The main reason why I – erroneously- assumed Russia would not attack was their lack of numerical superiority over the Ukrainians. To win an offensive campaign you almost always need a 3 to 1 numerical advantage. Although Russia has 3 times the population Ukraine has it never amassed enough troops along Ukraine’s borders to smash Ukraine’s defenses.

Further exacerbating this problem was the limited use of fire power in the initial stages. Either the Russians held back to spare Ukrainian lives (which is what they are saying), or they thought it was not necessary or their war effort was never so coordinated that they managed to inflict maximum damage. They squandered the advantages of the surprise effect, were overambitious in attacking over too broad a front, struggled to keep their advancing forces supplied and made some rather bizarre decisions.

About the only sort of sound decision they have made so far is their effort to pull back from Kiev and focus on a much more limited goal: to conquer East Ukraine and perhaps to gain control of all Ukrainian harbors. This does little to secure a clear cut victory, but the Russians might secure Luhansk and Donetsk for some time to come.

Their failure to capture Kiev was not only a major psychological victory for the Ukrainians. It also bolstered the resolve of the west to keep sending military aid to Ukraine. It emboldened several western countries to send heavier equipment. Destroying cities and attacking residential areas or attacking a crowded train station, such as in Kramatorsk, killing women and their children did nothing to improve the military situation for the Russians and did everything to erode all sympathy for their operation. Only the most die hard Russia supporters can still believe Russia is not killing, raping and abducting civilians. The idea that all these horrendous acts are being staged by Ukrainian nazis is absurd. There are influential right-wing elements in Ukraine, but there is no need to stage all these war crimes. The Russians are committing them every day. This is not to say that all Ukrainian soldiers are saints. Some of them have mistreated captured Russian soldiers.

Should Russia have won this war? With better planning, a larger infantry force, better use of aviation and better logistics it should have been able to take Kiev. This would not have ended the war, but perhaps Ukrainian resistance in the east would have collapsed. The fall of Kiev would also have demoralized western sympathizers.

The Ukrainian military has proven to be much more inventive, more creative, has won the propaganda war, has economized its available forces. Its morale is way better than that of their adversaries. When people are fighting for a cause they fully believe to be just they can often rise above themselves. For example, there are Ukrainians actively disturbing Russian radio conversations and mocking them. I am sure that many Russian soldiers are not very motivated, do not want to be there and must feel guilty or at least confused about what their country is doing. Ukrainian resolve is strong, because they are defending their families and their homes, no matter the underlying causes of this war. Nobody feels wrong when he or she is fighting to keep family members alive.

Ukrainian leadership is doing fairly well in the face of this invasion, but at the same time Ukrainian leadership failed to avoid being invaded all together. As other critics have said: Zelensky may be brave and an ok commander in war time, but he is no statesman. A gifted statesman would have found ways to avoid this war.

The only side in this war that has won so far is the USA and some of its allies. The US has been pushing Europe to buy more weapons for many years and many European states will finally beef up their military. That’s more money flowing into the pockets of American producers of armaments. Europe has lost a big trading partner in Russia and some of that trade will go to the USA. In the short term the US has already won this war. Many US leaders are overjoyed that the Russians have been so dumb to invade their neighbour, especially in this savage and ineffective way.

Russia’s reputation has suffered irreparable damage. I don’t think they will recover from this even in the next twenty years. To normalize relationships with western countries Putin would have to be out of the way and a real process towards democratization would have to be started. Russia would also have to take the full blame for this conflict and fall on its knees to beg for forgiveness. The Russians will never do that. I doubt the US would be happy about such a process. I think the US is more than happy to keep the Russians isolated for decades to come. If Russia had real concerns about the well-being of the pro-Russian separatists it could have used other channels. Without Russian support Ukraine would probably have occupied those breakaway areas at some point. That would have been bad news for Russia and other areas hostile to Russia elsewhere would perhaps have found the courage to break away from Russia, but this invasion hasn’t solved anything.

If there is any ‘benefit’ for the Putin regime here it is that the war has allowed Putin to crack down even harder on the opposition within its borders and that it will find ways to be more and more self-sufficient. The war will allow Putin to clean up at home and stamp out rebels.

Can Russia win this war in the long term without turning to nuclear weapons? On paper? Yes. Russia has the industrial base to replace its losses in materiel. Ukraine has far fewer options to create its own weaponry. Russia also boasts a larger manpower pool. Theoretically Russia could keep pounding Ukraine for several years, bring in more mercenaries from all over the world and keep destroying all infrastructure in Ukraine. But… Ukraine is still receiving shipments from its allies and also lots of useful information (which probably proved crucial in the sinking of the Moskva). The Russians are losing materiel and officers at a shocking rate, perhaps faster than all this can be replaced. Especially women in Russia may balk when they are confronted with the senseless squandering of the lives of their teenage sons. Putin’s support has always come from women, because in a way he managed to present himself as the perfect Russian man. Cries and protests from women could severely undermine the morale of Russian soldiers via desperate messages and phone calls. Confederate soldiers started deserting in droves because of letters received from women at home begging them to come back. Something similar could happen in Russia.

