General David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA, said the Ukrainian counter-offensive was “very impressive” and could be successful, adding that the Ukrainians were “determined to liberate their country”.
Ukraine has been planning its counteroffensive for months, but it still has to wait to train its troops and receive military equipment from allies. The start of this operation will not be announced. Kiev’s defense ministry repeated calls for secrecy, posting a video message with soldiers suggestively putting their finger to their lips.
The Ukrainians will bet on a combined arms effect
Petraeus, who was CIA director and previously led international forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, was recently in Kiev where he met with President Zelenski.
The general believes that the Ukrainians will rely on a combined arms effect. Thus, the engineers will be followed by armored vehicles, protected by infantry against anti-tank missiles. Air defenses will keep Russian planes away from them, and a specialized unit will jam the Russians’ radio frequencies. The same approach would be applied in several directions.
“My opinion is that they will achieve combined arms effects, in other words, they will be able to successfully conduct combined arms operations, where we have genies breaking through obstacles and scattering minefields and so on; armored vehicles that will follow, protected by infantry against anti-tank missiles; air defense that will keep Russian planes away from them; electronic warfare jamming their radio networks; logistics right behind them; the artillery and mortars right in front of them.
And most important of all… is that as the driving elements inevitably reach their peak after 72-96 hours, physically, that’s all that can be done, and they will have suffered losses… you have follow-up units that will continue to advance, take advantage of the progress and maintain the pace, and I think that can set the entire Russian defense in motion in that area, and then I think other opportunities will open up on the flanks,” the former CIA director said in an interview for the BBC.