Two Armies in One

Featured in London Review of Books

War in Ukraine


Just as the West has failed to match its stirring rhetoric on Ukraine with a plan for arming the country’s present and future defence, it has failed to come up with a plan to help Ukraine train the specialists and senior commanders who could give the country an edge over the more numerous invader. Jack Watling, a military analyst at the Royal United Services Institute who has made many visits to the front lines in Ukraine, argues that the main reason the country’s effort to break through Russian defences failed last summer was lack of training, not just for ordinary soldiers but for the commanders who are supposed to co-ordinate tens of thousands of troops over a huge battlefield. ‘Over the course of the war,’ Watling wrote in Foreign Affairs, ‘the number of active Ukrainian troops has quintupled with no significant rise in the number of trained staff officers.’