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Success and failures Russian invasion in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. New changes in the world’s military concepts

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Success and failures: Russian invasion in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. Newchanges in the world’s military concepts

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles  without disaster.”

                                                                                                                                           Sun Tzu

  1. Introduction

In 2014, the Russian Federation took advantage of the political crisis in Ukraine due to a change in the pro-Russian vector of the country’s development. They annexed Crimea by using hybrid methods of warfare to develop further success and continue destabilising the situation. Russia created fake republics with the plan of blackmailing Ukraine and creating a land corridor to Crimea. The project „Novorossiya”, which was supposed to achieve the goal of creating a mechanism of a puppet state under control, should include Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions, which remained in the limited format of occupied areas.

The active military campaign of 2014-2015, which unfolded only in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, brought partial success for Russia, establishing control over these regions, creating another one in addition to the Crimean problem, thanks to which they tried to trade for Ukraine’s renunciation of claims to Crimea. From 2015 to January 2022, the conflict was de-escalated annually to reduce the number of losses on the Ukrainian side and with the partial withdrawal of troops in some regions of the front. This, in turn, significantly shifted the focus of attention of the Ukrainian and international community from this issue and led to a complete freezing of the conflict with minimal activity.

On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation, under the guise of protecting proxy countries, began a large-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine from the northern, eastern, and southern directions, with the aim of complete occupation and with the further intention of expanding the state at the expense of neighbouring states. This work will identify the main aspects of the activities of the Russian occupying forces from the operational level and evaluate their actions. Research of new probable topical provisions, which are topical during the Russian-Ukrainian war and likely to occur in the 21st century.

The task of this work is to determine the successes and failures of the units of the Russian Federation since 24 February 2022, which participate in combat operations at the operational level, and to identify the probable goals, ways and means of achieving the destination. An additional part includes the analysis of changes in future military concepts that arose due to successful and failed military campaigns in Ukraine.

  1. Russian Strategic Goals and military objectives in Ukraine.

According to numerous studies, the Russian armed forces were at the top of the most potent military formations among the states of the world. According to the Global Fire Power 2022 study, Russia ranked second in the world regarding its military power(Power, 2022), which allowed it to stay in a powerful world position.

On February 23, 2023, Russian President V. Putin announced the start of a war against Ukraine, disguising it as a „special military operation” to avoid an official declaration of war(Davis,2022). The top political leadership of Russia determined the main strategic goals of this operation:

– „Demilitarization” of all military and armed units of Ukraine, i.e., the actual destruction of all armed resistance of Kyiv.

– „Denazification” – destroying the pro-Ukrainian and pro-Western layer of the Ukrainian population, whose existence threatens Moscow.

– And the punishment of all those who participated in hostilities against the Russian hybrid invasion of Donbas and Crimea since 2014(Troianovski, 2022).

After a series of failed campaigns in 2022, Russia’s strategic goals in Ukraine were changed to defend Russian territories, including the newly occupied territories of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions(Bailey, 2023).

Comparing the analysis of the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine is based on the principles of war from Carl von Clausewitz’s book „Principles of War” (Gatzke, 1942), which will provide a basis for analysing the success or failure of Russia’s actions. According to Clausewitz, there are the following goals in any military campaign in this war.

  • conquer and destroy the enemy forces.

According to the Strategic goal, Russia failed to destroy the Ukrainian Defence Forces, which in February 2022 amounted to approximately 196,000 combat components (Sandercock, 2022). The Russian Armed Forces, stationed near Ukraine’s borders and used in the invasion, amounted to about 150-200 thousand people, which did not achieve a numerical advantage over the opponent (Wintour, 2022). This number did not allow Russia to outnumber the Ukrainian Defense Forces, which, in turn, did not result in the destruction of Ukrainian forces and provided a basis for building up resistance forces. Not achieving the suddenness of the attack gave Ukraine time to mobilise and increase the army to 700 thousand people (Ukrainskyi Militarnyi Portal, 2022).

