Home World Russian colonel reveals army's biggest weakness and what Putin 'fears' most

Russian colonel reveals army's biggest weakness and what Putin 'fears' most


A former Russian Lieutenant Colonel told the Express what Vladimir Putin “fears most” about the war in Ukraine, highlighting a major vulnerability of the Kremlin’s army.

Sergey Gulyaev served for many years as a high-ranking officer in the Soviet army. As part of his military service, he spent two years with the 58th Automobile Brigade in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

Since leaving the army, he has become a political activist and strident Putin critic, as well as a renowned journalist.

Mr Gulyaev is still part of a Russian veterans’ group, which consists of former soldiers who have served from Afghanistan to Chechnya and beyond.

As such, he maintains close contacts with officers and soldiers in the Russian army and has relatives fighting in Ukraine.

Earlier in May, Putin’s army opened up a new front in Ukraine’s Kharkiv province, leading to speculation that the Kremlin wants to seize the country’s second largest city.

However, the former senior army officer believes that the main focus of Russia’s summer military offensive will be centred elsewhere.

He argued that Putin and his generals will attempt to secure complete control over the Donbas, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, which Russia illegally annexed in September 2022.

A vital supply and logistics route for Putin’s army fighting in the south is the 12-mile long Kerch Bridge, which connects Crimea with the Russian mainland.

Mr Gulyaev told the Express that the bridge is the Achilles heel of the Russian army and that Kyiv will most certainly attack it as soon as the Kremlin relaunches its offensive in the south.

“A bridge is a very vulnerable thing in general,” he explained. “It can be hit from all sides, from the water, from the air, and with long-range missiles and even with small drones.

“It’s just a matter of time. I am absolutely sure that when the offensive begins in the Zaporizhzhia region, the first thing Ukraine will do is try to cut off supplies through the Crimea because it is the quickest delivery route for ammunition and weapons today that are necessary to capture Zaporizhzhia.

“The supplies need to be cut off and I think that this will happen. This is the consequence for Putin and it will have a very strong influence and impact. This is what they fear most.”

The Kremlin is channelling military supplies and equipment from Russia to Crimea via the bridge and then on to its armies in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

For Russia’s generals, this is the quickest and most effective way for resupplying their armies on the southern frontlines.

As such, the bridge is a key target for Ukraine, which recently came into possession of US-made ATACMS with a range of 300km (186 miles).

The delivery of the longer range version of the missiles will make it much easier for Ukraine’s army to target the bridge and destroy it.

Kyiv has already made two attempts to do so, inflicting serious damage in the process – but has failed to completely decommission it.

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