Defense experts believe that the upcoming winter weather could give one side in the Ukraine war a significant advantage.
With the war in Ukraine now entering its ninth month, the warring parties await a new phase.
There are now sub-zero temperatures and winter weather in the long-term forecast for the central and eastern parts of the country.
Frost, mud and snow will increase the challenges for military forces in the field, says Lieutenant Colonel and Chief Instructor at the War School Palle Ydstebø.
– Winter in Ukraine can vary from a few tens of temperatures to clear weather, to mild weather with frost, rain and mud. In short, the one who is best prepared to handle tough weather will gain advantages over the other end, Ydstebø tells VG.
The advantage is due to the better educated and driven party, which has the best supply system for getting equipment, clothing and other things, and is able to maintain equipment in extreme weather conditions, Ydstebø tells VG.
– If they can take advantage of bad weather and cold to work better than his counterpart sitting and freezing, then winter could be decisive for war, says the lieutenant colonel.
With war now looming, Ydstebø believes Ukraine has the best conditions to deal with next season.
– As I see it, Ukraine has basically the best requirements, based on its leadership, supply system, and the competence of the soldiers. He also believes that Ukrainians take better care of their equipment and soldiers.
Ydstebø is supported by senior researcher Tor Bukkvoll at the Norwegian Defense Research Institute (FFI).
The Russians will probably struggle to get supplies more than the Ukrainians, mainly because things have to be moved longer distances. The chaos in Russia’s resupply has already been revealed, and when the Russians claim that the front forces have been replenished with 87,000 new troops, it’s hard to believe that the Russian logistics system will be able to resupply everyone, Bokvall tells VG.
Both defense experts point to reports of low morale and shaky leadership in Russian forces, which could put additional pressure on Putin’s men.
– Russia replaced enthusiastic professionals with forcibly demobilized, partially untrained soldiers with minimal equipment. That the Russians, according to British intelligence, have Adoption of tanks and armored vehicles From a Belarus warehouse, it may indicate that they are having trouble retrieving or maintaining more of their equipment. Such problems are exacerbated in the winter, Ydstebø tells VG.
– It can be scary
Already, the leading British newspaper, The Times, has called next winter the “Kremlin’s last weapon”. Bokful believes that the Russian bombing of civilian infrastructure shows that the Kremlin is not following the rules of war.
If Russia succeeds in making Ukraine dark, cold, and waterless, it will be a disaster. The idea, of course, is to make life in Ukraine so bad that it forces Ukrainians to make a compromise, says the FFI researcher.
However, Bokful points to a crucial question in the near future, which can be influenced to some extent by weather conditions: that is, how much Western countries can help repair the damage done by the Russians.
– There is now talk of Russia buying ballistic missiles from Iran. These are very hard to drop. The defense systems that we give them in the West will not be able to take them. This is a real problem and can be frightening, Bukefol says.
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