A potential Soviet-style approach to warfare could be impeding Ukraine’s efforts in its counteroffensive against Russia. Despite the anticipation of a swift victory, the conflict with Russia has persisted for over a year, revealing Russia’s own struggles with losses and defeats on the battlefield.

This extended conflict has also exposed intricate dynamics among Russia’s key players, encompassing army generals, politicians, and warlords. These tensions came to the forefront when Putin faced a brief mutiny led by Yevgeny Prigozhin of the Wagner Group, intensifying a long-standing feud with Russian military leadership.

The war in Ukraine has led to infighting among Russia’s most influential players. These are the 7 people you need to know.

2Vladimir Putin©LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

At the helm of the war in Ukraine is, of course, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

A former KGB agent, Putin has served as either president or prime minister of Russia since 1999.

During this time, he has consolidated his all-powerful position by crushing any political opposition, restricting the media, and centralizing power.

Putin’s forces began the war when they invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, under the baseless pretext that Russia’s neighbor needed to be “demilitarized and de-Nazified.”

While all-out war broke out last year, the conflict technically began in 2014 when Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

Reports have suggested that the Russian leader has become increasingly isolated and lives in an information vacuum surrounded by a tight inner circle of yes-men.

Military analysts speculate that as long as he is in power, Putin will not give up his goal of taking over Ukraine. And it is unlikely that he will relinquish control in Russia anytime soon.

However, Ukraine’s counteroffensive seems to be stagnating, as Western officials grapple with persuading the nation to depart from its traditional tactics and concentrate resources where they are most crucial. Unnamed US officials shared concerns with The New York Times, highlighting that Ukraine’s counteroffensive resources need to be strategically directed to southern Ukraine. According to these officials, Ukraine has been dispersing equipment and troops across a wide area with little tangible impact.

The underlying problem is a doctrinal similarity shared by both Ukraine and Russia, rooted in a Communist ideology that advocates resource distribution among military divisions to curtail internal strife. This mindset has led Ukraine to disproportionately allocate resources to the eastern Bakhmut region and its surroundings, perplexing US military authorities.

Consequently, this allocation strategy has left insufficient resources in Ukraine’s southern regions, which is strategically significant for severing Russia’s supply lines and targeting the bridge connecting the country with Crimea. The adherence to regimental equality appears to hinder progress in these critical areas.

To address this issue, the US has been actively assisting Ukraine in transforming its military tactics, moving away from Soviet methods and fostering a more modern, adaptable fighting force. The Department of Defense’s efforts include training Ukrainian troops in Germany before Russia’s invasion, aiming to enhance command and control, battlefield initiative, and the decision-making authority of noncommissioned officers on the field.

In a briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby emphasized the intentional evolution of Ukraine’s military capabilities. He highlighted the development of better command structures, improved tactical decision-making processes, and the empowerment of noncommissioned officers to enhance combat effectiveness.

As the conflict unfolds, Ukraine faces a critical choice between adhering to traditional doctrines and adopting more contemporary strategies that align with the demands of modern warfare. The evolution of its military tactics may determine its ability to counter Russia’s advances effectively.

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