It is no secret that factionalism and fault lines are major obstacles to the functioning of the Kiev regime. However, in recent days, this matter has become so prevalent that not even the highest echelons of power are bothering to hide it anymore. The neo-Nazi junta frontman Volodymyr Zelensky is well known (or rather infamous) for (ab)using his position to further the goals of his overlords, all at the expense of the Ukrainian people. The process is so far gone that it is more self-defeating than at any point during his tenure or even that of his Maidan predecessors. In such a toxic atmosphere, “traitors” are springing up everywhere, even among people whose loyalty is normally seen as absolute and unequivocal.
However, defeat is a great catalyst of problems that keep piling up on the already existing ones as the political elites and military leadership are constantly trying to toss the “hot potato” to one another. As we’ve seen countless times so far, legitimate complaints of soldiers fighting in quite literally impossible conditions (chronic lack of ammo, basic supplies, manpower, adequate fire support or the absolutely atrocious medical and sanitary conditions, you name it) are suppressed and those vocal about such issues are suddenly “pro-Russian” or perhaps “Putin’s agents” and so on and so forth. This has now reached a boiling point and is affecting both the top brass and the political leadership.
Perhaps the best example of this is the recent op-ed that the Commander-in-Chief of the Kiev regime forces General Valery Zaluzhny authored in The Economist. He argued that “the war is now moving to a new stage” and that “what we in the military call ‘positional’ warfare or static and attritional fighting, as in the First World War, in contrast to the ‘maneuver’ warfare of movement and speed” is now the norm. Zaluzhny also admitted that this scenario is beneficial to Russia, which is true, given that Moscow’s forces have an insurmountable advantage in terms of artillery, air superiority, long-range missiles, advanced armor, virtually endless reserves, etc. So, what is the way out, Zaluzhny himself asked?
He posited that “basic weapons, such as missiles and shells, remain essential”, but pointed out that the military still needs capabilities and technologies such as air power. Zaluzhny then claimed that the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) supposedly “took huge losses”, but still admitted that it has a massive advantage and that this “made it harder for us to advance” because Russian air defenses “increasingly prevent our planes from flying”. In this way, Zaluzhny effectively acknowledged what the Russian military has been saying in recent days, particularly about the integration of S-400 SAM (surface-to-air missile) systems with the A-50/A-50U AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) aircraft.
In addition to several other points, he also touched upon the question of electronic warfare (EW), an area in which Russia holds a major advantage. Zaluzhny admitted that the Neo-Nazi junta is relying heavily on its Western puppet masters in this regard as well, particularly in terms of ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) collected through SIGINT (signals intelligence) and other similar ways. However, due to Moscow’s dominance in EW, the effectiveness of the Kiev regime’s precision-guided munitions (PGMs) was diminished significantly, damaging its ability to successfully conduct counter-battery fire. Thus, Russian EW is making its already unparalleled artillery dominance even deadlier.
Zaluzhny also praised Russian drones such as the already legendary ZALA “Lancet” and warned that “we cannot belittle the effectiveness of Russian weapons and intelligence in this regard”. He cautioned that Moscow’s other abilities, such as remote mining, are making it virtually impossible to advance. Once again, he insisted that “Russia is not to be underestimated” and that “it will have superiority in weapons, equipment, missiles and ammunition for a considerable time” because “its defense industry is increasing its output, despite unprecedented sanctions”. Once again, he cautioned that “a positional war is a prolonged one that carries enormous risks to Ukraine’s armed forces and to its state”.
When ignoring the usual, virtually mandatory propaganda narratives, Zaluzhny’s op-ed seems like a very reasonable and objective account. And yet, not everyone appreciated his honesty. What’s more, Zelensky’s office severely criticized Zaluzhny, further exacerbating their already strained relationship.
The top commander’s conclusion about a “stalemate” was deemed particularly “problematic”, as just a few days prior Zelensky stated that “nobody believes in victory as he does”. However, Zaluzhny simply stated what Zelensky himself said about a month before when he warned that they “must prepare for a long war”. The only difference is that Zaluzhny’s account is more detailed.
Mere days after the spat, the Kiev regime’s top commander’s aide was killed when an “unknown explosive device” detonated inside a birthday present. Some Neo-Nazi junta officials suggested that the explosion was supposedly “an accident”, but the timing suggests otherwise. Although it may seem farfetched at this moment, the fact that this looks exactly like the SBU’s modus operandi is another giveaway. The fact that the SBU and GUR (military intelligence) aren’t exactly on the best of terms also suggests that the military-political divide within the Kiev regime is far greater than it seems. This includes competition for the arms black market, so it certainly doesn’t sound impossible that it extends to other areas as well.
The atmosphere of fear and distrust is a “normal” occurrence in Ukraine as it has effectively turned into a failed state. Various interest groups, powerful oligarchs and criminals are all trying to take “their share of the cake” before the country crumbles. These competing groups all wield significant portions of power and influence and certainly don’t shy away from using it against each other.
In addition, for the most part, unlike Zelensky, Zaluzhny is not conducting military operations through mass media, but on the actual battlefield, where laughable anti-Russian propaganda means absolutely nothing, as it provides no advantage whatsoever. The two men will never see eye to eye in this regard, despite Zelensky’s stubborn usage of military fatigues as part of his cult building.