Saturday, October 27, 2018

Ukraine’s army needs ‘higher mobility, better command structure to beat Russia’

October 26, 2018 (KyivPost) Ukraine’s Armed Forces need to master the doctrine of mobile warfare and ditch outdated and ineffective Soviet-era command structures to be able to withstand a full-scale attack by Russia, retired British Army Colonel Glenn Grant said during a panel discussion at the Lviv Security Forum on Oct. 26. According to the expert, the development of Ukrainian army is hamstrung by Soviet thinking and combat doctrines dating from the Cold War.

Retired British Army Colonel Glenn Grant

The Soviet army in its time was preparing for another type of warfare,” Grant said.
The Soviets expected armored vehicles and troops to drive forward – and that basically the ones in front would die. And because they were going to die, you didn’t actually need very many people in the staff, you didn’t need much in terms of radios, you just followed the lead until you found the enemy, and you attacked as hard as possible, and lots of you died.
Because Ukraine’s armed forces still have a similar command structure to that, Ukrainian forces at the battalion level do not have enough commanders to lead troops in combat in a proper way, and this needs to change, Grant said.
Furthermore, at the battalion level command is also over-centralized, and too much operative decision-making is concentrated on a very few top-level commanders — another outdated Soviet-era approach that does not match the realities of modern warfare.
We have a joint headquarters for the Donbas,” Grant said. “But we don’t currently have a joint headquarters for Azov and the south coast, for Kyiv, or for coordinating battlefield reserves should Russia attack seriously.
So who is going to command the battle? At the moment it will be (Chief of General Staff) Viktor Muzhenko, on his own in staff headquarters, which is impossible. No human being can do that.
Ukraine’s top military command is currently investing heavily in training its troops to deploy to the Azov Sea coast within an hour to counter any possible Russian amphibious assault there.
But, as Grant noted, the enemy would not deliver its deadly strike where it the Ukrainian command expects it.
What happens if they go to the other side?” he said. “To take that very small (area) between Moldova and the sea? That’s not an hour away from Azov, that’s three, four, five, seven hours. For armored vehicles, it’s a day-and-a-half’s drive. You need people that are actually thinking about this, and identifying how to do that — proper headquarters.”
Along with setting up a decentralized and responsive command structure always vigilant for threats, Ukraine also needs to become a highly mobile military power, Grant said.
There has to be a focus on mobility, mobile troops,” Grant said.
And this is important because when you have an operational focus on mobility, it drives the other things – the communications you need, the equipment you need, the training you need, and the people you select. You’ve got to have commanders that are flexible, that think quickly at all levels.
So far, Ukraine’s military leadership has trained its troops only to meet the challenges of static warfare in Donbas, which has now lasted nearly as long as the  trench slaughter of World War I from 1914-1918. But, sooner or later, the Donbas stalemate will have to be resolved somehow – and the Ukrainian army must be also prepared for a highly mobile war, Grant said.
Every time Russia is beaten, it is beaten by mobility. It has never been beaten by head-on fighting, ever.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Ukraine to take part in Trident Juncture exercise as NATO partner country

October 24, 2018 (UKRINFORM) Ukraine will be among only five NATO partner countries (out of more than 40) to take part in the Trident Juncture exercise on October 25 - November 7 this year.
This exercise is, indeed, very large, and Ukraine will be represented by full-time officers in the headquarters. In general, only five countries out of 41 NATO partner countries participate [in the exercise this year], and Ukraine is among them,” Major General Odd Egil Pedersen, the NATO Deputy Chief of Staff of Military Partnerships Directorate, said in an exclusive commentary to an Ukrinform correspondent.

According to him, the representatives of Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, Georgia and Jordan will participate in the drills. The start of military exercise is scheduled for October 25.The multinational NATO-led Trident Juncture exercise will take place in Norway, the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic, including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden, from October 25 to November 7. About 50,000 soldiers will take part in the maneuvers, including more than 14,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army.

Friday, October 19, 2018

New sanctions will be imposed on Russia every month or two – Kurt Volker

October 19, 2018 (Ukrinform) U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has said that President Donald Trump's administration will continue to increase pressure on Russia, primarily by imposing new sanctions every month or two months. He said this at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington on Thursday, according to an Ukrinform correspondent. "We've tried to increase the pressure we're putting on Russia in order to get them to negotiate towards a solution [to the conflict in eastern Ukraine]. That includes keeping sanctions in place in the U.S. and increasing those sanctions periodically over time," Volker said.

This is a track the U.S. has been on during the course of the Trump administration and will continue to be on, he added. "You'll see additional sanctions come into play every month or two months or so as we've seen," Volker said.
He also said that Washington was working on this issue with European partners. "The European Union has shown tremendous resilience and strength in keeping this in place [sanctions against Russia]," the U.S. diplomat said. Following Russia's annexation of Crimea, the United States introduced the first package of sanctions against Russia, and in April 2018, Washington imposed new sanctions on Russian businessmen and officials, as well as financial institutions and companies associated with the Kremlin. It is one of the most powerful packages of sanctions against Russia, including due to its aggression against Ukraine. The restrictions were imposed in pursuance of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) approved in August last year.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

"New Shoes" by photographer Gerald Waller, Austria, 1946

Six year-old Hans Werfel, living in an orphanage in Austria, beams with unbounded joy as he clasps a new pair of shoes presented to him  at the Vienna's Am Himmel orphanage by the Junior Red Cross in America. This photo was taken by photographer Gerald Waller and  was first published in LIFE magazine on December 30, 1946 (page 22) and again on September 24, 1951 (page 180).

This was the caption in the 1946 issue:
EUROPE’S CHILDREN - Christmas brings joy and sadness
For many of Europe’s children there was a Santa Claus this Christmas. When a big box from the American Red Cross arrived at Vienna’s Am Himmel orphanage, shoes and coats and dresses tumbled out. Like the youngster (above), the children who had seen no new clothes throughout the war smiled to high heaven. But for thousands of other European children there was no Santa Claus. When a boatload of illegal Jewish immigrants arrived at Haifa, Palestine recently, two Polish children (opposite) got separated from their parents. Tears filled the eyes of the boy, and his wan sister clutched him protectively. They were later reunited with their parents, but the whole family was shipped to Cyprus.