If the United States ever thought that fighting (and defeating) Russia was easy, Ukraine offers a glimpse into what it takes to fight Moscow. Ukrainians have endured artillery bombardment that the U.S. hasn’t seen since the second World War. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe, said Ukrainians have taught a lot to the U.S. forces about what it takes to fight Russia.
Ukraine’s troops ‘have done stuff we’ve never seen’
The American 173rd Airborne Brigade is training the Ukrainian National Guard outside Lviv. Speaking of the Ukrainian troops, Hodges said, “All of these guys are veterans.” He told reporters that he was talking to the U.S. officers who had been with the Ukrainians to know the ground reality. The U.S. officers were like, “Wow, these guys, they’ve done stuff we’ve never seen, [never] been exposed to that level of violence. So we’ve actually learned a lot from them.”
The U.S. forces are learning about the nature of the next war. Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in Ukraine, which is hard to believe after a plethora of evidence. Moscow is engaged in a ‘hybrid war,’ combining conventional and guerrilla strategies. Russia provides arms to separatists, and sends its troops without insignia.
What the U.S. forces haven’t faced for years are high-intensity tactics like jamming, massed artillery, and tanks. Russia has also been providing separatists with small arms, artillery rockets, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and everything in between, said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges.
How Ukraine uses the counter-mortar radar
Though the U.S. is still exploring the possibility of providing lethal arms to Ukraine, it has provided Kiev a counter-mortar radar that detects incoming rounds and figures out where they are coming from. Hodges said the Ukrainians were using these radars in ways the U.S. never realized possible. Ukraine’s tactics with these radars have been so successful that Russia is now trying to destroy them.
While the U.S. Army’s electronic warfare is limited to short-range jammers, Russia has taken electronic warfare to a whole new level with intercepting, jamming, and deceiving radio communications and radars. These systems were deployed in Crimea, said Hodges.