GLOBSEC: How to beat Russia? What armed forces in NATO should learn from Ukraine’s homeland defense

2023-02-28 | Expert publications

By Nico Lange, Prof. Carlo Masala, General Pavel Macko.

Russia continues its war of aggression against Ukraine, yet its forces are already defeated. Against the resistance of Ukrainians and its allies’ support, Russia has achieved almost none of its military goals. Evidently, Ukraine will prevail.

The Ukrainians have made it clear: Russian aggression is defeatable. This is due to two main reasons: the involvement of the entire Ukrainian society in homeland defence and the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ excellent military and leadership skills. Extraordinary bravery, creativity, astonishing pragmatism, and improvisational skills have been at the forefront of the Ukrainian homeland defenders. Around the world, all actors can and should learn from Ukrainians about future military and civil defence.

This report identifies initial lessons for armed forces in NATO countries and politics and society from observing the course of the war and the defence of Ukrainians. Drawing lessons from Ukrainian homeland defence since February 2022, the report offers possible applications to doctrine, structures, and training for the armed forces of NATO member states. Moreover, it provides political recommendations derived from Ukrainian experiences.

The report is based on open-source intelligence information and a series of 20 extensive interviews with combat-experienced Ukrainian commanders and soldiers. The observation of the war and discussions with Ukrainian forces revealed ten areas in which the Ukrainians are particularly innovative and unusual in their use of strategies and tactics, at least some of which are new to the armed forces in NATO.

This report pursues two simple questions throughout ten dimensions: What are the Ukrainians doing particularly well? And what can we in NATO, the EU, and beyond learn from them?

Continue reading the full publication here.