The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), Valery Zaluzhny, said on Tuesday that the Ukrainian army needs more people, ammunition and weapons to continue fighting. He promised that the AFU will have a different approach to technology in the new year, but warned that the Russians could turn Avdiivka “or any city into Bakhmut in a matter of months,” without the requisite technology and new recruits.
“The year 2024 will not just be different, it must be different, because otherwise we will face [the sorts of issues] I wrote about in the [recent Economist] article,” Zaluzhny said. “We have identified the problems, and we have already found about 90 percent of the solutions. Therefore, we must resolve to act more efficiently next year, most importantly, to save human lives,” he said.
Zaluzhny told reporters that Russia is not far behind the AFU in technological innovations on the battlefield, and in recent days a powerful confrontation has been going on using various technologies on both sides. Without sufficient resources to combat them, the AFU may not be able to defend Avdiivka, he said.
“Every piece of our land is dear to us, whether it’s Bakhmut or Avdiivka. We will defend our land as fiercely as possible. But if we do not have not enough forces on this end, it is better to preserve our people’s lives,” he said.
“Of course, we will make such a decision and preserve people’s lives, and then regain territory,” Zaluzhny said. “The enemy has the opportunity to amass forces, including artillery and aviation, in any sector, and they can turn any city into another Bakhmut in a matter of two to three months.”
As an example of one lamentable loss, he pointed to the Donetsk town of Marinka, which essentially “no longer exists.”
“Our official position is that we protect every bit of our land, every bit of it, but if enemy shells start to dig this place together with stones, with soil and with our soldiers, then the lives of our soldiers are more important to us,” the military chief said. “Marinka has been holding on for almost two years, and it has been destroyed by the enemy, street by street and house by house. As of today, our forces are still in the northern part of the town and have prepared a defensive line near the settlement, but I can say that this settlement no longer exists.”
In terms of concrete proposals on what can be done in 2024, Zaluzhny said that the General Staff of the Armed Forces has not yet made any such suggestions directly to the Cabinet of Ministers or to Parliament, and of course are not able to submit any draft legislation. At the same time, he said, the Armed Forces have been working directly with the Ministry of Defense to help craft solutions.
“Our specialists also participated in working groups, and in this work they primarily ensured … that certain points were not adopted at the legislative level that could interfere with activities of the military command,” Zaluzhny clarified.
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