As a result, Russia lost time to destroy Ukrainian forces and the capability to conduct general offensive operations, allowing it to establish a defence line against advanced enemy forces.

2.2 get possession of the material elements of aggression and the other resources of the enemy.

Russia, compared to Ukraine, at the beginning of the campaign, had a complete technical advantage in armaments and terms of quantity but failed to reach this advantage. Russia’s military-industrial complex was in second place in the world, with a 20% share in the sale of weapons to more than 45 countries over the past five years(Staff, 2022). However, the Russians needed to effectively apply their technical advantage on the battlefield and recorded numerous operational losses in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions. Having failed in their intention to defeat the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russians switched to the tactics of Italian General Giulio Due (Rushing, 2022). This tactic is intended to destroy the will of the Ukrainian civilian population to resist by destroying critical government infrastructure. Using missiles did not lead to the destruction of the Ukrainian’s resources or logistics, only partially impacting the civilian population without severe consequences. For example:

– the targeting of oil refineries in Ukraine by Russian missiles in April-May caused a significant fuel shortage among the civilian population(Offshore Technology 2022).

– the destruction of Ukraine’s energy and heat industry in October-November caused damage to 30-40% of all infrastructure (Reuters, 2022).

Launching missile strikes on the critical infrastructure of Ukraine did not have the desired effect on Russia. Attacks on the objects caused damage only to the sentiments of the civilian population but not to the Defense Forces of Ukraine, which was not to reduce capabilities and strength (US Department of State. 2023.)

  • gain public opinion.

For a long time, Russia heavily contributed to Ukraine’s information and psychological operations to implement the public opinion among Ukrainians that Russians are brotherly. In 2021, V. Putin published an article in which he tried to explain that there is no nation of Ukraine but only one brotherly nation of Ukrainians and Russians, with whom the West has quarrelled (Dickinson, 2021). Only Russian citizens believed in their propaganda that the people of Ukraine were suffering from the West occupation(Harding, 2022).

After the invasion, Russia failed to sway Ukrainian public opinion, underlining the use of aviation and missiles that inflicted fire damage on civilians and critical infrastructure objects. Generally, this made it impossible to achieve a positive perception of Russia after the facts of crimes against humanity were discovered in Irpin, Buch, Izyum and other de-occupied cities by Ukrainian forces. This intention to establish a positive relationship with Russia was thoroughly refuted after the beginning of the implementation of the strategy of General Giulio Douhet and the beginning of rocket destruction by missiles on elements of critical infrastructure of Ukraine(Schlein, 2022).

In October 2022, about 70% of Ukrainians supported the conduct of hostilities against Russian aggression, up to a complete victory in the end (Liu, 2022). In March 2023, the number of Ukrainians who supported the fight to the end of the success reached 97%, showing the highest result in history (Kizilov 2023).

Russian Armed Forces ultimately failed to gain public opinion in Ukraine, resulting in Ukrainian counteraction,  Russian anti-human crimes against the civil population. Moscow attempted to rich public opinion by force but failed due to a misunderstanding Ukrainian question.

  1. Comparatives analyse of principles of Russian operations in Ukraine(mass, objective, surprise, security, unity of command, offensive, maneuver, economy of force, simplicity). Success or failures in special operations in Ukraine.

Russian armed aggression showed many successful and failed organisational characteristics during these hostilities. However, a complete analysis of the Russian unit’s actions as of April 2023 is challenging to identify because the ongoing hostilities tend to escalate(Nagorski, 2023). After a short pause in the winter, Russia continued accumulating mobilised troops since the fall of 2022 to escalate Ukraine’s conflict further in spring-summer 2023. According to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, O. Reznikov, Russia has mobilised approximately 300-500 thousand military personnel(Kholodnova,2023). About 350 thousand military personnel have already completed training in the territory of Russia and Belarus and arrived in Ukraine to continue conducting future hostilities.

