A bureaucratic, peacetime approach to training and stockpiling among Zelenskiy’s allies is posing a threat to European security

For two months Ukrainian forces have been endeavouring to fight their way through densely fortified Russian positions to breach the so-called Surovikin line in an attempt to liberate their territory. Fighting has been exceedingly hard, with heavy losses of equipment and personnel on both sides. Irrespective of how much progress is made over the coming months, Ukraine’s international partners need to focus their assistance on preparing Ukrainian armed forces for the next fight.

It is important to understand the challenge the Ukrainians are trying to overcome. Russian troops are fighting from successive layers of concrete-hardened positions, each behind 120-500 metres of complex minefields. They are backed up by significant artillery and attack helicopter support and protected by dense electronic warfare and air defences. Although Ukrainian troops tend to win when they get into close combat with the Russians, getting there without taking unsustainable losses is not always possible.

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