Ukraine-Russia Conflict 2022: Observations From The First Week

I thought I’d kick things off with a handful of personal observations about the war in Ukraine. We’re at a point in the war where an accurate, in-depth analysis is just not possible. The media, along with the legions of self-described ‘experts’ on social media platforms are painting incomplete and inaccurate portraits of what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine. I expected as much from the media. They are usually at least a day behind events, as we are seeing once again. Meanwhile the ‘experts’ are either presenting bits and pieces of information without the proper context. Or in some cases, presenting conclusions that simply have no supporting data or verifiable reports.

Russian’s Woes-The Russian offensive continues on despite the myriad of issues that Russian forces are contending with. No matter how you want to look at it, the Russian Army performance so far in Ukraine has been lackluster. There have been dozens of reports about the logistics nightmare facing many Russian units. The problems are very real. However, the failure to get sufficient supplies of fuel, ammunition and food forward is not the greatest problem facing the Russian military now. 

That dubious honor belongs to the failure of Russian forces to use combined arms operations effectively. Time and time again we’ve seen an inability by Russian units to integrate different combat arms to achieve objectives on the battlefield in this war. Especially around urban settings. This must be particularly galling for senior Russian commanders since combined arms doctrine has been prevalent in Russian and Soviet military playbooks for decades. What Zhukov and Konev used to bring victory on the Eastern Front cannot be executed properly by their modern-day counterparts. This needs to be corrected immediately. Otherwise, the chances of Russia’s offensive operations bogging down even deeper could increase dramatically.

Lessons Learned After One Week of War In Ukraine

  • Russian artillery remains every bit as fearsome and effective as it was in the 20th Century
  • Russian artillery observers remain every bit as blind as they were in the 20th Century 😊
  • Who controls the skies is immaterial to the eventual outcome of this conflict. Remember the old joke about the two Soviet generals enjoying a coffee together in Brussels at the conclusion of WW III.
  • The majority of talking heads and pundits on TV these days simply showcase their lack of knowledge about military and geopolitical matters each time they open their mouths.
  • NATO’s Eastern Flank needs a legitimate war plan and command structure at once.
  • There has yet to be a single assessment of the Ukrainian military’s performance in the war so far. Aside from press releases by Kiev and videos of Javelin and Stinger victories over Russian hardware, we have no idea how Ukraine’s units in the field are performing.
  • The Stinger and Javelin both work every bit as well as advertised.

18 Replies to “Ukraine-Russia Conflict 2022: Observations From The First Week”

  1. What do you think of the conscripts who seem to be giving up, or abandoning vehicles everywhere, Mike?

    I think we all know how this game will end, unfortunately, in the short term. In the medium term, I think Putin has a tiger by the tail, and he dare not let go now.

    Re: Air Power, I agree, but if this were a peer battle, I think the Russians would be stonewalled.

    Re: Javelin, NLAW: the vaunted Russian APS and ERA seem to (seem to, if the highlights clips and aftermath videos and photos we’ve seen) be not working perhaps as well as advertised. As to the Stinger…heh, the Russians have been plagued by that thing for nearly 40 years now!

    The Ukrainians need a big victory in the field, and I hope they get one. Or we see Russians defecting en masse. I don’t know that either will happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am starting to think some of these units and troops really did think they were going on exercises.

      I think you’re right about airpower. In a peer battle, Russia would be in trouble

      Yeah so far, APS is a major bust. I don’t get it. As for the Stinger….not its first rodeo 🙂

      At this point, neither seems probable but in a week’s time things can look very different.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m not sure we’ve seen many encounters between javelin/NLAW and APS tanks.
      There is a lot of older kit being used and that doesn’t stand a chance. Even ERA since the Javelin is a top-attack missile, is not much good.
      The reality is that the Russians just don’t have a lot of APS tanks, but most of the ones we’re seeing are burned out T-72s not T-90s

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Mike. Agree that there is no overall clarity on the war. CDR Sal would suggest that NATO doesn’t have an Eastern Flank. An Eastern Front, A Northern & Southern Flank, and the Rear. Unless Putin and his power structure collapse the war is not going to be short. Even then it depends upon who would take over from Putin. Regards, Ron

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it drives him crazy, Ron. Eastern Front already happened in World War II, that’s always my counter argument to CDR.

      Yeah, we could be in for the long haul here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Agree, although I’m both more careful (looking only at people with legit credentials and humility) and more forgiving (understanding people won’t know much outside their sphere of knowledge) WRT social media.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Steve. I’m worried about the same thing and the longer this drags out, the more likely it becomes


  4. I’ll just point out that successful lightning invasions, especially of countries at least the size of Ukraine, are very few and far between. Everybody expects the macro successes we had in Iraq (never mind the ground portion of Desert Storm was preceded by a month of preparatory bombing and the insurgency following Iraqi Freedom lasted years). The Israelis had far less distance and far more limited goals in the Six-Day War. The Germans took weeks to take Poland and France (and had less distance to cover to get Norway to capitulate), and the Soviet Union had more than enough space to trade for time to get Marshal Winter and General Mud to bog down the Wehrmacht.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. General Mud is playing a role in Ukraine it would appear too. Personally, I think the Russians moved two weeks too late. I understand there were restrictions with the Olympics and all, but now they’re losing the race against the March Thaw. Weather was way more ideal in early February. Snow, frozen ground, sub-freezing temps.


  5. The Russian conduct of the war has surprised me. My impression of Russian doctrine is that it was focused on destroying enemy combat power. Their offensive seems to be focused on seizing major population centers though. I expected a quick drive on Dnipro to cut off the JFO, but they seem to be intent on seizing territory instead of destroying Ukrainian combat power.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think you’re right and trying to seize the population centers fast only slowed everything down, ironically enough.


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