Comparing the Military Strength of Russia and Ukraine after Two Years of War: Analysis of Russia-Ukraine War News

Ukraine has been engaged in a two-year battle with Russia to reclaim its territory and push Russian forces back. However, due to supply, tactics, and the flat terrain, Ukraine’s much-hyped counteroffensive from the previous year has yielded very few concrete results.

The expansive, open agricultural land in southern Ukraine provides little cover for attacking forces. Russia had ample time to prepare its defenses and built barriers in depth, including trenches, anti-tank obstacles, ditches, and reinforced bunkers forming a barrier that effectively contains Ukrainian forces. As a result, the much-anticipated counteroffensive has stalled into a slow, attritional warfare. Despite the questionable quality of Russia’s soldiers, they are successful in slowing Ukrainian advances and protecting themselves within fortified dugouts, aided by surveillance drones that prevent Ukraine’s military from launching surprise attacks.

The modern battlefield in Ukraine is evolving due to a combination of new and old weaponry. Drones have played a crucial role for both sides in the conflict, used for surveillance and targeting, as well as launching attacks behind enemy lines. Russia’s use of Iranian-imported drones as cheap cruise missiles has challenged Ukraine’s air defenses and depleted their missile inventories. As a response, Ukraine plans to mass produce drones capable of reaching deep inside Russia’s territory to target strategic locations, in an effort to offset their weaker air force.

The reliance on drones in modern warfare is evident, with Ukraine increasing domestic drone production to over 300,000 in 2023, aiming to reach over a million drones with locally made components. However, waning support from the United States has pushed Ukraine to prioritize boosting its defense manufacturing, particularly in drones and artillery ammunition.

As Russia puts a significant portion of its budget towards replacing battlefield losses, Ukraine faces a significant shortage of artillery shells. This forces them to work on increasing their production capacity to keep up with the pace of the conflict. The conflict in Ukraine has also highlighted the need for a layered air defense system and a significant stockpile of low-cost, quickly manufactured missiles.

In addition, the importance of tanks in modern warfare has been recognized, as they still hold considerable value as part of a combined-arms assault. The battlefield has also seen a substantial increase in drone usage, significantly enhancing the accuracy of artillery units. Overall, the conflict in Ukraine has provided valuable lessons for modern warfare, emphasizing the importance of industrial power, missile production, and the integration of new and old weaponry on the battlefield.

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