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Flawed planning undermines Russia’s warfare against Ukraine: report

18.12.2022 10:00
Flawed Russian planning assumptions and campaign design decisions plagued Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from its onset, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US think tank.
Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin.PAP/EPA/Mikhael Klimentyev

The ISW made the assessment in its latest report on the war in Ukraine, published on Saturday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The Washington-based think tank said it has “long assessed that faulty Russian planning assumptions, campaign design decisions, and Russian violations of Russia’s own military doctrine undermined Russian operations,” adding that a recent New York Times investigation supports the longstanding assessment.

The ISW noted that "The NYT acquired and published logbooks, timetables, orders, and other documents of elements of the 76th Airborne Division and 1st Guards Tank Army related to the early days of the war on December 16.”

The documents demonstrate that Russian military planners expected Russian units to be able to capture significant Ukrainian territory with little to no Ukrainian military opposition,” the ISW said.

The US experts also said the NYT investigation is in line with the think tank’s previous assessment “that Russian strategic commanders have been micromanaging operational commanders' decisions on tactical matters and that Russian morale is very low.”

According to the ISW, “Russian soldiers in Belarus did not know they were going to attack Ukraine until February 23—the day before the invasion—and … some soldiers did not know about the invasion until one hour before the invasion began.”

The ISW also quoted a Russian general as saying that “the lack of a unified Russian theater command meant there was “no unified planning of actions and command [and control].”