The tactics relevant in the spring of 2022 for Russian units already differed significantly later, showing high adaptability to the current situation to inflict damage on Ukrainian troops or civil infrastructure(Massicot, 2023). Russian decision-making centres offer high professionalism, reflected in their actions, while constantly changing the methods and style of war. For example, when Russia began to inflict fire damage on Ukraine’s energy facilities, it was done only by rocket launchers. With the adaptation of Ukrainian air defence to these challenges and an increase in the percentage of shooting down missiles to 80-90%, Russia began the large-scale use of Iranian-made kamikaze drones in different periods to destroy UA air defence In November 2022, and these drones initially exhausted Ukrainian anti-aircraft defence. At night, new attacks were followed by the immediate launch of missiles, giving no time for Ukrainian subalterns to reload air defence weapon systems.

For a comparative analysis of the activities of Russian armed units in Ukraine, we will apply Clausewitz’s principles of war, which are the basis for achieving success in military operations and are the basis for all wars.

MASS. The purpose of the group is to concentrate the effects of combat power at the place and time to achieve decisive results (3-0, 2001).

In February 2022, Russia concentrated approximately 150-200 000 troops with sufficient armoured vehicles with the support of air and maritime components. This number did not include the 40-50 thousand soldiers of the temporarily occupied Donbas region(Rob Picheta, 2022). This quantity of troops was a significant threat, considering the length of the joint Ukrainian and Russian borders (2,295 km, including the temporarily occupied territories) and Belarus (1,084 km), which showed a mass stretching of the troops. Russia failed to achieve mass superiority over Ukrainian troops, opposing about deployed thousand against 246 thousand (including civilian employees). Therefore, even the minimum numerical advantage in the attacking force of 3:1 was not respected by the attacking side(Wintour, Patrick. 2022).

However, this proportion was corrected by the Russian side in the fall of 2022 after a partial mobilisation, reaching above mentioned number. In January 2023, mobilised units totalling 350,000 Russian troops were redeployed to the territory of Ukraine(The Kyiv Independent News, 2023). Therefore, the principle of mass, given the constant increase in the total number, is a successful component of the Russian army, which, regardless of losses, continues mass attacks to achieve its own goals.

At the end of 2022, the Russian Army received additional reinforcements in the form of the private military company „Wagner”, which recruited its members from prisons and among the civilian population. Approximately 30-50 thousand members were used massively, paying little attention to their losses(Kurmanaev, 2023).

The photo shows Russian infantry units near Soledar before another assault on Ukrainian defence positions.—photo from own archives and published for the first time.

The culmination point was in Soledar and Bahmut, which lost approximately 20-30 000 troops and didn’t seize Bakhmut till April 2023(Landale,2023). Despite its significant losses, the Russian side successfully used this mass function in 2023. Still, a satisfactory result for these losses was not reached due to insufficient preparation and quality of units(Hlushenko,2023).

OBJECTIVE. War’s ultimate purpose is to destroy the enemy’s ability and will to fight by directing every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive and attainable end.

At the beginning of a full-scale invasion, the Russian military goal was not permanent and final in its formation. Russian President V. Putin announced strategic objectives before the attack, but the operational objectives needed to be specified and changed during the campaign. In the initial phase of the Russian invasion, the operational objectives were:

– Kyiv. Ukraine’s capital was the Russian Army’s primary goal, for the implementation of which the units and units of the Western Military District of Russia, which as of 2021 were the most combat-ready military units, were sent. Achieving this goal was aimed at occupying the government quarter of Kyiv, killing the top political leadership of Ukraine, and entirely subordinating the entire government of Ukraine under its control (including the power components)(Watling,2023).

– Donbas. The occupation of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the initial phase had one the decisive meanings because, at that time, there were the most combat-capable Ukrainian units for the execution of the task of the Joint Forces Operation, which was sub-objective in that area. Therefore, it was important for Russian units to occupy Donbas and destroy the will and ability of Ukrainian units to resist.

