On the Ukrainian sides, the information shared by Kupol has apparently generated a lot of negative reactions but now that he has been dismissed, many people disagree with this decision.
I guess the evolution on the battle field in the next few weeks will close these debates. My take is that even if what Kupol is saying is true, he is probably not in a position to make an overall assessment of the state of the Ukrainian army. But this is at least an invitation to refrain from overly optimistic predictions regarding the course of this war.
He's not the only one raising concerns. I haven't shared many previous such comments here, because it is difficult to translate individual comments into an overall assessment, and because it's not popular, and often misinterpreted as more broad of a criticism than intended.
However, I have been seeing concerns about Ukraine's command and communications since very early on in the war, and have retrospectively noticed some of it going back before the war. Ukraine has been working hard on transforming their military since 2014, but it's difficult process, and some of the issues were, I would presume, not clear until the need for reform was demonstrated in larger scale combat than what occurred in 2014. It became more urgent, but not easier, to reform the way the armed forces of Ukraine function once the war started.
I recall one article from last spring or perhaps early summer describing major challenges coordinating artillery support with frontline needs, which I believe they have made major progress on since then. More recently, I think in part as the lines have become static, and allowed some time to evaluate the more stable situation without having to react to the latest major development, a variety of different inputs have arisen.
In Bakhmut, for example, I have encountered many comments questioning the decision to continue defending Bakhmut, and suggesting the casualty ratio is not as favorable to Ukraine as stated (and this is not based on Russian propaganda). Another article here discusses lack of operational flexibility driven by centralized decision making:https://www.economist.com/by-invitation ... ary-expert
And this very long article from last month by a British Lt. colonel who was one of the military advisors to Ukraine after 2014 discusses a series of concerns that remain:https://maidan.org.ua/en/2023/02/glen-g ... boundaries
A group of American defense analysts including Rob Lee and Michael Kofman, in case anyone wants to look into their background, recently returned from a visit to Ukraine and have hinted at some similar concerns, although I suspect they are under an agreement regarding what they may publish and when, as they have so far shared very little detail.
All of this and more are reasons why I have several times tried to temper high expectations for the upcoming months. I do still think Ukraine will launch a significant counteroffensive, and I have high hopes they will make significant gains this summer that put to shame what Russia has accomplished since withdrawing from western Kherson, but I'm hesitant to hope for as strategically important of an achievement as reaching the Sea of Azov, for example, and thereby dividing Russia's forces between the Donbas and Crimea.
Excerpts from the maidan.org.ua piece I linked to:
Despite the maxim of “we trust in the ZSU” this organisation cannot be perfect having grown and changed so dramatically in such a short time. If it is possible to improve things then there should be no reason to continue with policies and practices that add extra risks of death to troops, damage morale and may even have longer term adverse political consequences.
Possibly the biggest problem for the ZSU leadership is developing a new army culture. A culture of every life matters. Every day the army is filling up with more people with no previous military background.
Like the Finns in the winter war, they wish to be an “intelligent” force allowed to use their brains, different skills, self-motivation, and initiative and to be led intelligently not blindly ordered.