Status: 06.12.2023, 05:15 a.m.
By: Patrick Mayer
A Ukrainian soldier makes accusations against the government of Volodymyr Zelensky and the General Staff. The situation on the Dnipro near Kherson is supposedly more explosive than Kiev claims.
Donbass – In the Ukraine war, Ukraine is doing poorly militarily and politically in its defense against Russia's invasion in the run-up to Christmas. The warnings of the Western defense alliance NATO not to leave Kiev alone in this phase of the fighting are no coincidence.
Front near Kherson: Ukrainian soldier sharply criticizes Kiev
Ukraine's commander-in-chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, for example, complained about an alleged demotion by President Volodymyr Zelensky. And financial aid to Ukraine from the United States expires at the end of the year, while congressional Republicans are currently blocking further funding. In key swing states, Republican Donald Trump is also ahead of incumbent Joe Biden in polls. Washington is currently discussing a possible aid package of 81 billion US dollars.
Meanwhile, on the battlefield, the Russian army around Avdiivka in the Donbas is exerting a lot of pressure. In this tricky situation, a Ukrainian soldier has now sharply criticized the government and the General Staff in Kiev in an interview with the BBC. The criticism is that the soldiers on his sector of the front near Kherson lack many things, they feel abandoned.
Currently under heavy pressure in the Ukraine war: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Ted.). © IMAGO/Presidential Office of Ukraine
Dnirpo Front in Ukraine: Ukrainian defender complains about lack of soldiers
"Several brigades should be stationed here, not individual companies – we just don't have enough men," he said, according to the British channel's news website, commenting on the military situation in the southern delta of the vast Dnipro River. At the beginning of November, after several failed attempts, the Ukrainians managed to establish themselves on the eastern bank of the Dnipro in the Kherson region.
Ukrainian marines were first able to set up positions near the village of Krynki, expand them and finally land sustainable supplies. The eastern bank of the Dnipro has significant strategic importance. The nearby and well-developed European route 97 (E97) runs from Oleshky to Aryansk at the northwestern tip of Crimea. And that on a comparatively manageable 100 kilometers.
Problems in the Ukraine war: deadlocked front and political tensions in Kiev
But apparently, the situation of the Ukrainian army on this sector of the front is more explosive than communicated by Kiev. The soldier described that the units were struggling with a shortage of heavy weapons, as well as significant personnel problems. In other words, in his opinion, too few soldiers were sent there to defend themselves against Russian counterattacks. But that's not all.
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"We paid for a lot of our equipment ourselves – generators, power banks and warm clothes. Now that the frost is coming, it's only going to get worse – the true situation is being covered up, so no one is going to change anything," he continued.
Several brigades should be stationed here, not individual companies – we simply don't have enough men.
Ukrainian soldier in conversation with the BBC
As if that wasn't enough, the man even claimed that some of the marines who are supposed to hold the beachheads couldn't even swim. The information cannot be independently verified. It at least fits into the picture: Ukrainian front-line troops would complain about the dispatch of inadequately trained recruits, as well as problems with the supply of food and medicine, writes the Business Insider. Now the bitterly cold winter is added to the mix.
One of the immense challenges at the moment is probably faltering arms deliveries from the West. The defence ministers of the European Union (EU) had recently declared after a meeting that the target of delivering one million 155mm artillery shells by the end of the year would be missed by a wide margin.
Arms deliveries in the Ukraine war: Kiev is eagerly waiting for more Leopard 1 tanks from Germany
Germany will also miss its target for Leopard 1 deliveries for the time being. And clearly. According to the German Ministry of Defense, 80 Leopard 1A5s should be handed over to the Ukrainians by the end of the year. As of December 5, however, according to the list of military support provided by the traffic light government, there were only 30 units on the fronts between Kherson and Avdiivka. At the beginning of November, Berlin had delivered ten more "Leos", but the tank support is stuck.
One of the delivered American Abrams main battle tanks in service with the Ukrainian army. © Screenshot X@Osinttechnical
Recently, a Ukrainian soldier confirmed to AFP that his army had made a change in strategy. Thus, with individual tanks, only pinpricks are to be set at a distance against Russian troops. Attacks in larger contingents are unlikely to be possible this winter. And this despite the fact that up to 31 American M1 Abrams heavy battle tanks have arrived at the front.
Ukraine war: New tank strategy against the Russian army in winter
"We can hit targets at a distance of 3.5 to five kilometers. This system is very modern," a tanker named Vitali told the news agency about the German "Leos": "Modern tanks of our enemies do not have such a system. This makes it impossible for them to attack us from a great distance. We can shoot at them from a distance that allows us not to be destroyed." In addition to the soldiers, the valuable heavy weapons from the USA and the EU are probably to be spared more than ever, while the problems for Zelensky and the General Staff are growing. (pm)