Russia has learned from past mistakes and improved its weapons and tactics.
An analyst identified three key weapons that have been vital in its war against Ukraine.
Ukraine recently breached Russia's defenses with vehicles for the first time, according to reports.
Ukraine appears to have made an important breakthrough in its counteroffensive against Russia with reports suggesting it has breached Russia's defensive line with vehicles for the first time.
But it's far from clear if Ukraine will be able to exploit the breakthrough, and the battle remains in the balance.
It comes after weeks of grueling combat, with Ukrainian forces fighting through miles of minefields, coming under intense artillery fire, and then seeking to clear Russian trenches in close combat.
Gian Gentile, a former US Army colonel and analyst with the Rand think tank, identified some of the key weapons that are proving crucial to Russia in attempting to fight back Ukraine's attacks.
But he said a decisive Ukrainian breakthrough could completely change the dynamic of the conflict.
Ultra-precise artillery systems
Russia's use of mass artillery has for centuries been at the heart of its military power, with long-range guns in conflicts such as World War II producing devastating and relentless barrages.
But the Ukraine war has exposed limits in this strategy, with both sides going through ammunition at a rapid rate, and armaments factories struggling to keep up with the demand for shells.
But Russia, said Gentile, has adapted, by improving the accuracy of artillery through the use of GPS technology, surveillance drones, and precision-guided missiles, so is less reliant on the sheer mass of fire.
Russian artillery gunners have played a crucial role in destroying or pinning down Ukrainian units seeking to advance through Russian defenses.
"They've come to the realization that they just can't do that. And they gotta try to be more precise," said Gentile of Russia's former mass bombardment tactics.
Electronic warfare units
To offset the advantage in troop numbers and equipment Russia had, Ukraine has excelled in adapting cheap, readily available equipment for military use. Among such equipment is off-the-shelf drones that Ukraine has used to surveil enemy positions.
But Russia's capacity to take drones out by scrambling their signals has significantly improved during the conflict, said Gentile.
It means that Ukraine's capacity to gather real-time battlefield intelligence on Russian positions has been more limited.
Just behind the front line, teams of electronic warfare operatives are deployed to detect and intercept drones and missiles.
They work in small difficult-to-spot units with a special device that can jam GPS signals that guide drones and even expensive precision-guided US missiles.
When their signals are jammed, the drones go off-target or arbitrarily wander off and crash.
"They lose a lot of them because the Russians are very effective with electronic warfare, counter-drone tactics," said Matt Dimmick, a former US National Security Council member who is working with the Spirit of America NGO to secure crucial battlefield supplies for Ukraine.
"Every unit without drones — they are completely blind. They can't see what's over the next hill, what's over the trees. They can't, you know, find those Russian high-value targets like the machine guns and artillery positions, which means they can't target them," said Dimmick.
A deadly game of cat and mouse has evolved, with Ukraine seeking to identify and destroy the units and create windows that it can exploit, reported the BBC.
Kamov Ka-52 helicopter gunships
Russia's Ka-52 attack helicopters have caused formidable problems for Ukraine.
Dubbed "Putin's vultures" by Ukraine's military, the Ka-52 is highly maneuverable, fitted with tough armor, and can fire tank-busting missiles.
The UK's military said that the helicopters give Russia a key battlefield advantage, and have imposed a "heavy cost" on Ukraine.
They are fitted with tank-busting LMUR missiles, which can be fired from around nine miles away.
"Ka-52 crews have been quick to exploit opportunities to launch these weapons beyond the range of Ukrainian air defenses," Britain's Ministry of Defence said.
The helicopters have helped reduce the threat posed by Ukraine's tanks and armored vehicles.
"The whole idea, especially in this kind of combat, is to create or present multiple dilemmas to your enemy. And having these attack helicopters is a pretty significant dilemma for the Ukrainians," said Gentile.
But Russia remains vulnerable
Gentile said that despite improvements that enabled Russia to fight back Ukraine's attacks for weeks, he is skeptical that it will be able to rapidly evolve against and repel Ukraine if a breakthrough proves decisive.
He said that if Ukraine is able to decisively punch through Russian defenses "we're into another phase of this than what we've seen so far" as Russia appears to lack the resources for a significant counterattack.
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