- The Washington Times - Friday, March 11, 2022

Russia and Ukraine have about 90% of their combat power still available for use after two weeks of intense fighting since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of its much smaller neighbor.

Moscow still has a significantly larger pool of weapons to draw from, the Pentagon said.

A senior Defense Department official confirmed reports that Russian missiles struck airfields in Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine. The development comes as Russia has been making only limited progress in its primary campaign in the east.

The Pentagon said it was notable that the two Ukrainian airfields were struck on the same day but couldn’t confirm the type of munitions that were used. The Defense officials said the missile strike could be characterized as “long-range.”

“They wanted to eliminate Ukraine’s ability to use these airfields. But I don’t know what the damage is,” the official told reporters at the Pentagon.

Russia launched more than 800 missiles of all types since the invasion began on Feb. 24. About half were fired from locations inside Ukraine’s borders but under Moscow’s control. It wasn’t immediately clear if the missile attacks on the airbases signal a widening of the war effort, which so far has been focused in eastern Ukraine, officials said.

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While Russia has had no hesitancy about attacking civilian targets such as maternity hospitals, they are continuing to face a “stiff and determined” Ukrainian resistance on the battlefield.

Ukraine’s troops are being very strategic about how they’re defending their homeland. They’re moving resources around to where they’re most needed, a sign of an adaptive and nimble grasp of military tactics, Pentagon officials said.

“They’re applying the pressure where they need to apply it to slow the Russians down,” the Defense Department officials said. “We don’t believe the Russian intelligence apparatus fully factored in the degree there was going to be resistance.”

The Russians haven’t been able to successfully integrate air and ground operations or logistics support since the invasion began. The most blatant example of the failure may be the massive supply convoy that has been stalled on the road to Kyiv since the war began. It has yet to make any meaningful contribution to the Russian invasion, according to the Pentagon analysis.

Some of the vehicles have moved off the road to seek cover in the tree line. 

“The Ukrainians continue to find ways to attack,” the Defense Department official said. 

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• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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