine, a war of attrition has emerged with losses of materiel and men on both sides, not advances on the ground, becoming the key barometer of the conflict, a leading U.S.-based expert on Russia’s military has told RFE/RL’s Georgian Service.
Those casualties and equipment losses will largely determine the “long-term sustainability of the war efforts” by Russian and Ukrainian forces, explained Michael Kofman, who heads the Russia Studies Program at the Virginia-based think tank CNA.
The conflict is now “defined much more by heavy use of artillery and firepower,” Kofman said, with neither side “able to gain momentum.”
Since April, the Kremlin has concentrated on capturing the Donbas, an industrial region of eastern Ukraine where Russia-backed separatists are in control. “Where Russian forces have advanced those advances have been incremental, Ukrainian forces have been able to conduct tactical withdrawals pretty consistently,” Kofman said.
His comments come as an assessment by the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command on July 22 said that “due to significant losses of personnel and equipment, Russia probably no longer has the military capacity to realize its ambitions in Ukraine.”
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