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Zelenskyy: Russia's losses in war are increasing and its prospects for victory are diminishing

Charles Jay
Community (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)
Friday May 13, 2022 · 12:24 PM CDT

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Ukrainian soldiers fire U.S. M777 howitzer

(This is an update to an earlier story headlined: “Ukraine’s defense minister: The war is entering a new protracted phase, heavy weaponry will be key.”)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia's losses in the war against Ukraine are increasing and its prospects for victory are diminishing.
Zelenskyy made his remarks Friday evening in a presidential video address, Ukrainskaya Pravda reported.
Zelenskyy summed up what Ukraine claims are Russian losses in the war that began on Feb. 24.
"Today we can report on the 200th downed Russian military aircraft. Russia has not lost so many aircraft in any war in decades."
"And Russia has lost almost 27,000 soldiers, many of them young conscripts."
"Russia has lost over 3,000 tanks, armored combat vehicles, a large number of conventional military vehicles, helicopters, drones and all its prospects as a state."
"Why all this? For a monument to Lenin to stand in the temporarily occupied Henichesk for a little longer? There is no other result for Russia and there will not be any."
Zelenskyy was referring to a statue of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin that was erected in the Russian-occupied town of Henichesk which sits on the Sea of Azov in Kherson province, just north of the border with Russian-annexed Crimea. The original Lenin statue was taken down by order of the city council in 2015.
Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian military has been pushing out invading Russian forces throughout eastern and southern Ukraine — a total of 1,015 settlements since the war gegan, including six in the past 24 hours.
"We are doing everything we can to liberate our land quickly. This is our priority," Zelenskyy added. That depends not only on Ukrainian fighters, but also on all “the countries in the whole free world.”
Earlier Friday, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the war with Russia is entering a new protracted phase that will last until the Ukrainian defenders receive a critical amount of heavy weaponry from their Western partners.
Reznikov made his remarks in a Facebook post in which he offered his assessment of “what happened in the last 78 days of the war that started over eight years ago.”
In 2014, after the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Russia annexed Crimea and intensified support for pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbas region. Reznikov noted that many Ukrainians had expected some dramatic development on May 9 when Russia marked Victory Day. But in his speech that day, Russian leader Vladimir Putin did not order a full mobilization or declare war on Ukraine.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov
Reznikov said:
By May 9, Russia had suffered a strategic defeat: it had failed to destroy the Ukrainian State by military intervention and organize a change of power in favor of Russian puppets. We forced Russia to reduce the scale of its objectives to the operational and tactical level.

Given that, we are entering a new, long-term phase of the war. To win it, we must plan resources carefully, avoid mistakes and project our strength in such a way that the enemy ultimately breaks. [...]

“Extremely tough weeks are ahead. No one can say for sure how many of them there will be. [...]

During this period, we will continue defending from the enraged aggressor mainly on our own.

Over 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers are already training or will start training in the next couple of days to master equipment from our partners and then return as instructors. Some of them, like artillerymen, will go straight into battle.

Time will pass until heavy weaponry will balance the scales and ensure a breakthrough in favor of Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a Senate hearing that Russian President Putin is prepared for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine, betting that Russia is more willing and able to endure the impact of a long-term war than the Kremlin’s adversaries.

In the initial phase of the war, Reznikov said that Moscow had expected that Ukraine would surrender in a few days and many in the West shared that opinion. But instead, the whole Ukrainian nation thwarted the invaders’ plans, inflicting huge losses and defeating Russian forces near Kyiv. Then, he said Russian troops changed their tactics and “set new goals to capture the south and east of Ukraine. But again that did not happen […] thanks to the mass heroism of our soldiers, the unity of Ukrainians and international support Ukraine has endured.”

In particular, he hailed the besieged defenders of Mariupol who have “bought us time and saved many lives.” Now, he says the Ukrainian government has set a goal of arming and equipping a force of 1 million military personnel “to protect the state while a full-scale war continues.” He said that Ukraine is stimulating its own defense industry which is seeking foreign technical assistance.

On the international front, Reznikov said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his top aides have overcome many obstacles to convince Western partners to provide heavy weaponry of Western standards and speed up their delivery. He said:
The main argument was that Ukraine is defending the whole Europe, and the enhancement of our defense is the strengthening of NATO's eastern flank. That is why ensuring the de facto mutual compatibility of the Alliance armies with the Ukrainian defense forces is in line with common interests.

Eventually, a tectonic shift took place. Within a month, Ukraine has completed a path of integration in the sphere of defense that it was not able to overcome for 30 years.

We are already receiving heavy weaponry from our partners. In particular, American 155-mm M777 howitzers are already working at the front lines.

Now most partners are confident in the ability of the Ukrainian forces to defeat the Russian invaders and cause irreparable damage to them.
Reznikov in particular praised UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for their roles in organizing and increasing military assistance for Ukraine. On April 26, Reznikov met with defense ministers from more than 40 countries at the U.S. base in Ramstein, Germany, to coordinate efforts to meet Ukraine’s defense needs.

Reznikov also welcomed the lend-lease bill symbolically signed on May 9 by President Joe Biden to provide Ukraine with the same type of military assistance that helped defeat Hitler in World War II. He noted that the U.S. is now discussing another aid package for Ukraine. (Sen. Rand Paul has temporarily delayed Senate passage of the $40B humanitarian and military aid package.)
Reznikov tweeted that he had discussed implementation of the lend-lease package in another phone conversation with Austin on Thursday.

In his Facebook post, Reznikov said:
“The free world which was shocked by the atrocities of the Russian invaders on our land set a new common goal: not to stop, but to defeat the Kremlin,” he said. “This fully corresponds with our aspirations, because our goal is to restore our sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders.”
Reznikov noted that Russia has not only suffered defeats on the battlefield but also at the international level. The West is tightening economic sanctions, while Finland and Sweden are seeking NATO membership. The courage and sacrifice of the Ukrainian people, he said, has given the world “the chance to overcome dictatorship which constitutes a global threat.” He concluded:
Time passes unspeakably slowly. … We remember that our citizens in temporary occupied territories are in danger. People are kidnapped, tortured, and killed. That is why we are doing everything possible and impossible to speed up the liberation of our land.
The growing pressure of sanctions against Russia and the increase of foreign aid to Ukraine in the next few months should create conditions under which the Kremlin will completely lose chances for any success.

Then a new window of opportunity for Ukraine should appear. In this extremely difficult period, we need unity, cohesion, will and patience. Ukraine will be victorious!