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Russia is advancing in eastern Ukraine by deploying its superior numbers. “The problem is very difficult for the Ukrainians,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview with NPR’s. Morning version. An army gains the advantage of concentrating more force on a decisive point than the enemy.
During the first weeks of the war, Russia dispersed its forces, attacked multiple targets at once, and failed to capture the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. After that, Russia refocused, reducing some of its forces and focusing more on the area east of the Donbas. Milley, President Biden’s top military adviser, told NPR that Russia has built up a large number of combat units, as well as more artillery than the local defense force.
At the time of Wednesday’s interview, Milley was visiting NATO headquarters in Brussels. He met with officials from allied nations to coordinate their efforts to make the “problem” a success.
The Ukrainians have urged the US and its allies to provide more weapons than they already have – and they are thinking the math, too. “Clear math”, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Greg Myre of NPR this week. “We will need equal weapons if we are to be effective in any counterattack.”
US officials used their visit to Brussels to refute claims that US aid was too little or too slow. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Ukrainian forces were training to use US-funded truck-launched missile systems – and he emphasized calculation. The US sends only a handful of systems, but he says their effectiveness is doubled because they can launch multiple precision-guided missiles at the same time.
Milley told reporters that the United States and its allies had contributed 97,000 Javelin missiles and other anti-tank weapons, which Milley calculated were “more anti-tank systems than there are tanks in the world.”
In an interview with NPR, Milley admitted that a larger Russian army is advancing in the Donbas area. “It’s a fair statement to say that they are gaining ground tactically, but it’s very, very slow,” he said. Many of the Russian attacks captured only a few hundred meters of ground before stalling. The advances are not “strategically important”, he insisted. At the press conference, he called it a “very fierce battle of attrition, almost like World War I.”
Of course, concentration affects math. When asked if Ukraine, with its smaller army and much less population, is running out of trained troops, Milley acknowledged difficulty but expressed hope using an equation. “Morality to the physical is 3 to 1,” he said. In other words, the higher morale of the Ukrainians will multiply their strength as they defend their homeland. Milley cites media estimates that Ukraine has deployed up to 700,000 troops, enough to outnumber Russia’s initial invasion force.
However, many do not have the proper equipment or training. Properly arming them was the focus of Milley’s visit to Brussels. At one point in the NPR interview, he noted, “We’ve only got 110 days to make this” — and the word “unique” hints at how many more days of merciless devastation may be left before the war ends.