Latvian expert: taking Armyansk is strategically important in Ukraine’s war against Russia

Taking the city of Armyansk is a strategically important point in Ukraine’s war against Russia, as LETA was told by Researcher at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA) and lecturer at the Baltic Defence College in Russian military and strategic studies Sandis Šrāders.
As for expectations on the battlefield this year, Šrāders said it is highly difficult for Ukrainians to progress – there is a shortage of artillery and ammunition, general stocks. Anti-air defence is highly important. This is allies should provide aid to Ukraine as soon as possible.
According to him, what was promised is one thing, but what happens on the frontline is no less important. So far in Kherson Ukrainian forces have made it over the river and have pushed the front forward slightly. It is strategically important for the Ukrainian army to take Armyansk. In this case Ukraine’s army would be able to deal with airfields, supply lines and other strategic points to drive occupying forces from the country.
The Latvian expert said that aside from the Crimean bridge, which Ukrainians have attacked multiple times, it is also necessary to deal with two more. If Ukraine managed to take Armyansk, they would be able to deal with all air-defence systems and ensure Russia is no longer able to supply their Crimea-based forces. This, according to him, would be a tactical and practical win for Ukraine in the south.
“If Ukrainians liberated Crimea, there would no longer be a threat of Russia attacking NATO bases in Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova from Crimea. This would directly benefit our security. This is why political, military, economic and humanitarian aid is very important for Ukraine,” said Šrāders.

He stressed that Russia is trying to do everything to lengthen the war and prevent Ukrainian forces progress forward.

Šrāders also pointed out that Russia has slightly changed its strategy. For example, they are now executing acts of sabotage and trying to recruit their own people to the Ukrainian army, especially in Crimea and south-eastern territories. Šrāders believes this is something Russia never did in the past, and this is alarming.
“Russia also uses long-range strike capabilities against Ukraine. They are costly for Russia, but air-defence is always more expensive than attacks. Long-range ballistic missiles make Ukraine’s defence financially expensive. We also have to keep in mind the mental state of the population. When missiles hit various locations, it causes suffering. Ukraine also cannot afford air-defence,” said the Latvian expert.
He said Russia’s major advantage is in human resources. Russians can recruit and sent to Ukraine a “nearly unlimited number of people”. Ukraine’s human resource volume is much lower, but it is important to keep in mind that Russia has to train recruits and make them combat-ready in order to succeed in combat operations.
According to him, if Ukraine managed to kill 40 000 to 50 000 Russian troops in six months, it indicates that Russia sends unprepared people to war because there wasn’t time to train them. He stressed that the West must train Ukrainians, develop more effective and better training programmes to offer them.
“This needs to be done in the long-term, in addition to military and financial support, because Russia is trying to weaken Ukraine in different ways – undermine public morale and resilience, block exports and sea ports, destroy local infrastructure. On top of that, Russia is trying to weaken the Ukrainian army using various methods. These are medium-term problems we have to address. Ukraine’s allies and Ukraine have to liberate Crimea and make this important step to turn the situation around in the battle field,” said Šrāders.
The Latvian researcher emphasised that the West must provide all the necessary military support for the Ukrainian army to occupy Armyansk, destroy the occupying military forces in Crimea, and then, using this strategic and politically very important symbolic advantage, free the whole of Ukraine from the Russian occupying army without waiting for additional Ukrainian victories.
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