Russia uses reserves to secure captured areas and push forward – military expert Serhiy Zgurets
The enemy will keep launching attacks on our positions with their manpower. This appears to be in line with Putin's political instructions to secure progress at any cost
Considering the recent General Staff reports, it appears that there has been a reduction in activity on the front lines. There have been around 55 military engagements, which is a decrease from the 90 reported just two days ago, indicating a one-third decrease in overall activity. However, it's important to note that evaluating the significance of specific areas solely based on these quantitative metrics can be challenging, especially when discussing Avdiivka.
In this region, the adversary is making efforts to advance from Krasnohorivka towards Stepove and Berdychi, with the objective of reaching the railway. Approximately three Russian brigades are participating in this operation. Notably, these brigades were previously stationed in the Lyman region as part of the 2nd Russian Army. This suggests a relocation of troops from Lyman to this area. Despite facing substantial casualties in their previous operations, these Russian soldiers continue to push forward to capture their intended territories.
The area extending from Krasnohorivka in the north to the so-called “height 230”, is an active combat zone. The enemy is launching assaults there with air support. According to the latest reports, the enemy has managed to breach territory about two kilometers from Avdiivka. This information supports the analysis of experts and is backed by corresponding videos. While this situation presents challenges for our troops, it may lead to increased artillery activity aimed at countering the enemy on this high ground.
It's crucial to prevent the enemy from establishing a foothold behind the railway. The current situation in this part of the front is highly challenging, particularly as the enemy is attempting to operate in the southern Avdiivka area. They are seeking to break through the defenses in the Vodyane-Opytne region heading towards Sievierne. This area spans about 8 kilometers from Stepove to Sievierne, and the enemy is working to close this gap, potentially encircling our troops. However, we are confident that this encirclement will not succeed. We are aware of the significant enemy forces concentrated in this part of the front.
In other areas, there's currently a back-and-forth struggle, with the enemy using their reserves.
It seems the enemy is now using up their reserves to maintain their positions and push forward in some areas, like Avdiivka. They'll keep sending troops to attack our positions. It looks like they're following Putin's orders to make progress at any cost, with hopes of benefiting Russian interests.
Electronic warfare tools in the fight against enemy drones
Drones are now widely employed for reconnaissance and offensive operations on both sides of the front lines. Various methods are employed in our country to counter enemy drones, with one of the most systematic approaches being the use of electronic warfare systems and equipment. Trench electronic warfare, a crucial element of combat operations, plays a significant role in this effort.
Serhiy Beskrestnov, a serviceman in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and an electronic warfare expert, explained that trench electronic warfare refers to the use of portable equipment by soldiers in the trenches on the front lines. This type of electronic warfare doesn't rely on fixed machinery but is operated by regular military personnel. Its primary purpose is to counter drones such as Mavic and Autel. Particularly, countering FPV drones, which pose a significant threat to our troops, has become a priority. One notable example of trench electronic warfare is the anti-drone gun. Additionally, a new category, referred to as "domes" or "shields," has emerged to protect our fighters from drone attacks. Regrettably, there is a substantial shortage of large electronic warfare systems within the Armed Forces, with only 25% of the required quantity available. Furthermore, trench electronic warfare systems meet just 2-3% of our overall needs, indicating a critical shortfall in this area.
The serviceman emphasized that the most effective defense against enemy drones involves electronic warfare systems operating in passive reception mode. This means they remain dormant, not emitting signals, until a drone approaches. They then activate, suppress the threat, and return to standby mode. Russian Strizh and Serp complexes are notable examples of systems that operate on this principle. To enhance our drone defense capabilities, we should move towards adopting this approach, activating electronic warfare equipment only when drones are in close proximity.
The electronic warfare expert also highlighted a significant development: electronic warfare and drone systems can be rapidly deployed for service. The key challenge now is to ensure the production of electronic devices in the required quantities to meet our defense needs.
Demining strategy for Ukrainian territories
Now, let's discuss the situation beyond the frontlines, where active fighting has occurred. Roughly 30% of Ukraine's land is covered with enemy-laid mines, posing a severe threat. This hazardous situation must be resolved. Ukraine's Ministry of Economy has declared its commitment to clear 80% of potentially mined areas within a decade. This issue is highly complex, as Ukraine has become one of the most heavily mined nations, surpassing Croatia. The enemy has heavily relied on mining various areas along the frontline. Consequently, some of the farmlands that villagers use have become genuinely perilous. Attempts by locals to clear these mines themselves often result in tragic accidents. What's required is systematic efforts by professionals—trained deminers and operators with the necessary certifications.
Ihor Bezkaravainy, the coordinator of the humanitarian demining effort at Ukraine's Ministry of Economy, reported that the demining scope currently covers 174 square kilometers. In essence, this area is potentially hazardous, with any part of it possibly containing mines or remnants of war. The key word here is "potentially." To determine which areas require cleaning, a thorough assessment is essential. To address this, we're drawing from global experience. The conventional method involves sending specialists to the location for on-site threat assessment. However, this approach is resource-intensive, demanding significant time and personnel. The primary strategy chosen by the Ministry of Economy, in collaboration with authorities, is to expedite the survey process by integrating cutting-edge technologies. This includes remote surface scanning, satellite image analysis, and other advanced tools.
The person in charge of demining efforts mentioned that Ukraine needs new ways to clear landmines, different from what's commonly used worldwide. We're sharing Ukraine's experiences with the world, such as using drones for surface scanning. It's important to understand that drones are like delivery vehicles carrying special scanners to check the ground's surface. There are various types of scanners and methods for surveying the land. Our goal is to bring together all these different technologies or create clear rules for using them to get the results we need.
Additionally, the World Bank did a preliminary study and estimated it would cost around $37.5 billion to completely clear potentially mined areas. However, this estimate is based on global practices. In our case, considering the intensity and duration of conflicts in Ukraine, the actual cost may be higher. Still, using remote scanning tools can speed up the process and reduce costs. When it comes to the time it will take to clear these areas, it's more challenging to predict. Our long-term goal is to make 80% of the currently unsafe areas safe for use within the next 10 years. However, we can't be certain about when all of Ukraine will be fully cleared of mines, as it depends on various factors both in Ukraine and globally. Our strategic aim is to achieve 80% safety in 10 years, and we are working towards that.