Moscow is said to have known about the Ukrainian rearmament weeks before the counter-offensive, but the Russians were not sufficiently prepared. A military expert explains why Russia’s failure is mainly due to a lack of information processing.
According to military expert Christopher Dougherty from the defense program of the American “Center for a New American Security” on Twitter, Russia is said to have known about the Ukrainian rearmament before the recent battle for Kharkiv. A warning was given in Russian telegram channels more than a month before the start of the Ukrainian counter-offensive. A week before the offensive, according to Dougherty, there was even an explicit warning against the invasion of Ukrainian troops in Balaklija.
For the military expert, the failure of the Russians is less a failure of the secret services than a failure in Russian planning and execution.
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The war began with a chaotic Russian misjudgment: Russian spies misinterpreted Ukraine’s fighting spirit to fight for its own country. Russian intelligence is said to have conducted polls before the start of the war, which showed that large sections of the Ukrainian population were willing to resist Russian incursion, according to the Washington Post.
Still, the spies reportedly continued to feed the Kremlin rosy assessments – that the Ukrainian people would welcome the arrival of the Russian military and the re-establishment of pro-Moscow rule, the Washington Post continues. Based on these false assumptions, the Russian war plan of a lightning attack was created.
Former US Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor marvels at Russia’s actions: “If their security services place so much emphasis on understanding Ukraine and base their military plan on that understanding, how could they be so concerned he told the Washington Post. He would not understand how Russia could have assumed that the Ukrainians would not fight.
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According to Dougherty, Russia has always been a step behind since then: “They took too long to take Severodonestsk.” Russia also failed to prepare for the introduction of NATO weapons such as HIMARS, HARM and self-propelled guns, Dougherty said. They also did not foresee the shortage of workers and did too little to counteract it.
Time and again, Russia fails to make quick, good decisions, according to Dougherty. According to the military expert, a lack of information is not to blame – he sees the problem elsewhere: “Something is deeply disturbed in Russia’s information and command processes, which means that intelligence findings cannot be integrated into operations.”
A senior US official took a similar view: “The Russians were miles wrong. They have embarked on an entire war effort to achieve strategic goals beyond their means,” the Washington Post said. According to the US official, Russia’s mistake was fundamental and strategic.
Ukraine, on the other hand, has shown a high level of effective information processing, according to Dougherty. According to the military expert, the advice and training provided by the USA was decisive for this, as this is a particular strength of the US armed forces.
Therein lies Ukraine’s key advantage: “Ukraine’s ability to gather, process and respond to intelligence quickly and effectively has given it a massive advantage over Russia’s sclerotic, centralized staff and command structure,” Dougherty said.