RIGA - Russia is still preparing for a long war with Ukraine, the director of the Latvian National Defense Academy's Security and Strategic Research Center Toms Rostoks told TV3 this morning, commenting the situation on the front.
Rostoks noted that Russia is ramping up production of artillery ammunition and tanks, and unfortunately they are "relatively successful". Russia also still has enough money at its disposal to both partially circumvent sanctions to support its military industry and to buy offensive munitions.
At the same time, the expert is not worried about "war fatigue" in Western countries. In his opinion, this is not really the case at the moment, but it is another matter whether the support provided by the West will be sufficient for the Ukrainians to succeed in recapturing their territories.
In his view, the biggest risk in the context of Western support for Ukraine is the outcome of the upcoming US presidential elections.
Rostoks noted that Ukraine has not achieved the goals it had initially hoped for in this summer's counter-offensive. Even now, experts disagree on whether or not Ukraine will succeed in breaking Russia's defensive lines this year, both because Russia has hardened its defenses and because Ukraine has not been given all the weapons it needs to do better.
So there is no real breaking of defensive lines at the moment, and it looks as if Russia is managing to re-fortify itself in places of losses, despite all their problems and heavy losses.
According to the expert, Ukraine is continuing its tactic of trying to "break down" the Russian defenses with small combat units. For a greater counter-attacking power they would have to gather larger forces together, but then there would be the risk that such groups would be heavily bombed and "no wet spot would be left behind".
Rostoks acknowledged that there is a high risk that Russia will resume bombing Ukraine's energy infrastructure in the coming winter. The capacity of these attacks is difficult to assess at the moment, as it is difficult to estimate to what extent the Russians have been able to restock missiles and attack drones, but the Ukrainians have better air defense systems compared to last year.