Retired US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter said that the Ukrainian forces that were pushed into the Zaporizhia region had miserably failed to penetrate the Russian defenses.
“Over the past few days, Ukraine has thrown two of its best trained and best equipped mechanized battalions into offensive operations against seasoned Russian defenders in the Zaporizhia sector of the front lines,” Ritter added in an article published in Russian Sputnik news agency.
He pointed out that the Russian forces were equipped with modern Western tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, using NATO-specific tactics formed by intelligence provided by NATO and the alliance’s operational planning.
He continued, “In short, these two brigades represented a high-level capability for NATO, and are an example of the relationship between Ukraine and the West in their ongoing war to destroy Russia”.
He said that despite the use of these forces by the devastating American M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and German-made Leopard 2A6 tanks, the truth is that this equipment was abandoned and burned in the Ukrainian steppes, and proved useless and collapsed Western theories that said it would be able to defeat Russia.
The retired US intelligence officer said, “The reality is that Ukraine will never achieve its stated goal of penetrating Russian defenses to sever the land bridge connecting Crimea to Russia… This was superficial thinking launched by Ukraine’s Western partisans to motivate Ukrainians to commit what can only be described as mass suicide to inflict losses among the Russian defenders”.
The West had hoped that Russia would become frustrated by the losses it hoped to achieve and would accept an end to the conflict through negotiation on terms acceptable to both Ukraine and its Western allies, but Ukraine and its Western allies failed to achieve their goal, according to Ritter.
The retired US intelligence officer said, “The origin of this failure can be traced back to two things… First, Ukraine and its NATO allies had a false assessment regarding the combat capabilities of the Russian army, particularly those deployed in the Zaporizhia region, and second, the unrealistic expectations assigned to NATO training and equipment provided to Ukrainian forces tasked with penetrating Russian defenses.
The area chosen by Ukraine and its NATO partners as the focus of the counterattack effort was held by Russia’s 42nd Motorized Rifle Guards.
Scott Ritter shed light on the failure of American research centers, including the Institute for the Study of War, to assess the strength of the Russian 42nd Motorized Rifle Guard, which expected its collapse under the weight of Ukrainian forces armed with the latest European weapons.
He continued: “While the fighting in Zaporizhia is far from over, preliminary results on the battlefield show that, contrary to the expectations of Ukraine and its NATO partners, the men of the Russian 42nd Motorized Rifle Guards performed their tasks in a professional manner, decisively thwarting the Ukrainian offensive”.
Likewise, he emphasized, the 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment showed very good performance under difficult conditions, which can also be said of the 291st Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment, along with the Special Forces soldiers from the 22nd Spetsnaz Brigade.
He said that analysts from the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW), later in their assessment of the initial successes of the Russian defenders, and Russian forces appear to have implemented formal tactical defensive doctrine in response to the Ukrainian attacks.
“This, of course, should surprise no one, because the person commanding the Russian forces in the Zaporizhia region is Col. Gen. Alexander Romanchuk, the man responsible for conceiving modern Russian defensive doctrine,” Scott Ritter added.
According to him, NATO and Ukraine’s poor assessment of Russia’s military capability reflects their exaggerated assessments of the Ukrainian units tasked with attacking Russian defenses in Zaporizhia, namely the 33rd and 47th Mechanized Brigades.
Both units received modern NATO equipment, including Leopard tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.
The officers and men of the two units were provided with the best training NATO could offer in modern combined arms operations, including weeks of specialized training in Germany focused on platoon, company and battalion tactics and operations integrating firepower and maneuver while conducting offensive operations.
A US experts such as Mark Hertling, a retired US Army general, believe that the combination of advanced Western military hardware and superior NATO-style tactics will allow the emerging combined arms teams in Ukraine to conduct a high-tempo maneuver capable of overwhelming the Russian defenders in Ukraine.
“It would have been better if Hertling and his active-duty NATO brothers had heeded the words of General Christopher Cavoli, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, when he spoke at the Swedish Defense Conference last January,” he added.
Cavoli noted at the time that the Russia-Ukraine conflict “doesn’t fit all of our latest ideas”.
The bottom line from this revelation is that NATO is neither trained nor equipped to fight the kind of fight it is asking Ukraine to carry out against Russia.
“Moreover, NATO and the Ukrainian High Command threw Ukrainian brigades into the teeth of the Russian defensive saw without sufficient fire support, which meant that the Russians were free to maximize their superiority in artillery and air power to neutralize and destroy the Ukrainian attacking forces before then”.
He continued, explaining: “The end result: Russian reality has outperformed NATO theory on the battlefield, and it is the Ukrainian military that once again paid the highest price… Moreover, there is no reason to believe that this situation will change anytime soon, and this fact doesn’t bode well for the future of Ukraine and NATO”.