RIGA - If Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to achieve his previously stated goals, he will need to conduct land operations, military adviser to Defense Minister Artis Pabriks and former National Armed Forces (NAF) Commander Raimonds Graube told LETA, adding that the war Putin has launched in an absolute military gamble.
In Graube's view, the Russian invasion is a military gamble which will bring great casualties, and Putin himself cannot predict how this endeavor will end.
If Putin believes that with long-range missile strikes he will be able to destroy the military infrastructure and destroy the defenses of the Ukrainians, he is deeply mistaken, Graube emphasized. Russia, of course, has military superiority over certain weapons systems, but it must also control the occupied territory if it wants to win, Graube explained.
Graube cannot imagine a situation in which Putin would agree to a ceasefire and withdraw troops from Ukraine. "This means that the war on the ground will continue and there the fight will be much more equal. It will bring casualties," Graube added.
"I do not see the possibility of achieving a military victory by defeating the troops, occupying the capital and then forming a loyal government. One must agree that the battle in the cities will be even more difficult if we remember the example of the Chechen war," Graube added.
Graube does not think that Putin will achieve his goals by destroying only the military infrastructure and then dictating rules that are in his interests. That will not be enough for Putin to achieve his goals. "To achieve the great geopolitical goal, it is not theoretically possible to achieve it without land-based operations in cities," Graube added.
Russia may destroy Ukraine's basic defense capabilities, but unit-level resistance will remain, including through elements of guerrilla warfare. At the same time, Graube admitted that Russia is also performing deceptive maneuvers to reduce its losses.
In view of the above, Graube believes that in the next 24 hours there will be more clarity about the real objectives of the military operation. "Now it all depends on Ukraine's military ability to resist, but the destruction of military facilities will not be enough to break the resistance," Graube added.
Another unknown factor in this war is how the first fallen Russian soldiers will perceived by Russian society, which is certainly more knowledgeable than it seems and does not live under total information control.