These goals served as guidelines in the initial phase. However, after failures during the occupation of Kyiv, the Russian decision-making centres focused their goals on the complete occupation of Donbas and the defence of the southern regions of Ukraine. The final focus of the plan was established in November 2022 after a series of defeats by Russian units in the Kharkiv region and the right-bank part of the Kherson region. Since then, Russian units have been concentrating on Donbas’ objective to achieve complete occupation of the territory (Vergun, 2022). Achieving the stated goal is doubtful due to the inability to capture Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, Vugledar and other cities for a long-time(Macias,2023).

Russian side failed to reach this principle due to the absence of clearly defined objectives, which changed several times during the following hostilities.

SURPRISE. It would be best to strike the enemy at a time, place, and manner for which they are unprepared.

This principle must be divided into the following subsections because their meaning cannot be generalised and analysed.

– Military suddenness. Ukraine was first informed about the high probability of an armed escalation in the fall of 2021, which became a starting point for preparing the Defense Forces of Ukraine for a full-scale invasion (Alberto Nardelli, 2021). All Ukrainian HQ, leaders and most readiness units had information about possible plans and were preparing for it(Sheremet, 2022).

– Suddenness for the civilian population was achieved by the enemy as effectively as possible because, officially, Kyiv did not conduct a campaign to warn of a significant level of escalation. This suddenness brought significant disorganisation, which caused shock and incapacity in the frontline areas, which became an additional challenge for the Defense Forces of Ukraine in the beginning phase.

The Ukrainian senior military leadership and decision-making centres expected Russia to start large-scale hostilities in the east and north of Ukraine, mainly deploying forces and considering these forecasts. The most combat-ready Ukrainian units were concentrated in the east of Ukraine, and near Kyiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv attempted to defend large cities. In connection with the limited number of Ukrainian units, only a few were deployed in the Kherson, Zaporizha and Mykolaiv regions. The complete superiority of Russians in the air and a numerical advantage of 15:1 allowed them to quickly capture key cities in the south(Marco, 2022).

Russian units achieved the principle of suddenness in the south of Ukraine, which was later reflected on the map of hostilities and battlefields.

SECURITY. It would be best never to allow the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage. Protection enhances the freedom of action by reducing vulnerability to hostile acts, influence, or surprise—security results from knowing your enemy and solid planning.

After the invasion, a single Russian tactic of advancing units was moving in columns as deep as possible into Ukraine’s territory. The Russian units bypassed the settlements during the advance, surrounding them and leaving them for the internal troops «Rosgvardia», advancing in 2 or 3 echelons. With the further advance, the forward forces remained significantly separated from their rear and support units, which made it impossible to maintain the combat power of the forward troops. Their C2 was restricted due to limited communication capabilities during February-March 2022. This tactic was widely used in northern and northeastern Ukraine in the first phase of the invasion, where wooded areas dominated as obstacles. It was suitable for defence, but obstacles benefited Moscow in southern regions.

However, in general, it can be attributed to Russia’s failed campaign to secure its units from the unexpected actions of the opponent, which was achieved by close cooperation with civil resistance and the efforts of the Ukrainian Armed Forces activities.

UNITY OF COMMAND. For every objective, you must seek the unity of command and unity of effort. Unity of command means that all the forces are under one responsible commander.

In the initial phase, the Russian LCC, MARITIME, SOCC and ACC didn’t integrate and synchronise to common tasks to achieve their end state in an offensive operation. Each component had different missions executed only by the ordered element HQ. In the Russian army, the command and control (C2) system is based on the significant role of the commander, who is generally responsible for the planning and execution of the operation (Grau, 2017). Russian HQ is the primary executor for each mission and supports elements of the commander’s intent. According to Russian military regulations, only a few staff participants in the unit are involved in the operations planning, such as the chief of staff, S2 and S3.

