Espreso. Global

Saving soldiers' lives should define commanders' effectiveness. Serhiy Zgurets' column

27 June, 2024 Thursday

During his visit to the Donetsk region, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy introduced Brigadier General Andrii Hnatov as the new commander of the Joint Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, replacing Yuriy Sodol. The President emphasized that the new commander's main task is to fight the occupying forces and protect Ukrainian servicemen's lives. This, I hope, will be the true measure of a commander's effectiveness


Andrii Hnatov named new commander of Joint Forces

During his visit to the Donetsk region, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy introduced Brigadier General Andrii Hnatov as the new commander of the Joint Forces, replacing Yuriy Sodol. The President did not specify the reasons for this personnel change. However, it followed severe criticism of Sodol's leadership style from politicians, bloggers, and military personnel, particularly regarding his attitude towards the value of his subordinates' lives. Before the President's decision, Bohdan Krotevych, chief of staff of the Azov NGU brigade, addressed the State Bureau of Investigation. He pointed out the discrepancy in accountability, stating that while battalion and brigade commanders are tried for losing observation posts, generals are not tried for losing regions, cities, and thousands of soldiers. Introducing the new commander, President Zelenskyy described Andrii Hnatov as young but highly experienced, knowing the front well. He stressed that Hnatov's primary mission will be to destroy the occupiers and protect Ukrainian servicemen's lives. This, I hope, will be the criterion by which commanders' actions are judged during both offensive and defensive operations.

Pokrovsk direction: Russia's top priority

The situation across all sections of the Khortytsia troop grouping is extremely challenging. The most difficult area is the Pokrovsk direction, which sees a third of Russia's offensives on this front line. Near Ocheretyne, Russian troops achieved a tactical success and rea trying to expand their control zone. Ocheretyne has become a hub for Russian equipment and manpower, from which they attempt to advance in multiple directions. However, this accumulation of forces and resources is monitored by drones and artillery. The Russian command considers the Pokrovsk direction the highest priority, with an estimated 50,000 troops and over 20,000 in the rear.

Presidential praise for the 110th and 47th brigades

President Zelenskyy praised the actions of the 110th and 47th brigades in the Pokrovsk direction. The 110th brigade is holding back Russian forces in Novooleksandrivka and preventing their advance toward the Pokrovsk-Kostiantynivka highway, a critical 7 km stretch. The brigade’s efforts on the left flank, from Ocheretyne to Karlivka, where the 47th brigade holds the defense, are crucial. Russian forces are launching mass assaults against the 47th brigade, targeting Sokil and Novoselivka Persha. Despite this, the 47th brigade is operating effectively and inflicting significant losses on them. Russia is heavily using FPV drones, making it vital for ukraine's military to receive more FPV drones and artillery ammunition to counter the ongoing assaults.

Several promising drones with different ranges are being developed in Ukraine

Valery Borovyk, commander of the Bilyi Orel special unit and founder of the First Contact company, said the main problem for drone operators is getting to the target. Russia's use of electronic warfare (EW) makes it very difficult to bring the drone to the target. This is a big challenge for Ukrainian drone manufacturers. Specialists are testing automatic homing on Ukrainian drones and a new system called a drone swarm. Borovyk mentioned that developers are working on a special project for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, a serious challenge as nothing like it exists globally. He did not give details to preserve the element of surprise for the occupying forces but hinted that we will see this in action with new strikes on Russian territory. Borovyk added that the team is working on several projects.

Borovyk also noted that First Contact has received a large order for one type of drone. The demand is high, and the company needs to ramp up production. Currently, they produce 200 to 500 drones monthly, with potential to increase to 1,000 units per month, though this will take time.

The company expects to sign a contract with the State Service of Special Communications and for the production of the Vidsich kamikaze drone. Previously, this drone was not purchased on a large scale, but after a strategy change in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Vidsich began to be supplied en masse to the Defense Forces. Borovyk emphasized that First Contact plans to increase the production of drones with a range of 40 to 60 km.

First Contact company starts working with German arms manufacturer Diehl Defense

Valery Borovyk announced that First Contact is now an official supplier for Diehl Defense, one of the world's largest defense companies. He mentioned that their cooperation is expanding significantly and more detailed information will be available soon. Agreements are already in place for the supply of specific weapons to defend Ukraine. Borovyk emphasized that this partnership aims to strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities and achieve a technological breakthrough. He believes that the collaboration between First Contact and Diehl Defense will revolutionize military operations, including weapon supply, maintenance, and product support.

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