French Defense Reports Acknowledge Ukraine Is Done With

by | Mar 13, 2024

The French president Macron has recently pushed for an engagement of foreign troops in Ukraine. The idea was immediately rejected by every country that would be able to send a reasonable number.

The question is why Macron suddenly came out with this.

A series of recent reports from the French defense establishment might have caused his irritation.

The French magazine Marianne got access to “several confidential defense reports” from the French army on the situation in Ukraine.

Guerre en Ukraine : de la prudence à l’affolement… Ce que cache le virage de Macron (archived) – Marianne, Mar 7 2024

Arnaud Bertrand has translated large parts of it:

The situation looks exceedingly bleak for Ukraine, which might in part explain Macron’s recent declarations around sending troops to Ukraine. I translated the important parts of the article:

‘A Ukrainian military victory now seems impossible’

The reports Marianne consulted write that Ukraine’s counter-offensive ‘gradually bogged down in mud and blood and did not result in any strategic gain’ and that its planning, conceived by Kiev and Western general staffs, turned out to be ‘disastrous’: ‘Planners thought that once the first Russian defense lines were breached, the entire front would collapse […] These fundamental preliminary phases were conducted without considering the moral forces of the enemy in defense: that is, the will of the Russian soldier to hold onto the terrain’.

The reports also highlight ‘the inadequacy of the training of Ukrainian soldiers and officers’: due to a lack of officers and a significant number of veterans, these ‘Year II soldiers’ from Ukraine – often trained for ‘no more than three weeks’ – were launched into an assault on a Russian fortification line that proved impregnable.

Somehow people who had never heard of the Battle of Kursk convinced themselves that Russian soldiers in defensive positions would run away as soon as they would hear a tank rumbling towards them. They of course did not do so.

These Russian troops are well managed and cared for:

The reports also highlight that contrary to Ukraine ‘the Russians have managed their reserve troops well, to ensure operational endurance.’ According to this document, Moscow reinforces its units before they are completely worn out, mixes recruits with experienced troops, ensures regular rest periods in the rear… and ‘always had a coherent reserve force to manage unforeseen events.’ This is far from the widespread idea in the West of a Russian army sending its troops to the slaughter without counting…

The Ukrainians on the other side are done with:

‘To date, the Ukrainian general staff does not have a critical mass of land forces capable of inter-arms maneuver at the corps level capable of challenging their Russian counterparts to break through its defensive line,’ concludes this confidential defense report, according to which ‘the gravest error of analysis and judgment would be to continue to seek exclusively military solutions to stop the hostilities‘. A French officer summarizes: ‘It is clear, given the forces present, that Ukraine cannot win this war militarily.

The fall of Avdeevka has shown that the Ukrainian military, even on the defensive, will inevitably lose the fight:

‘The Ukrainian armed forces have tactically shown that they do not possess the human and material capabilities […] to hold a sector of the front that is subjected to the assailant’s effort,’ continues the document. ‘The Ukrainian failure in Avdiivka shows that, despite the emergency deployment of an ‘elite’ brigade – the 3rd Azov Air Assault Brigade –, Kiev is not capable of locally restoring a sector of the front that collapses,’ alerts this last report.

In consequence the Russian forces will simply move on:

What the Russians will do with this tactical success remains to be seen. Will they continue in the current mode of ‘nibbling and slowly shaking’ the entire front line, or will they seek to ‘break through in depth’? ‘The terrain behind Avdiivka allows it,’ signals this recent document, also warning that Western sources tend to ‘underestimate’ the Russians, themselves adept at the practice of ‘Maskirovka,’ ‘appearing weak when strong.’ According to this analysis, after two years of war, Russian forces have thus shown their ability to ‘develop operational endurance’ that allows them to wage ‘a slow and long-intensity war based on the continuous attrition of the Ukrainian army.’

There is nothing really new in the above for people who have followed the facts on the ground.

So why were western media, and politicians like Macron, late in recognizing the real situation?

Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.