Ukraine in ‘Serious Risk’ of Losing War to Russia This Year, Says Former UK Commander

TOPSHOT - Ukrainian soldiers have a break in a trench on the front line with Russian troop

Ukraine is facing a potential outright defeat by the Russians this year, the former commander of the UK’s Joint Forces Command has warned.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine continuing into its third year, the badly outnumbered and outgunned Ukraine is facing a “serious risk” of having to admit defeat to Russia, General Sir Richard Barrons told the BBC. there is “a serious risk” of Ukraine losing the war this year.

The former head of the Joint Forces Command, now known as Strategic Command (StratCom), warned that pessimism may set in among the people of Ukraine and that the public may come to feel that the country “can’t win”.

“And when it gets to that point, why will people want to fight and die any longer, just to defend the indefensible?” Gen Barrons questioned.

Off the backs of the failures of the much-hyped Ukrainian counteroffensive last year to take back a meaningful amount of its territory occupied by Russia, despite expending vast resources and manpower during the mission, there are growing concerns that Russia used the time merely to regroup for another incursion to take more land.

“At some point this summer,” Gen Barrons said, “we expect to see a major Russian offensive, with the intent of doing more than smash forward with small gains to perhaps try and break through the Ukrainian lines.

“And if that happens we would run the risk of Russian forces breaking through and then exploiting into areas of Ukraine where the Ukrainian armed forces cannot stop them.”

The former JFC commander said that first, the Russians will need to break out of the Donbas region, solidifying their hold on “annexed” territories but then, they will likely have their “eye” on the “major prize” of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city and the former capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Losing such an economically and historically important city would serve as a significant blow to the morale of the war-weary Ukrainian people.

The former top British general said that the Ukrainian frontline in the east of the country is currently being “battered away” by the Russians, whom he said are displaying a “five-to-one advantage in artillery, ammunition, and a surplus of people reinforced by the use of newish weapons.”

Such weapons include so-called “dumb bombs” from the Soviet Era which Moscow has retrofitted with guidance fins and GPS systems. A report from The Guardian this week claimed that upwards of 500 converted UMPC bombs were being launched at Ukrainian targets every week and that they “played a key role in the destruction of [the eastern city of] Avdiivka and the seizure of its ruins by Russia”.

The paper noted that the nature of the “gliding” system installed on the bombs allowed Russian warplanes to drop them up to 37 miles away from their targets, thereby limiting the ability of Ukraine to strike at their jets during the bombings. The relatively cheap bombs are also having an economic impact on the war, given the relatively high cost for Ukraine to shoot down the bombs with its missile defence systems.

The dire state of affairs along the front was also admitted to this week by Ukrain’s top general, Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi, who said that following the Russian presidential “election” which solidified Vladimir Putin’s grip on power as well as the warm weather setting in, the “situation on the Eastern Front has significantly worsened”.

Syrskyi continued to lobby for more weapons and aid from the West, however, he also acknowledged that amid the new conscription push from the government, the Ukrainian military will likely face issues in training soldiers to be ready to face off with the Russian army.

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