It appears that our prediction about the war continuing this year could be right, as Ukraine’s ongoing offensive against Russian troops is set to be slow yet still strategic. Now, if you’re familiar with military strategy, you know that taking on an entrenched enemy usually involves a lot of heavy firepower, air support, and ground troops advancing with all guns blazing. However, Ukraine’s lack of a strong air force has left them with a daunting challenge – dislodging Russian troops that have been preparing for this onslaught for months.

So far, Ukraine’s troops have experienced setbacks, which is not surprising given the circumstances. It’s a sign that their offense will be a long and deadly grind – far from the quick and decisive victory they were hoping for. But why is that?

Well, let’s look at the facts. The Russian military has a vast array of modern weapons, advanced technology, and a relatively well-trained army with extensive combat experience. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military has been underfunded and under-equipped for years, leaving them with outdated gear and a largely untested force.

But that’s not all. The battlefield terrain also heavily favors the defending force, as they’ve had ample time to fortify their positions, lay traps, and set up defensive structures. These “hardened” positions are incredibly difficult to penetrate – even for the most experienced and well-equipped troops. And with Russian snipers, mortars, and artillery raining down on the advancing Ukrainian soldiers, casualties are all but inevitable.

“The Russian side in Bakhmut looks very, very tired, if not exhausted,” said a senior NATO official.

(Source: KMDA, Oleksiy Samsonov/Wikimedia Commons)

As tensions continue to rise between Ukraine and Russia, the possibility of a drawn-out conflict looms large on the horizon. While a rapid and decisive military campaign might seem like the most effective approach, there is a solid case to be made for a slow, methodical offensive by Ukraine. By leveraging resource management, strategic planning, and the lessons learned from recent engagements, a gradual advance could prove to be the optimal course of action.

From a resource perspective, a slow offensive allows Ukraine to maximize its limited assets and maintain a sustainable tempo of operations. This approach enables the Ukrainian military to conserve vital supplies such as fuel, ammunition, and spare parts while providing ample time for resupply efforts and logistical planning. Furthermore, a deliberate pace allows for the proper rotation and rest of troops, ensuring that combat effectiveness remains high throughout the campaign.

“It was always going to be difficult,” said Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Russian forces “have been preparing for a long time. They learned from their mistakes in KharkivRegarding of military planning, a slow offensive grants Ukrainian commanders the opportunity to carefully assess the situation on the ground, gather actionable intelligence, and adjust their tactics accordingly. By taking the time to identify enemy weaknesses, exploit gaps in Russian defenses, and establish firm footholds in key terrain, Ukraine can gradually erode Russia’s military advantage and create favorable conditions for a decisive breakthrough. Additionally, this measured approach enables Ukraine to coordinate its efforts with NATO allies, ensuring that diplomatic channels remain open and opportunities for de-escalation are not overlooked.

Ukrainian Army

A slow offensive also provides valuable time for developing and integrating new weapons systems, training programs, and operational concepts. As the conflict unfolds, Ukraine can leverage its growing network of international partners to acquire cutting-edge technology, expertise, and support. This steady influx of resources and know-how will enable the Ukrainian military to refine its tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), enhancing its overall combat capability and increasing the likelihood of success in future engagements.

Finally, a slow offensive is a powerful psychological tool in the ongoing information war between Ukraine and Russia. By demonstrating restraint, resolve, and a commitment to the long game, Ukraine can undermine Russian propaganda efforts and bolster its own credibility on the international stage. This strategic posture will galvanize domestic support for the ongoing struggle and send a clear message to potential adversaries that Ukraine is a formidable and determined opponent.

While the allure of a swift and decisive victory may be tempting, a slow Ukrainian offensive against Russia offers numerous strategic advantages. By carefully managing resources, planning meticulously, and leveraging the lessons learned from recent engagements, Ukraine can maximize its chances of success and ultimately prevail in this high-stakes contest of wills and might.

** For a look at how the West brought the war to Ukraine, click here.