According to a war expert, Russia faces significant limitations in conducting nighttime operations against Ukraine due to financial constraints and the deteriorated state of its military
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By Smartencyclopedia Newsroom *

The expert suggests that Moscow lacks the necessary resources to provide night-vision equipment to its troops, which hampers their ability to effectively engage in nighttime combat.

In addition to equipment considerations, Ukraine holds an advantage in nighttime operations due to Russia’s limited resources and planning capabilities. An expert interviewed by Insider highlighted Russia’s inability to equip its forces with expensive night-vision capabilities as a major factor.

George Barros, a geospatial intelligence team lead and Russia analyst with The Institute for the Study of War emphasized that the Russian military has historically lacked advanced capabilities, even prior to the ongoing conflict and the overall degradation of its forces. He further explained that the cost of acquiring individual helmet-mounted night-vision goggles can amount to tens of thousands of dollars for each unit, making it financially unfeasible for Russia to invest in such equipment.

Russian forces face deficiencies not only in nighttime capabilities but also in overall equipment, including weapons, armor, and combat technology. Soldiers have reported being deployed with outdated, rusted Soviet-era weapons that frequently malfunction.

George Barros, the Russia analyst from The Institute for the Study of War, expressed doubts about the Russian Ministry of Defense’s ability to consistently provide expensive night-vision goggles or similar optics to their average infantry. He highlighted the lack of regular optics, proper body armor, and adequate training among the troops, citing financial constraints as a major hurdle.

While specialized Russian units may have access to some night-vision technology, Barros noted that common soldiers are far from receiving the coveted scopes and goggles. Additionally, corruption within the Russian armed forces often leads to the hoarding of higher-end equipment, including night-vision systems, by certain groups.

To address equipment and technology shortages, Russia occasionally turns to crowdfunding campaigns. However, Barros mentioned that he rarely comes across initiatives funding night-vision optics in such campaigns. Instead, milbloggers and nationalist groups typically allocate funds from Russian civilians towards other crucial battlefield assets.

As per the explanation provided, crowdfunding efforts primarily focus on acquiring items such as drones and medical equipment, rather than night-vision goggles. The emphasis is on obtaining basic optics, including daylight scopes, sights, and range finders, which are considered essential for various purposes.

Ukraine’s armed forces are making effective use of the equipment they have received from Western sources.

Ukraine has access to a diverse range of night-vision systems, including thermal and infrared vision technology, as well as nighttime assault assets, thanks to supplies received from Western sources. The Ukrainian forces have deployed tanks like the German-made Leopards, equipped with thermal and night-vision optics, to enhance their nighttime offensive operations.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russian sources have acknowledged that these technologies have bolstered Ukraine’s ability to conduct operations at night. The ISW report also highlights an increase in Ukrainian forces launching nighttime raids during the early stages of their counteroffensive.

An occupation official in Zaporizhzhia, as reported by ISW, noted that Ukraine’s utilization of night assaults enables them to leverage their capabilities even more effectively.

According to Barros, Ukraine is effectively utilizing its tactical advantage to its benefit in campaign design. He highlighted reports and combat footage showcasing successful Ukrainian night raids, which were made possible due to their enhanced capabilities.

Attacking Russian forces at night provides numerous advantages, particularly if they are ill-prepared to respond effectively. It becomes more challenging for Moscow’s forces to bring in air support or maintain defenses, while Ukraine can take advantage of the darkness to launch undetected attacks and advance their positions.

Although the exact extent of Ukraine’s nighttime operational capabilities compared to Russia’s remains unclear, Kyiv is undoubtedly leveraging the tools it has been provided and maximizing the opportunities presented to them.

Barros emphasized Ukraine’s proficiency in capitalizing on tactical and operational edges, stating that whenever they are provided with a system, they make effective use of it.

Furthermore, Barros emphasized the importance of ongoing investment by Western nations in Ukraine, citing these situations as clear examples. He expressed that it has become evident that if the international community desires Ukraine to succeed, they must provide the necessary systems and capabilities to enable their success.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

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