Defense expert Colijn draws these lessons from the struggle for eastern Ukraine | NOW

Defense expert Ko Colijn has been providing the Dutch with information on armed conflict for over forty years. For NU.nl he follows the match in Ukraine and answers our (and your) questions. This time the question is: What lesson has Colijn drawn so far from the battle for the Donets Basin?

Some experts say Russia would need eight times more troops to occupy Ukraine than it is currently deploying. Even more optimistic Ukrainian sources tell the West: “If you give us the right weapons, we will throw all Russians out of the country in October.”

Colored information. There is greater reason to declare a kind of stalemate: no one can win this war. Nevertheless, Russia is already the moral loser and is facing some remarkable lessons.

Lesson 1: The one who rules in space can thwart a plan A (but not yet claim the overall victory)

It was hardly noticed in our country, but on the list of ‘Russian failures in Ukraine’ it should also be mentioned that the expected wave of cyber attacks was quite disappointing. What’s hot, on the eve of the old-fashioned invasion with soldiers and tanks, Putin tried to completely shut down the Internet in Ukraine. The Pentagon asked Elon Musk to borrow his Starlink satellite system. Musk already has almost 2,200 of these artificial moons in orbit around the world and thought, ‘If I spread an infinite number of terminals across Ukraine, they could continue to use the Internet via my satellites’.

In addition to keeping everyone well-informed, the Ukrainian army also benefited enormously, for it was a piece of cake to stop tank and truck convoys with drones. The Russian Plan-A (the siege of Kiev and the assassination of Zelensky) seems to have failed because of it. The killing of the eight Russian generals is also to blame for the internet-controlled drones.

US General David Tremper, director of electronic warfare at the Pentagon, even shed a tear (‘watered eyes’) over the success of Starlink in the military’s top magazine Defense News.

In Russia, Elon Musk is now accused of collaborating with the “Nazis”, and in China, the state-run military news site China Military Online claims that Starlink is in fact already a Pentagon aviation department and is calling for countermeasures.



Lesson 2: The Russians thought they won with country soldiers, cannons and tanks and underestimated the plane.

The biggest miss on the Russian side is the outright poor performance of their aircraft. These are limited to simple ground support for land troops and carry out bomb attacks on Ukrainian targets on the basis of unilateral and rigid orders. But they did not control the battle, did no intelligence work, did not carry extra fuel or food, and flew so low that they could easily be shot down with Stingers (shoulder missiles). In one piece i Atlantic Ocean two experts do not care about the Russian Air Force.

Lesson 3: Images, but also reality? Probably yes, but Ukraine is also responsible for the information war so far

Last month, we also saw footage of a sunken Russian landing ship and drone-attacked Serna-class patrol ships off the Ukrainian snake island. After firing the battleship Moscow another shipwreck. According to British intelligence services, perhaps crucial to control half of the Black Sea and access to Ukraine’s last port: Odesa. Vital for the country’s exports and even half of the world’s grain supply.

The images come from satellites of Maxar, a CNN agency that has shown all sorts of Russian and Ukrainian maneuvers with surprising sharpness and quality. Can you find out what kind of pictures the US government services have – and the intelligence they can share with Ukraine at will.

Or drone footage of a Ukrainian counter-offensive near Kharkiv, which drove the Russians there and is said to have pushed them back to just 30 kilometers from their own national border. And drone footage of burnt-out military vehicles and an abandoned Russian Army pontoon bridge on the Siversky Donets River.

What one side (Ukraine) calls a counter-offensive, the other (Russia) calls a tactical withdrawal (offset by an extra missile attack).

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