11.08.2023 – Translated from Ukrainian via Google and OFP
The offensive of the Ukrainian army continues. One of the tasks is to cut the land corridor between Russia and the occupied Crimea and reach the coast of the Sea of Azov. However, there are three directions in which the Defense Forces will try to achieve this goal. This opinion was expressed in an exclusive interview with OBOZREVATEL by the former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Igor Romanenko.
– Today, forecasts are being voiced that the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the coming months may reach the Sea of Azov or the Crimean Isthmus. What do you think should be the top priority?
“Now you don’t have to prioritize like that. The decision on the priority of the direction must be taken where it will work best. As far as I understand, this is exactly how the General Staff operates.
Look, in order to cut off the land corridor of the enemy, we are conducting operations in the Melitopol and Berdyansk directions. For the third month, heavy fighting continues. But our Defense Forces have already overcome the enemy’s support zone, reached the enemy’s first line of defense, and are striking at the second. Here we have certain perspectives.
That’s where the reserves are coming in. Realizing the seriousness of our approach, the enemy is trying to transfer his reserves there, in particular, to stabilize the situation in the Rabotino area, to strengthen positions in the Melitopol and Berdyansk directions. Our Defense Forces skillfully move from offensive to defensive actions, counterattacks and so on. You can add the Kherson direction, because it stretches the enemy’s troops, his reserves, and there are not so many of them.
Thus, it is necessary to act in three directions: Melitopol, Berdyansk, Kherson. Wherever there are better prospects and opportunities, and when new resources arrive, which have already been agreed with our allies – in armored vehicles, shells, demining vehicles – to act in at least two directions. See where it will turn out better, and introduce operational reserves there first, and then, perhaps, strategic ones.
– A question about drones. We see how seriously today the Russian Federation is increasing their production. At the same time, NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that Ukraine has a special program for the production of drones, including marine drones, and one can be proud of this program. In your estimation, in this “war of drones” can Ukraine get a serious advantage in the coming months?
– A serious advantage cannot be expected yet, but it is necessary to step up efforts. In the total number of drones, the Russians have caught up with us and overtaken us – they have tens of thousands of drones, especially Lancets and others. Realizing that this should not be the case, the government allocated 50 billion for drones.
Military world science shows that in the future the proportion of drones operating in the air, on land, on water and under water will increase. And we see this in our war, and therefore we are building up such efforts.But Russia is a large resource state, catching up and overtaking it is the wrong approach. I think we need to fight for quality. Our drones must be better, more resistant to the effects of enemy electronic warfare. In addition, we need to develop devices that suppress enemy drones.
We already have some developments, and the allies are helping us with this. The only question is how to put it on stream and provide it to our Armed Forces as soon as possible. There is such a prospect, they are working on it.
As far as naval drones are concerned, we have already entered world military history when we successfully attacked a couple of Russian ships at the naval base in Sevastopol, which was supposedly absolutely protected. The strikes were very successful both on the ship and on the tanker in the port of Novorossiysk.Near Novorossiysk, there is a vulnerable Russian oil hub in the sea, through which large volumes of oil pass (see map). That is, if you actively strike from the air and by sea against these facilities, then Russia will lose more there than it will gain by withdrawing from the grain deal.
Therefore, in the grain deal negotiations, we need to raise the stakes, since we have the opportunity to significantly complicate Russia’s oil exports thanks to these drones.
By the way, these drones have already been shown at an exhibition in Turkey, they were shown to the world media. This is a very efficient project.
There is a confrontation, there is a struggle. We must use the weakness of the enemy’s defenses to show that we will influence his maritime policy of the southern ports, which are more significant for him in terms of money than the grain corridor for us.
– We are seeing successful drone attacks in Moscow. If we take the capital of the aggressor country Russia, what objects would be the highest priority for attacks?
– In principle, any that we reach, given the level of development of our air drones. But first of all, these are military facilities. Ministry of Defense of Russia, intelligence, enterprises for the production of military products. Moreover, if these objects are located near, for example, airports, then as a result of attacks they are closed. Both the objects of attacks themselves and Russian citizens should feel this. It is very important that moral and psychological pressure on the “deep people” be carried out in this way.
But first of all, military installations are important for us, of course. War is war, and the enemy must feel the law of the boomerang in action.