Germany confirms shipment of Leopard 2 tanks

General Valery Gerasimov speaks during a security conference in Moscow on May 23, 2013. (Photo: Mikhail Metzel/AP)

Ukrainian authorities say the Russians are learning from their mistakes on the battlefield and making it harder for Ukrainian missiles to hit their ammunition depots and logistics centers. That is why, they say, Ukraine needs longer-range missiles that can reach inside Russia.

They also believe that the appointment of General Valery Gerasimov as commander of the Russian offensive in Ukraine is a final roll of the dice for the Kremlin after multiple reshufflings of its military hierarchy.

The deputy head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, told CNN on Monday that the Russians have begun dispersing military supplies “throughout the territory of the Russian Federation.”

In particular, he said, “everything is moved to the southern regions via the Crimean peninsula” from logistics centers in Russia’s Rostov region.

“If you are wondering what is critical for the Russian Federation, the centers of gravity are these very centers, and they need to be attacked in order to disrupt supply systems of all kinds,” Skibitsky said.

And this requires strikes against facilities not only in Russian-occupied Crimea, “but also in the Russian Federation,” Skibitsky said.

He described Russian logistics systems as being located 80-120 kilometers (50-75 miles) from the front line, which means Ukraine needs longer-range strike systems to attack them.

Another reason for the long-range artillery: Several Ukrainian officials have told CNN that Ukraine wants to launch a counteroffensive before Russian reinforcements are equipped and ready to move. But for that, Kyiv needs to be able to go further.

“To prepare a counteroffensive or an offensive operation it is necessary to destroy many installations, not only on the front line, but also in the rear, 100-150 kilometers behind enemy lines,” Skibitsky said.

“Especially now, to form strong strike groups we need tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, heavy weapons that allow rapid counter-offensive operations against the enemy.”

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