At the initial stage of the invasion, C2 in Russian units was characterised as a relatively rigid model, which consisted of constant control of the actions of their subordinates and did not allow junior commanders to make decisions on the battlefield according to the situation. As a result, tactical-level units expected instructions from the operational command level. The limitation of the functioning of C2 developed the overload of the command branch in Russian commanders, which limited the functioning of units and led to defeats on the battlefield(Ripley,2022).

After establishing a permanent defence line in June-July, Russain C2 was structured and reorganised, combining LCC, MCC, SOCC, ACC, Airborne, and Missile branches in joint headquarters, and started conducting operations in the land, air, cyber and maritime domains. In the initial phase of the Russian invasion, a significant role in the functioning of the strategic and operational C2 was played by political influence on the military decision-making and conducting operations in Ukraine. As a result, Russian C2 showed low readiness for conducting operations in this principle, resulting in heavy losses for the Russian side by senior officers and generals(Murphy,2022).

OFFENSIVE. Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative. Offensive action is the most effective and decisive way to achieve a clearly defined common objective while maintaining freedom of action and achieving decisive results.

The initial initiative, taken by the Russian units immediately after the beginning full-scale invasion, brought significant territorial gains, which were reached by the movement of the units, whose task was not to engage in armed clashes but to penetrate as deep as possible to avoid the fight into the territory of Ukraine. For example, after armour clashes with local territorial defence, Russian forces immediately changed their plans in Bashtanka and Pervomaisk, Mykolaiv region(Rokytna,2022). Subsequently, 108,600 square kilometres (including 44,000 square kilometres of occupied Donbas and Crimea in 2014) were occupied during the Russian invasion.

However, the offensive actions of the Russians in the first weeks of the 2022 invasion gave some advantages for advancing deep into Ukrainian territory. But the Russian offensive spirit in decisive operations could have been realised more effectively, resulting in the low implementation of these concepts. The offensive principle still needs to be reached, resulting in 544 Russian tanks being captured in Ukraine for a one-year invasion, demonstrating the low morale of Russian units(Lendon,2023).

MANUEVER. The deliberate movement of forces about the enemy to gain an advantage. It is used to exploit your successes and to preserve your freedom of action. Manoeuvre is a demonstration of the initiative.

The Russian commanding model is straightforward and needs to provide for the provision of guidelines for the actions of subordinate units and a comprehensive approach to conducting hostilities. Their activity limitations are associated with the C2, low commander’s readiness and communication problems with the higher HQ (Atlamazoglou, 2022).

These options significantly impact the manoeuvrability of Russian units, which cannot perform independently from their higher command after receiving orders. As a result, all movements of Russian units from February 24 to September 2022 were conducted in massive character and demonstrated little initiative on the battlefield, relying on the above HQ. Russian unit movements were massively visible for Ukrainian JISR, allowing them to track further destruction.

Typical movement of Russian convoys of equipment in the battle zone. Photo from own sources and published for the first time.

This tactic ceased in the fall of 2022 due to a new Russian adaptation on the battlefield, which avoided following the significant formation movement. In general, this principle was characterised negatively because this formation was suitable for targeting and predictability for Ukrainian Defense Forces (Axe, 2022).

ECONOMY OF FORCE. This is the opposite of mass. The economy of force is the realisation that one must employ all combat power most effectively and judiciously as possible. Every part of the force must have a purpose.

Russian strategic and operational leadership initially failed to achieve this principle because they concentrated most combat-ready units near the border of Ukraine. Regarding the fast-going campaign of occupying Ukraine, Russian leadership did not account for the armed resistance and bet on special forces giving them an advantage. As a result, since the invasion, the Ukrainian side destroyed approximately 95% of Russian special units, which have estimated time for regaining previous capabilities near ten years(Bailey,2023).

