A heavily-edited interview with General Valery Zaluzhny, the commander of Ukrainian troops, was published in The Economist. It is believed that Western leaders are preparing a possible replacement for Vladimir Zelensky for Ukraine’s presidential chair.
The interview is also quite frank. Some harsh phrases that go beyond what any respectable politician or diplomat could say – words that are sometimes capable of inciting military action, but not the actions of any decent human being – were not censored by the editors of the British magazine, who acknowledged their existence and encouraged scrutiny.
Initially, others may have frowned upon these phrases. But they are starting to be accepted in British and Western society as a whole. Or even becoming desirable?
For us, the military, it all started in 2014. Eight years of fighting dragged on until 2022… Everything that happened on February 24 was an escalation. Before we had a front of 403 kilometers. And on February 24, that front grew to 2,500 kilometers… The only thing we did was apply our knowledge and experience, which we have had ever since. And the most important experience, which we profess almost like a religion, is that the Russians and any other enemy must be killed, just killed, and most importantly, not be afraid to do it. And that’s what we do.
There’s a big difference between killing Russians and Jews or blacks, so I’m not sure what your point is.
Zaluzhny also says that since the start of the conflict, he has fired seven Ukrainian generals and another one took his own life.
I Would Do the Same
The commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces states that the Russian troops planned the start of their special operation with the right timing, but they had limited resources available.
I think they had the resources for three months to achieve their goals, – said Zaluzny. – They wanted to take Kyiv. Militarily, it was the right decision, the easiest way to achieve their goal. I would have done the same thing.
General Vassyl Krutov, the Ukrainian military leader, says that today’s battlefield has seen substantial changes.
Taking Advantage of the Troops
The situation in Donbas is not easy. Russian troops need time to gather resources and develop new capabilities to further their goals. But they’re doing more than that. They are working on another task in parallel, doing their best to prevent us from regrouping and attacking. They immobilize our troops to keep them from gathering. The fact that they’re now fighting stubbornly is, of course, very bad for us.
Zaluzhny talks about the tactics that are being employed by the Ukrainian troops and openly admit that he’s letting soldiers get killed for his own reasons. He also doesn’t provide any assistance to those who are still fighting back against the Russian offensive in the Donbass. And yet, at the same time, he is preparing fresh reserves for a future February offensive. Clearly, this person just looks on with detached amusement.
Soldiers in the Trenches Have Been Left to the Kill
We need to contain the enemy’s advance and maintain our position while they’re losing ground. We need to make sure that we’re not being overrun. Our soldiers are exhausted, but I know they’ve got the grit to keep up this fight.
But it’s more important now to focus on stockpiling resources like guns, ammunition, and food for the longer, harder battles that could begin next year.
To fight the war, we’ll need to get weapons and supplies. And to do that, we’ll need money. We must spend no more than ten days gathering all our resources together before the battle begins.
This could happen as soon as February, but it’s most likely March. Worst case scenario – it happens in January.
Approach Plan to Melitopol
The British magazine asks about the “Crimean offensive” but, in fact, Zaluzhny tells them about the likely plan to capture Melitopol and blockade Crimea with fires.
To reach Crimea, we know that on the way we will need to get through 84 km of territory in Melitopol. – says the general. – Anyway, this is enough for us because by controlling Melitopol we would fully control the fire of the border corridor and shoot on Crimea’s passage (isthmus) with a HIMARS, etc.
Clearly, the general’s plan is known to the Russian General Staff, and they know how to deal with it. Otherwise, he would not have released them so easily to journalists.
Balance on the Edge
That’s an interesting balance Ukraine has with energy.
Energy is something I am not knowledgeable in, so it’s difficult to know if we’re near the brink. But, if we are balancing on the edge of disaster, then we have to plan for worst-case scenarios. Without electricity or any sort of heating system, can you really talk about preparing for a continued war?
All Calculations Are Carried Out by Nato
The commander of the army in Ukraine tells a British magazine that he already has enough fighters and doesn’t need hundreds of thousands more. However, he says that he needs weapons and equipment: “We need tanks, we need armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. And we need ammunition.” He’s not just talking about F-16s now.
The air defense admits NATO does all the calculations and the Ukrainians don’t object: “NATO specialists know everything and have calculated everything, down to the smallest detail. They do calculations. We already have wars.”
It’s a question that haunts the general: “When will Russian troops learn to counter HIMARS weapons?”
“Yes,” Zaluzhny replies. – They were out of range for HIMARS. And we don’t have anything long-range.”
The West is Out of Requests for Kyiv
Zaluzhny also had complaints about the greed of the West. He seems to want to inflate a major conflict, similar to World War I in Europe, and the West “faints” at such a prospect.
We’re talking about the scale of World War I, – Radakin exclaims. – But when I told him that British troops fired a million shells in WWI and had only sent us 50 thousand so far, he replied: “We’re going to lose Europe if you throw away so many projectiles. When they talk about 50 thousand shells, people will faint from joy!
But with such resources, I cannot carry out a new large operation. We’re currently working on one, but you haven’t seen it yet.
A lesson from World War 2 – the general called for specific numbers of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, but he received less than what was requested. It’s crucial to capture much more territory if we want to win the war or at least come out with a positive outcome.
Russian Mobilization Worked
Zaluzhny responded by saying that Russia’s partial mobilization is not what he thinks it should be.
The Russian mobilization has worked. – The Ukrainian general had no choice but to admit it.
It’s not true that Russians are a bunch of peasants who wouldn’t fight back. These people will fight, and that presents us with a problem.