Finnish military officer: “Wishful thinking that Ukraine will win the war”

The war in Ukraine

Published 2 March 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Ukrainian soldiers conduct operations against pro-Russian separatists in 2014.

A high-ranking Finnish officer on the ground in Ukraine says that the image of the war spread by the Western media is based mainly on Ukrainian propaganda. The reality, he says, is that the Ukrainian military is substandard in many respects and that it is “wishful thinking” on the part of the West that it will be able to defeat Russia.

– The Russian forces have learned from their mistakes, the same cannot be said of the Ukrainian ones, the officer, who wishes to remain anonymous because of his rank, told Finnish state broadcaster Yle.

– The Ukrainians think they are skilled soldiers. But you don’t become a good soldier by lying scared in a trench for eight months. What you need is training, he continues.

The officer started training Ukrainian soldiers back in 2014 and says that the level of training of the soldiers leaves much to be desired – and he also does not believe that Ukraine will win the war – which is the leading narrative being pushed by politicians and media in the West.

– It’s nothing but wishful thinking, he says.

Among other things, the military leadership in Ukraine is described as “very poor”, as are the tactics and combat techniques used, which are often claimed to have been taken from computer games. The fact that it has been able to withstand the Russian offensive so well so far, the officer says, is not primarily due to its own skill – but because Russia has made major strategic mistakes.

– A Ukrainian offensive is always a broad-based movement. They are not able to open a breach in the front quickly.

Darkens losses

He notes that the war has evolved into a “positional war” with heavy artillery fire rather than rapid movement – and that while both Ukraine and Russia have suffered heavy losses, Ukraine has far fewer reserve troops to call on.

The Finnish officer is also convinced that Ukrainian casualties have been significantly higher than reported and that it has about as many dead and wounded as the Russian side – something that is not sustainable in the long run.

According to the man, the Ukrainian army’s success in retaking many of the areas previously occupied by Russia is due to “luck” and Russian mistakes, and he believes that Ukraine may soon be on the verge of losing the war altogether.

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– It looks like Russia has the initiative. You could almost say that Ukraine is losing the war if nothing decisive happens soon.

He also does not believe that Ukraine is capable of conquering the Crimean Peninsula and probably not even Donbass.

If Kiev manages to get to the front line that existed when the war began, it would be averting victory… Russia is not losing this war because it is a superpower with nuclear weapons. If Ukraine launches a major offensive against Crimea, Russia is likely to resort to strategic nuclear weapons.

Instead, his guess is that the war will end with Ukraine being forced to cede territory to Russia.

That would not be the end of Ukraine’s independence, but the border would be moved. That would have to be accepted, just as we did in Finland after the Winter War.

“The media listens kindly to the Ukrainian propaganda”

Regarding the media coverage of the war, the officer points out that the Western population is only exposed to Ukrainian narratives and says that “the media listens kindly to the Ukrainian propaganda”.

Prime Minister Marin says the war will end when Russia withdraws from Ukraine, but that will not happen, he notes, adding that “the Ukrainians have not managed to breach the Russian defensive positions anywhere.

If Ukraine is to win the war, he continues, the most important thing is that its soldiers receive better training – and preferably Finnish training, the officer says.

The Finnish army has the best training in the world in the skills of fighting Russia. We’ve been training for a hundred years, and we’ve fought twice… No one else has the breadth of forest and terrain knowledge that we have in Finland. And that is what should be taught.

He believes that training of this type would not cost much money and that many Finns would be happy to volunteer.

It hurts to see when poorly trained soldiers are sent to the front, and when they return in a coffin, and that’s why I’m still here in Ukraine – to provide better training.