This led to the announcement of partial mobilisation in Russia on 21 September 2022, which confirmed Moscow’s significant losses in the war (McCarthy, 2022). Having used all its adequate combat power in the form of a professional army, as of April 4, 2023, Russia has already lost 175,160 military personnel (Ukrainie’s Armed Forces killed more than 175,000 Russian soldiers, 2023), using 97% of its army in Ukraine, which significantly contradicts the principle of economy of force (Santora, 2023).

According to Russian mobilisation and necessary replacement losses in Ukraine, this fact confirms Moscow’s failures and concepts of the economy of force, which resulted in heavy losses.

SIMPLICITY. Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders to ensure their understanding. Everything in war is straightforward, but the simple thing is difficult. Other factors being equal, parsimony is to be preferred.

Russia was involved in a sufficient number of armed units for invasion, which resulted in complex and multi-action operations on the territory of Ukraine. The main problems of simplicity are based on the existing issues in C2, communication, logistics, and the combination of components under a single leadership, which prevent them from executing multi actions. This principle was confirmed on the working maps of Russian commanders captured by the Ukrainian side during hostilities. The maps show the excessive simplicity of planning, which characterised weak planning, preparation, and execution of the tasks(Express,2022).

In the initial phase of the invasion, Russian units tried to establish their control over the area, occupying as much territory as possible and bringing their forces to the maximum distance from the mainland. After establishing the defence, the tactic was changed to breaking through in a particular area of defence and making maximum efforts to surround the Ukrainian units, thus affecting the morale and psychological condition. This tactic of encircling the opponent’s units was adopted after the Russian-Chechen war when many Russian units were destroyed during the approach to Grozny (Thomas, 2005).

Russian side achieved the simplicity principle because their conditions were not allowed to execute multi-action simultaneously in many places.

  1. New changes in the world’s military concepts.

The Russian-Ukrainian war is the most significant equivalent armed conflict to the Korean War of 1950-1953 in terms of equality among the opposing countries in the number of personnel and weapons in the form of aviation, calibres of artillery and armoured vehicles. The modern world has already rejected the old types of combat, such as combat reconnaissance, tank duels and mass wave attacks of infantry units. By 2023, many countries envisioned the subsequent wars as the wars of the 21st century with the widespread use of unmanned platforms with various advanced types of weaponry.

However, the war started by Russia showed that the technologies of the 21st century are still helpful on the battlefield but have yet to be massively used due to their price and time of production. That is why the further development of military concepts and strategies will be based on the principles of modernity (a wide variety of technologies in various fields) and tactics of the last century.

Today, around 40 countries providing military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine are trying to learn best practices and experience about the Russian-Ukrainian war(Bushmell,2023). Subsequently, after a detailed analysis, these lessons become the basis for changes in military doctrines, strategies, or national guiding documents for countries. The following changes in world military concepts will develop in the following directions, namely:

Tactics of using units, armoured vehicles, and artillery. The Russian-Ukrainian war demonstrates the return of the mass use of infantry units, which operate without the support of armoured vehicles and with extensive usage of batteries. A high artillery level shooting will significantly impact the country’s economy and social situation. The development of technologies and their implementation in the new defence concepts require improvements in the tactics of using units due to the conditions where they will operate.

According to the current situation, armoured vehicles are widely used in conflict, but a tank plays the primary role. Their quantity plays one of the leading roles in the Russian-Ukrainian war, demonstrating significant support to the infantry and contributing firepower to the battlefield. Within the year of the full-scale invasion, Russia lost about 3,300 tanks(Fidler,2023). However, with a developed military-industrial complex and reserves, it will continue intensively engaging them in the war. It means that despite the losses in the war, the military industry is still capable of producing them in the required number.

The photo shows Russian infantry units near Soledar before another assault on Ukrainian defence positions.—photo from own archives and published for the first time.

