Exclusive — Lt. Col. Daniel Davis on Ukraine-Russia War’s 2-Year Mark: ‘No Path’ to Ukraine Victory, U.S. Influence 'Waning’

Exclusive — Lt. Col. Daniel Davis on Ukraine-Russia War’s 2-Year Mark: ‘No Path’ to Ukraine Victory, U.S. Influence ‘Waning’

There is “no path to a military victory for Ukraine,” and further aid packages will have virtually no effect on the conflict’s outcome, according to retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, who warned that American influence is waning as the Russia-Ukraine war enters its third year.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Davis, a Defense Priorities senior fellow and military expert who retired from the U.S. Army as a Lt. Col. following his 21 years of active service, addressed Russia’s war in Ukraine, claiming that the two-year mark of the conflict “actually represents a full decade of diplomatic failure.” 

Impossible Ukrainian Victory

“There is no path to a military victory for Ukraine, and that has just been solidified more so today than at any point,” he stated. “It is incredibly clear that there is no possibility for Ukraine to ever win the war as defined by pushing Russia back to the 1991 border. It’s never gonna happen.” 

“I don’t care how many years they fight, or how many millions of artillery shells the West provides for them — that’s never gonna make the difference,” he added. “You can’t undo the damage that’s already happened in the last two years.”

Calling it “insane to continue trying to achieve the unachievable,” he insisted that that is exactly “what we’re doing right now, both in the West and Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky.” 

According to Davis — who spent more than two decades in active service including combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded two Bronze Star medals — Zelensky is unwilling to make any kind of negotiated settlement with the current line of contact, preferring to gain everything back “even if it takes years.”

U.S. President Joe Biden is greeted by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a visit in Kyiv on February 20, 2023. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

“But his country doesn’t have the capacity to go more years; he doesn’t have the troops to go more years,” he explained. “They’re already scraping the bottom of the barrel now; they can’t replace [soldier] losses, and they suffer more losses per month than their ability to forcibly mobilize new replacements.”

In addition, he noted, “when you forcibly mobilize people to the level that they are right now, those are not going to be good soldiers.” 

“Especially after you’ve [Ukraine] lost at least a half a million killed and wounded over the course of the war. Almost all of those who were in uniform at the start of the war have either been killed or wounded or removed from the battlefield in one way or another,” he said.

“So you’re basically trying to create a new army from scratch, which means nobody has experience at the key levels,” he added. “You can’t build an army like that. You just can’t get past that.” 

The War Is Over

Davis rejected White House national security spokesman John Kirby’s “nonsense” assessment two days prior to the fall of the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, that it would soon fall because Congress “hasn’t cut loose” the $60 billion aid package, and there is a shortage of artillery shells.

“That’s nonsense [because] that money would have had absolutely zero impact on that battle,” he stated. “It’s not as though there’s a bunch of pallets of 155mm shells sitting in Costco somewhere, and if you just had the money, you could just go buy them. That’s not the case.” 

“We’re already doing everything we can in both the United States and the Western Europe to create as many artillery shells as we can but there’s problems with production,” he explained.

Citing a recent Defense One piece confirming that the U.S. Army is constructing three Texas-based 155mm artillery ammo production lines, each projected to produce 30,000 shells monthly by end-2025, Davis, a former tank commander, noted that such a move “means it will be 2026 before any of those shells in any numbers are coming off the role.”

“What good is that gonna do?” he asked. “That’s not anything that’s going to help.” 

During a Joint Press Availability at the State Department with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for Congressional support for Ukraine, while noting NATO’s signing of a $1.2 billion contract to produce 220,000 artillery shells — which Davis described as “enough for about two to three weeks of normal use.”

“And that won’t even be produced for two years,” he said, noting that Blinken had not mentioned that fact. 

In this handout photo from the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with a delegation including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on April 24, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty Images)

“So you see that was something that was done a month ago, and so you cut loose to $60 billion now, it’s not going to have any impact on the frontline for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether it gets released or not,” he added. 

According to Davis, the status of the war “is being decided by the actions at the front line,” particularly the increasing Russian capacity and supply of ammunition.

“The decreasing supply on the Ukrainian side, which I have been addressing since the late spring of last year, that there is a math problem — that there’s not enough shells being produced in the amount that they were using in that offensive [which] creates a mismatch, that at some point [it will] start running out,” he said. 

“And that’s precisely what happened because it’s just predictable, as Monday follows Sunday,” he added. “It’s just a math issue; a physical issue — there’s so many of those things at play.”

Despite those “legitimately [pointing to] the Ukraine side,” noting that even without a Navy it has managed to “knock out around a third of the [Russian] Black Sea fleet,” Davis admitted it was “an amazing accomplishment” but “probably speaks more to the fact that the days of the surface fleet are over worldwide, not just the Russian naval fleet.” 

“Our fleet is probably a lot more volatile than we think it is. That’s probably the bigger lesson there,” he added, noting that the fact “has almost nothing to do with the frontline.” 

According to Davis, everything that goes into building national military power is in Russia’s favor. 

“Their industrial capacity, their manpower pool, their political will in the country, that they’re still willing to go on, that they’re recruiting tens of thousands of people per month, that they still don’t have to force mobilize, and that they’re volunteering to show up,” he said. 

“The Ukrainian side doesn’t have that,” he added, highlighting how the average enlisted Ukrainian soldier is 43-years-old. “Ukraine is losing more men per month than they’re bringing in. So you see the numbers just don’t work in any category you want to look at. The war is over and it’s not going to be won by Ukraine.”

The U.S. ROI Argument

On geopolitical arguments that favoring such an unwinnable war presents a prime opportunity for the U.S. to weaken Russia’s military strength regardless of a Ukraine victory, Davis described them as both “immoral” and “disgusting,” asserting that it “basically ignores the cost to the Ukrainians in blood,  » …
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