As Ukraine counteroffensive gets bogged down, it’s back to the drawing board

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War in Ukraine


Another reason behind Ukraine’s mistaken optimism was also a failure to understand that the Russian army was quickly learning from its own mistakes and correcting course. Just weeks ahead of the counteroffensive’s launch, Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds — two of this war’s most thoughtful military analysts from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) — issued a warning about likely hiccups, detailing evidence of Russia’s learning curve, noting altered basic infantry tactics and improved artillery targeting, allowing guns to strike Ukrainian targets within minutes of detection. They also highlighted other changes, including the “speed with which Russian infantry dig, and the scale at which they improve their fighting positions.” Russia’s armour tactics were altering as well, as they began using tanks to offer supporting firepower for infantry units from safe distances, rather than amassing them for bungled shock-and-awe attacks, and utilizing thermal camouflage to mask them.