Nearing five months into the war against Russia, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that to reclaim the nation’s south from Russian occupation, Ukraine intends to field a “million-strong army” that will be armed with weapons supplied by NATO.
Reznikov gave his first interview to the BBC since the beginning of the invasion. In that interview, he stated that President Zelensky had given orders to Ukraine’s military to recapture occupied coastal areas that are essential to the country’s economy.
But here lies a more significant question to the administration: Will Ukraine’s efforts to build a “million-strong army” be enough to ensure victory over Russia without them being strategic enough on their next steps to be taken?
Taking from the defense minister’s comments, he added that regaining control of Ukraine’s southern Black Sea coast was vital for the country’s economic recovery.
According to analysts, the remarks represent more of a “rallying cry” than a precise plan. During an interview with The Times newspaper, the minister stated that there was a pressing need to expedite the delivery of firearms. The comments made by the Minister of Defense come as Russia continues to make territorial gains in the eastern part of the Donbas region.
He then lauded the United Kingdom for playing a “key” role in the transition from supplying Ukraine with weapons from the Soviet era to the more potent air defense systems and ammunition that adhere to NATO standards.
“We need more, quickly, to save the lives of our soldiers. Each day we’re waiting for howitzers, we can lose a hundred soldiers,” he said.
“We have approximately 700,000 in the armed forces and when you add the national guard, police, border guard, we are around a million-strong,” he added.
The Russian Attacks
Russia expends approximately 20,000 152-mm artillery shells per day, as opposed to Ukraine’s 6,000, pulling not only from recent production but also from Soviet stocks, of which some estimates suggest there are still enough for several years’ worth of use, according to the Free Press Journal. Perhaps 20% of these will be duds due to improper storage 0r low manufacturing quality standards.
Long-range Russian missile strikes are wreaking havoc on Ukraine’s defense system, diminishing the country’s ability to combat what could become a protracted struggle that lasts for years. This imbalance exacerbates the situation.
Due to the flow of replacement material from Western stockpiles, the Ukrainians have been sufficient to retain fighting. Still, this supply is not enough to secure a comprehensive triumph. In addition, because of the broad selection of provided equipment and defense systems drawn from the different stocks held by NATO, the Ukrainians now have a supply and maintenance train that is complicated to manage.
Ukraine’s Response to the ‘Attacks’ (aside from weapons): Deaths
Aside from the unceasing bombardments wrecking the key cities and annexing Ukraine’s economic coastlines, civilians and Ukrainian troops’ deaths have added to the war’s casualties that would take a lifetime to repay and rebuild. This forced the Ukraine government to raise the fielding of one million troops equipped with NATO equipment.
The number one million, however, has been met with skepticism from experts, who advise against taking it at its value. “It’s not a million-strong force that will be conducting a counter-attack,” Dr. Jack Watling, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.
“Normally, you would want operational surprise when you launch a counter-attack, so announcing it publicly is partly about forcing the Russians to have to commit resources more widely to guard against this threat.”
Local Ukrainian officials have stated that a rocket attack that occurred on Sunday night on a residential building resulted in the deaths of thirty individuals. Chasiv Yar, located close to the city of Kramatorsk, witnessed nine individuals pulled alive from the wreckage. The search for survivors continues to this time.
According to the regional governor, Russian shelling in residential areas of the city of Kharkiv in Ukraine’s northeastern region resulted in the deaths of six people and the wounding of thirty-one others on Monday.
What’s comparative between Russia and Ukraine is that they both see if weapons and violence could cure the dispute without thinking about the recurring effects of the ongoing war killing the lives of innocent civilians and the future economic independence of every country affected by their power struggle. Russia and Ukraine’s lack of strategic planning falls under resorting to violence and keeping up with the new arms to see who’s powerful enough to remain in the combat zones leaving the conflict’s effects in the sectors of public health, food security, and diplomatic relations, and the pandemic unresolved.
And then again, the situation asks Ukraine: Will the fielding of over a million troops equipped with NATO weapons resolve the ongoing war? Or will it only add to the number of deaths and prolong the struggle?