Russian paratroopers, March 2022

'A Serious Failure': Scale of Russia’s Military Blunders Becomes Clear

March 12, 2022
Sam Jones, John Paul Rathbone and Demetri Sevastopulo

This is a summary of an article originally published by the Financial Times.

The authors, correspondents for the Financial Times, write that "Russia’s intended campaign—an assault strike predicated on speed and Ukrainian political weakness—has tipped into a joint combat operation requiring logistical and communications planning that does not seem to have been in place," according to analysts. The authors observe that when "Russian commanders realized they needed to pivot to using more serious firepower, they did so chaotically," resulting in "huge columns of tanks and artillery [moving] forward, but the Ukrainians blew up bridges, causing advances to stall." Similarly, the authors point out that on the ground, "the thousands of anti-tank missiles Western powers have been supplying to Ukraine for weeks have proved effective, with mobile foot soldiers able to ambush and attack isolated advanced clusters of Russian light vehicles and stationary heavy units stuck in columns with unprotected flanks.”

The authors highlight that the "biggest question that continues to perplex analysts, though, is why Russia has still not made use of its vastly superior air power to better protect its forces, and reverse the debacle on the ground.” Additionally, the authors cite a retired senior British intelligence officer who argues that the present danger is that in seeking to extricate itself from its tactical disasters in Ukraine, Moscow "'blunders into a strategic dead-end with even worse consequences’—for Ukraine, and possibly the world.”


Sam Jones

Sam Jones is the Australia and Switzerland correspondent for the Financial Times.


John Paul Rathbone

John Paul Rathbone is the defence and security correspondent at the Financial Times.


Demetri Sevastopulo

Demetri Sevastopulo is the US-China correspondent for the Financial Times.

The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author. Photo by shared under a Creative Commons license.