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Russian troops’ poor performance and low morale may worsen during a winter of more discontent

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By Liam Collins United States Military Academy West Point 

It is easy to see that the Russian troops are digging trenches to prepare themselves for a winter standoff. This would lead to the conclusion that fighting in Ukraine will slow down until the ground thaws in spring.

However, evidence from the Ukrainian battlefields points to a different trajectory.

I am a U.S. Special Forces officer and a former field researcher on the 2008 and 2014 wars between Georgia and Ukraine. This war has shown that only one side can execute effective combat maneuvers. The Ukrainians will launch a large-scale counteroffensive late in winter, when the ground is still frozen.

Winter’s impact on war

The winter is a time when fighting has been slower than usual.

Weapons and other equipment can freeze up in extreme cold, and it’s much more difficult to shoot a weapon while wearing thick gloves.

The shortening of days is a problem. Despite technological advancements, the majority of fighting in this war took place during the day.

However, the Ukrainian military may experience a different winter this year.

First, Ukrainian winters do not get nearly as cold or snowy as some believe.

Donetsk, for instance, has an average temperature…



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