My conclusion is that Russia lost every chance of winning this war when it failed to take Kiev. Its advancing forces may even become encircled if they aren’t careful. Even taking out the last resistance in Mariupol will do little to speed up their advance. Russia will not win, but it will claim victory no matter what.

In the worst case it can claim that its operation prevented the Ukrainians from attacking the separatist areas. And in the best case? Holding on to Crimea, connecting Crimea to the Donbass via Mariupol and occupy the region for years and years to come. I think it’s impossible for the Russian to take the entire Ukrainian coast all the way to Moldavia. What saddens me the most is that lots of innocent Ukrainians have seen their children murdered, because of the greed, pride and loathing of human lives among the leadership in Russia, but also in the US and Ukraine itself. The wrong people run this world. The main reason why I – erroneously- assumed Russia would not attack was their lack of numerical superiority over the Ukrainians. To win an offensive campaign you almost always need a 3 to 1 numerical advantage. Although Russia has 3 times the population Ukraine has it never amassed enough troops along Ukraine’s borders to smash Ukraine’s defenses. Further exacerbating this problem was the limited use of fire power in the initial stages. Either the Russians held back to spare Ukrainian lives (which is what they are saying), or they thought it was not necessary or their war effort was never so coordinated that they managed to inflict maximum damage. They squandered the advantages of the surprise effect, were overambitious in attacking over too broad a front, struggled to keep their advancing forces supplied and made some rather bizarre decisions. About the only sort of sound decision they have made so far is their effort to pull back from Kiev and focus on a much more limited goal: to conquer East Ukraine and perhaps to gain control of all Ukrainian harbors. This does little to secure a clear cut victory, but the Russians might secure Luhansk and Donetsk for some time to come. Their failure to capture Kiev was not only a major psychological victory for the Ukrainians. It also bolstered the resolve of the west to keep sending military aid to Ukraine. It emboldened several western countries to send heavier equipment. Destroying cities and attacking residential areas or attacking a crowded train station, such as in Kramatorsk, killing women and their children did nothing to improve the military situation for the Russians and did everything to erode all sympathy for their operation. Only the most die hard Russia supporters can still believe Russia is not killing, raping and abducting civilians. The idea that all these horrendous acts are being staged by Ukrainian nazis is absurd. There are influential right-wing elements in Ukraine, but there is no need to stage all these war crimes. The Russians are committing them every day. This is not to say that all Ukrainian soldiers are saints. Some of them have mistreated captured Russian soldiers. Should Russia have won this war? With better planning, a larger infantry force, better use of aviation and better logistics it should have been able to take Kiev. This would not have ended the war, but perhaps Ukrainian resistance in the east would have collapsed. The fall of Kiev would also have demoralized western sympathizers. The Ukrainian military has proven to be much more inventive, more creative, has won the propaganda war, has economized its available forces. Its morale is way better than that of their adversaries. When people are fighting for a cause they fully believe to be just they can often rise above themselves. For example, there are Ukrainians actively disturbing Russian radio conversations and mocking them. I am sure that many Russian soldiers are not very motivated, do not want to be there and must feel guilty or at least confused about what their country is doing. Ukrainian resolve is strong, because they are defending their families and their homes, no matter the underlying causes of this war. Nobody feels wrong when he or she is fighting to keep family members alive. Ukrainian leadership is doing fairly well in the face of this invasion, but at the same time Ukrainian leadership failed to avoid being invaded all together. As other critics have said: Zelensky may be brave and an ok commander in war time, but he is no statesman. A gifted statesman would have found ways to avoid this war. The only side in this war that has won so far is the USA and some of its allies. The US has been pushing Europe to buy more weapons for many years and many European states will finally beef up their military. That’s more money flowing into the pockets of American producers of armaments. Europe has lost a big trading partner in Russia and some of that trade will go to the USA. In the short term the US has already won this war. Many US leaders are overjoyed that the Russians have been so dumb to invade their neighbour, especially in this savage and ineffective way. Russia’s reputation has suffered irreparable damage. I don’t think they will recover from this even in the next twenty years. To normalize relationships with western countries Putin would have to be out of the way and a real process towards democratization would have to be started. Russia would also have to take the full blame for this conflict and fall on its knees to beg for forgiveness. The Russians will never do that. I doubt the US would be happy about such a process. I think the US is more than happy to keep the Russians isolated for decades to come. If Russia had real concerns about the well-being of the pro-Russian separatists it could have used other channels. Without Russian support Ukraine would probably have occupied those breakaway areas at some point. That would have been bad news for Russia and other areas hostile to Russia elsewhere would perhaps have found the courage to break away from Russia, but this invasion hasn’t solved anything. If there is any ‘benefit’ for the Putin regime here it is that the war has allowed Putin to crack down even harder on the opposition within its borders and that it will find ways to be more and more self-sufficient. The war will allow Putin to clean up at home and stamp out rebels. Can Russia win this war in the long term without turning to nuclear weapons? On paper? Yes. Russia has the industrial base to replace its losses in materiel. Ukraine has far fewer options to create its own weaponry. Russia also boasts a larger manpower pool. Theoretically Russia could keep pounding Ukraine for several years, bring in more mercenaries from all over the world and keep destroying all infrastructure in Ukraine. But… Ukraine is still receiving shipments from its allies and also lots of useful information (which probably proved crucial in the sinking of the Moskva). The Russians are losing materiel and officers at a shocking rate, perhaps faster than all this can be replaced. Especially women in Russia may balk when they are confronted with the senseless squandering of the lives of their teenage sons. Putin’s support has always come from women, because in a way he managed to present himself as the perfect Russian man. Cries and protests from women could severely undermine the morale of Russian soldiers via desperate messages and phone calls. Confederate soldiers started deserting in droves because of letters received from women at home begging them to come back. Something similar could happen in Russia. My conclusion is that Russia lost every chance of winning this war when it failed to take Kiev. Its advancing forces may even become encircled if they aren’t careful. Even taking out the last resistance in Mariupol will do little to speed up their advance. Russia will not win, but it will claim victory no matter what. In the worst case it can claim that its operation prevented the Ukrainians from attacking the separatist areas. And in the best case? Holding on to Crimea, connecting Crimea to the Donbass via Mariupol and occupy the region for years and years to come. I think it’s impossible for the Russian to take the entire Ukrainian coast all the way to Moldavia. What saddens me the most is that lots of innocent Ukrainians have seen their children murdered, because of the greed, pride and loathing of human lives among the leadership in Russia, but also in the US and Ukraine itself. The wrong people run this world.

