Ukrainian forces struggle as conflict with Russia enters third year

Ukrainian forces face challenges as conflict with Russia enters its third year, grappling with dwindling manpower and critical shortages in ammunition.

As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia enters its third year, Ukrainian forces find themselves facing significant challenges on multiple fronts. The war, marked by trench combat reminiscent of World War-I combined with high-tech drone warfare, has left Ukrainian soldiers increasingly exhausted and depleted in both manpower and resources.

In the eastern Donetsk region, where the Ukrainian infantry of the 59th Brigade operates, soldiers are grappling with dwindling numbers and supplies. Platoon commanders report that only 60-70% of the brigade’s original strength remains, with many soldiers killed, wounded, or unable to serve due to various reasons. The harsh conditions on the frontlines, aggravated by unpredictable weather, have further strained the troops’ resilience, with illnesses such as flu and angina incapacitating many.

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Russian forces, on the other hand, have made incremental gains in recent months, claiming victory in strategic areas like Avdiivka. The defenders, often outnumbered and outgunned, are engaged in relentless combat against Russian advances. Commanders describe facing repeated assaults from small groups of Russian soldiers, which take a toll on both morale and resources.

Despite the unwavering motivation to resist Russian occupation, Ukrainian forces are grappling with critical shortages in ammunition and military support. Western aid, including $61 billion in U.S. assistance, has been stalled by political disputes, leaving Ukrainian soldiers with outdated equipment and limited firepower.

In particular, artillery units are operating at significantly reduced capacity, with Soviet-designed ammunition in short supply. The European Union’s failure to meet its target of supplying a million shells to Ukraine exacerbates the situation, leaving Ukrainian forces at a disadvantage against the relentless barrage of Russian artillery.

Moreover, the use of drones has emerged as a key battleground in the conflict. Both Ukraine and Russia are heavily invested in drone technology, with drones playing a crucial role in surveillance and precision strikes. However, Russian drones now outnumber Ukrainian counterparts, posing a significant challenge to Ukrainian forces’ ability to establish fortified positions and engage enemy targets effectively.

As the conflict grinds on, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for increased military support from the West. However, with Russia’s superior resources and manpower, Ukrainian forces face an uphill battle as they strive to defend their sovereignty and resist Russian aggression in the years to come.