The Russians have been providing arms to Ukraine for the past year. These shipments contain sophisticated weapons systems, such as advanced anti-tank missiles and artillery, which they can use to attack Ukrainian targets from afar. Nonetheless, the military capabilities of these systems are not enough to counter an invasion by Russia.
This is why NATO must deploy a NATO Response Force and reinforce frontline countries. Although President Biden has pledged that no military action will be taken, key European allies should consider deploying some sort of deterrence force in the area, such as short-range air-to-air missiles and anti-tank weapons.
Ukraine’s anti-aircraft and missile defences are weak, making it vulnerable to strikes by Russian forces. Moreover, its armed forces lack long-range capabilities. As a result, it is more susceptible to attacks by the enemy by using superior electronic warfare and cutting off communications with its units in the field. However, its forces are well-trained and well-armed, and they have combat experience from the Donbass conflict against Russia-backed separatists. These forces are highly motivated and equipped with anti-tank weaponry and U.S.-supplied Javelin missiles.
Moreover, if Russia decides to invade Ukraine, it would most likely enter rebel territories, giving it an advantage over its western neighbors. Local support in the Russian-occupied territories would favor the former. This battle would get ugly, as Russian troops have more advanced technology and equipment than Ukrainian units do. Meanwhile, Ukranian units would be pummeled by precision artillery and drones. Morale among Ukrainian troops might decline, but Russian operatives may still be in the unit.
In addition, Ukraine’s anti-missile and anti-aircraft defences are weak. This makes it vulnerable to attacks from Russian forces targeting its critical infrastructure. If a NATO partner were to attack Ukraine, would it be able to protect itself? A strong military could prevent Russia from taking Kiev by surprise. And if NATO members can protect the Ukrainian troops, they can defeat the Russians and win. So, what should the Ukrainian military do?
A Ukrainian army and a strong civil society can prevent an invasion by Russia. Apart from having an army and territorial defenses, the Ukrainian people can resist the occupying power’s troops by means of asymmetric actions, media, and other forms of resistance. The asymmetric actions that Ukraine takes can help reduce the psychological impact of an armed struggle. For example, the people can engage in peaceful protests against a Russian attack through the asymmetric methods.
The Ukrainian military is an advantage over Russia in terms of its anti-aircraft and anti-missile defences. Its strong civil society and army can resist the occupying power’s forces and can even withstand a rogue state’s troops. But if the military attacks a civilian population, this is unlikely to be an effective strategy. It is possible that a Russian attack will be a surprise, but a successful response will allow the Ukrainian people to be resilient.
As a result, Ukraine’s military is the most capable in the world. In addition, it has strong asymmetric forces and a well-developed civil society that can protect its people. The armed struggle between Russia and the Ukrainian people would be a bloody war, with heavy losses on both sides. It is therefore unlikely that both sides will win. And as for the Russians, the material support of their military and the military is vital to protect the people.
The Ukrainian army is not the same as it was in 2014, and its civil society is stronger than ever. Unlike Russia, Ukraine is not likely to be able to withstand an invasion on its own. It is a better option to prepare for the conflict by enhancing its defense forces. Furthermore, the Ukrainian people have an asymmetric advantage over Russia. With such a strategy, the occupying force can not only stop the invading forces, but also occupy a portion of the country.
With the aid of the United States and its allies, the Ukrainian army can fight a war against Russia. Such an invasion would result in heavy casualties on both sides. The Russian forces would be able to counter it through their combined military power and their armed forces. Further, it would be able to defeat Russia in a limited way. With this, the Ukrainian military could fight back and win the battle against Russian troops.