An additional requirement for a modern battlefield is the quantity of munition for all calibres. During January-April 2023, Russia used an average of 20,000 artillery all calibre shells per day, compared to 60,000 shots during the spring campaign of 2022 (Kube, 2022). The Ukrainian Armed Forces release 4,000-7,000 rounds of various calibres daily in counter-battery fire. These numbers include static rounds and smart, precise ammunition, demonstrating their increasing daily role on the battlefield. The rhythm of using artillery force significantly increases munition production worldwide, which will have the following economic consequences in the future(Mazurenko,2022).

Intelligence, communication and targeting. The current pace of warfare has, from a practical point of view, made improvements to systems that identify a target and destroy it as quickly as possible. The first who identifies, transmit, and engages the target is ultimately the winner on the battlefield. These combinations require constant development of the technologies involved in the process and their protection from the enemy’s influence on functioning. Today, the standard and practical algorithm for effective work is based on the following scheme:

  1. Reconnaissance (detection of the target) is conducted using unmanned platforms, advanced unit observers, or other sources of information to determine the target’s type, composition, intention, and adversary course of action.
  2. Communication is required to transfer the fastest and most accurate data from the first group to the following destruction. Extensive use in Ukrainian units is the Starlink system, which does not require significant requirements for functioning.
  3. Targeting – includes all available kinetic capabilities to damage or reduce their strength.

This combination of current sub-directions provides the Ukrainian armies with the most accurate and effective attack on the threat, significantly saving scarce types of ammunition. Ukraine has integrated the DELTA system, the most effective system for managing situational awareness on the battlefield and coordinating the above activities (Danylov, 2022).

Unmanned aerial vehicles. Modern warfare today is only possible to imagine with unmanned platforms, which provide an accurate JISR on the battlefield. The most popular types in the Russian-Ukrainian war are civilian drones, such as DJI and AUTEL, which are cheap compared to their military counterparts. This unmanned platform provides tactical and operational situational awareness and can be replaced for a low price. Military analogues have a much higher price but are more resistant to external disruption but are at a higher price and dependable logistics.

The Russian-Ukrainian war showed broad use of unmanned platforms in three domains: Air, Land and Maritime, which have already influenced the strategic theatre of war(Axe,2022). Their role is extremely high due to achieved losses on both sides because low-cost platforms brought high-cost effects in operational and strategic operations(Lister,2022).

  1. Conclusion.

Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine became a significant challenge to the security situation in the world. The Russian-Ukrainian war became the driver of radical geopolitical shifts and changes, again showing the need to review military doctrines and the effectiveness of weapons. These trends became the basis for changes in current principles and development strategies focused on conducting short operations with minimal consequences for the civilian population. The beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia proves that modern wars can completely resemble the First and Second World Wars of the last century but with modern weapons.

This analytical article examines Russia’s successes and failures as of 24 February 2022, based on Clausewitz’s principles of war. The table presents all the researched principles of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which were conducted within one year of a full-scale invasion, namely:

Principles of war Mass Objective Surprise Security Unity of command Offensive Manoeuvre Economy of force Simplicity
+ + +

According to the table, the success of the Russian units was achieved in mass, surprise, and simplicity, which allowed them to occupy the limited territories of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. However, these achievements were reached by the numerous armoured vehicles, the right chosen time for surprise actions in an overly simplistic manner without detailed planning, preparation, and execution. After the Ukrainian counter-offensive operations in Kharkiv and Kherson regions, these Russian principles were reduced and retook the initiative from the Russian side.

The rest of the failures reached by the Russian side by the disinformation, which was aimed against Ukraine since 2014 but was eventually accepted by them, forced them to believe their propaganda. Russian self-deception has been the root cause of massive failures on the battlefields in Ukraine and will lead to Russia’s total defeat in future.

But top Russian leadership is flexible and demonstrates capabilities to apply to current challenges on the battlefield. That’s why relevant tactics and described concepts nowadays will develop in nature or change after future development.

Current hostilities are ongoing; Ukraine’s international partners are already proclaiming the Kremlin’s complete defeat and international isolation, which is only a matter of time today.

Dudko Volodymyr (Fenix)

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