Starting in February 2022, the developments in Ukraine have rapidly escalated into a military conflict on a scale that Europe hasn’t seen since World War II. The conflict involves large concentrations of ground forces and a broad range of modern weapons. It is radically different from the conflicts of the past few decades, when technologically advanced powers more or less successfully conducted military operations against a technologically much weaker adversary. Their advantage did not always bring the expected result, as confirmed by the record of the Afghan campaigns waged by the USSR and the United States, but the hostilities were clearly of asymmetric nature.
With the Cold War over, the military in different countries prepared for major ground operations against an equal or superior enemy, but for a long while these plans remained mostly theoretical. The Ukrainian conflict has tested the theory in practice. In Ukraine the Russian army is confronting an enemy that possesses similar weapon systems and military equipment and receives arms and cutting-edge ammunition from Western countries. It is yet to be assessed how the conflict is influencing the use of certain types of weapons as well as the strategy and tactics. But what is clear at this point already is a number of political and economic realities that will define the development of military industrial complexes in the advanced countries, the pattern of their defence spending, further R&D trends and priorities, and the like.