Russia’s Military Would Fail Against Poland or Turkey

Russia is still slowly taking some smaller cities in the southeast of Ukraine but the Kyiv offensive is bogged down. What we have clearly learned is that Russia’s military and its equipment remain second rate.

Russia has taken significant chunks of Eastern Ukraine but that seems to be the limit of their capability. Russia would fail against Poland or Turkey.

The Polish military has 160,000 active personnel and 100,000 reserves. Two weeks ago, Poland announced an increase defense spending to three percent of gross domestic product next year, Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced on Thursday. Warsaw currently devotes 2.2 percent of GDP to the military budget. Poland has declared its ambition to become the strongest military power in Central Europe. Poland is expanding the Polish Armed Forces to 300,000 personnel. This would be about 200,000 full-time and 100,000 part-time forces. This is expanding the 160,000 currently active (113,000 regular active servicemen and women and 32,000 TDF. This would double the army’s size.

The Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest standing military force in NATO, after the U.S. Armed Forces, with an estimated strength in 2021 of 895,000 military and paramilitary personnel. Turkey’s Bayraktar drones have been highly effective in Ukraine.

Russia’s economy is already smaller with the collapse of the Ruble. Russia will probably end up around $1 trillion GDP with virtually no growth. Turkey and Poland will pass the Russian economy in size.

Turkey has over 300 Bayraktar drones. Turkey has a significant and active military combat drone program. The largest operator of TB2 drones is the Turkish military but an export model has been sold to the militaries of a number of other countries. Turkey has used the drone extensively in strikes on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets in Iraq and Syria Bayraktar drones were used by Azerbaijan in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war and by Ukrainian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Institute for the Study of War has the following highlights:

Russian forces are unlikely to launch offensive operations to encircle Kyiv larger than the scattered Russian attacks observed northwest of Kyiv targeting Irpin on March 14 and Guta-Mezhyhirska on March 15 within the coming week but may launch further tactical attacks.
Russian forces continued to assault Mariupol from the east and west.
Russian forces did not conduct major offensive operations toward northeastern Kyiv in the past 24 hours.
Russian forces attempting to encircle Kharkiv continue to face supply shortages, particularly regarding ammunition.
The Russian military falsely claimed to have captured the entirety of Kherson Oblast on March 15 but did not conduct any major operations toward either Zaporizhya or Mykolayiv.

Task and Purpose has sought out direct reports of Russian military success. Russia has captured positions, equipment and destroyed Ukrainian equipment. Slow military advance are still advances. Russia has captured most of the southern coastal areas and small cities and a significant chunk of the east. Ukraine is fiercely resisting Russian advances but has not yet been able to push Russia back from early advances.

This war is again showing that Russian equipment and military is second rate. This was shown over the past several decades in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia and other Russian wars. Most of the equipment on both sides is Russian and Soviet era gear. Ukraine has mostly old Soviet gear. The American stinger and American javelin antitank gear is superior. The Russians have lost nearly 400 out of 1200 tanks.

This shows that Russia would utterly fail to take Poland or any NATO-backed country. Russia can continue to try to modernize and improve gear and tactics but Russia has failed to solve equipment and military logistics problems for the past forty years. However, Germany, Poland, Baltics, Sweden and Finland are all increasing military spending and getting more NATO support. A few dozen A-10 Warthogs would destroy all of these Russian columns in days. The US has 177 A-10 Warthogs that are still in service.

The number of soldiers and the gear in the Russia-Ukraine war is fairly comparable to the situation in the Iran Iraq War (1980-1988). Iran Iraq was a long eight-year between two armies with about 200,000 troops on each side. The Iraqi military made progress for three months and then stalled. Iran launched an offensive about two years into the war. Russia could mostly stall after a few months but Ukraine would not be able to launch effective attacks into Russia. Russia has more heavy weapons and mass destruction weapons. Ukraine could retake lost cities and territories over time.

Russia does not have the Soviet-era war machine which could take and hold half of Europe. The size of the military is less and the equipment and military have not kept pace with precision war. Russia’s military is still superior to any Middle Eastern country. Russia’s military is far less effective at offensive action. Russia would still be able to punish and resist attacks on its own territory.

If the people of a target country actively and continually resist, then conquering and holding countries with more than 20 million people is beyond the current militaries of the world. The US was able to semi-conquer Afghanistan (population 40 million) but holding it was very difficult.

SOURCES- Institute of War, Task and Purpose
Written by Brian Wang,