en English
en Englishes Spanishpt Portuguesear Arabicht Haitian Creolezh-TW Chinese (Traditional)


Your Local Online News Source for Over 3 Decades

The War in Ukraine

THE OLD SACHEM Bill Stewart-2
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

~ The Old Sachem ~

  Having served three years in the National Guard, followed by three years of active duty in the US Army, with two years served in Japan, I know something of the military situation in the world, and have recently focused on the war in Ukraine.

  The US and NATO currently support the military of Ukraine with needed supplies, including military weapons. The supply includes armaments for shelling Russian forces and also anti-aircraft to defeat drones from Iran given to Russia to use in Ukraine.

  I have looked at the long-range situation, and I don’t believe it looks well for the Ukrainians. Russia had a population of approximately 147.2 million for the 2021 census. Ukraine for the same year had approximately 43.81 million. Russia then has a 3 to 1 ratio of people, which means that their military can withstand severe losses in their battles with the Ukraine. Russia has the world’s fifth largest military of 900,000 personnel and 2 million reservists. Ukraine, on the other hand, has 200,000 active troops and 900,000 reservists.

  Russia requires one-year active service for men 18 to 27 years of age and allows men to remain in force through reenlistment. Recently Putin enacted a law that allows men over 40 to enlist because of the conflict. The Russians have lost about 30,000 troops in the war and are expected to lose many more as the war continues. The Russian military has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and the second-largest fleet of nuclear powered submarines. Russia is one of only three nations to be ready to deploy strategic bombers. Only the US and China outclass them.

  However, Russian forces suffer from endemic corruption, which results in the weakening of combat performance and severe logistical failures in their warring forces. Researchers from the Rand Corporation recently observed that the Russian military continues to struggle with army professionalism, and different branches of service struggle to work together.

  When we look to the Ukrainians, we find a commitment to preserving their independence in the face of Russian intervention. The nation has forbidden men from 18 years old to 60 years from leaving the country; they need every capable body to divert the Russian threat. The number of potential men for action is about 470,400 in 2021. The nation has had about 270,000 active personnel in 2022, and 40,100 deployed personnel in 2021. Their forces include several thousand volunteers coming from many nations who want to see the Ukrainians succeed. The nation has about 53,000 border guards and a National Guard of 60,000.

  In January 2021 the nation had 21,930 births and 57,720 deaths. In January 2022 it was 18,062 births and 57,248 deaths.

  Sooner or later the US and NATO have to decide what to do in Ukraine. Do we sit by and watch the Russians survive substantial losses while still able to compete or do we intervene? If we do intervene, do we provide troops to thwart the Russians or do we supply a large amount of various types of weapons and materials and watch them force Russian forces to commit even larger amounts of soldiers to keep up the action? Then there is the larger threat from Putin to utilize nuclear weapons which change the war immensely.

  One possibility would be NATO to place border guards between Russia and Ukraine who are not committed to action unless fired upon. This could be used to ensure no further Russian troops are deployed by crossing the border, and would allow Russian forces to leave without forcing action.

  Sooner or later NATO must decide how to face the situation; do we let Ukraine be diminished by Russian forces or do we commit to saving Ukraine? The question is up for debate and implementation.

  (Editor’s Note: Bill Stewart, better known to Saugus Advocate readers as “The Old Sachem, writes a weekly column about sports – and sometimes he opines on current events.)

Contact Advocate Newspapers