The main reason why I – erroneously- assumed Russia would not attack was their lack of numerical superiority over the Ukrainians. To win an offensive campaign you almost always need a 3 to 1 numerical advantage. Although Russia has 3 times the population Ukraine has it never amassed enough troops along Ukraine’s borders to smash Ukraine’s defenses. Further exacerbating this problem was the limited use of fire power in the initial stages. Either the Russians held back to spare Ukrainian lives (which is what they are saying), or they thought it was not necessary or their war effort was never so coordinated that they managed to inflict maximum damage. They squandered the advantages of the surprise effect, were overambitious in attacking over too broad a front, struggled to keep their advancing forces supplied and made some rather bizarre decisions. About the only sort of sound decision they have made so far is their effort to pull back from Kiev and focus on a much more limited goal: to conquer East Ukraine and perhaps to gain control of all Ukrainian harbors. This does little to secure a clear cut victory, but the Russians might secure Luhansk and Donetsk for some time to come. Their failure to capture Kiev was not only a major psychological victory for the Ukrainians. It also bolstered the resolve of the west to keep sending military aid to Ukraine. It emboldened several western countries to send heavier equipment. Destroying cities and attacking residential areas or attacking a crowded train station, such as in Kramatorsk, killing women and their children did nothing to improve the military situation for the Russians and did everything to erode all sympathy for their operation. Only the most die hard Russia supporters can still believe Russia is not killing, raping and abducting civilians. The idea that all these horrendous acts are being staged by Ukrainian nazis is absurd. There are influential right-wing elements in Ukraine, but there is no need to stage all these war crimes. The Russians are committing them every day. This is not to say that all Ukrainian soldiers are saints. Some of them have mistreated captured Russian soldiers. Should Russia have won this war? With better planning, a larger infantry force, better use of aviation and better logistics it should have been able to take Kiev. This would not have ended the war, but perhaps Ukrainian resistance in the east would have collapsed. The fall of Kiev would also have demoralized western sympathizers. The Ukrainian military has proven to be much more inventive, more creative, has won the propaganda war, has economized its available forces. Its morale is way better than that of their adversaries. When people are fighting for a cause they fully believe to be just they can often rise above themselves. For example, there are Ukrainians actively disturbing Russian radio conversations and mocking them. I am sure that many Russian soldiers are not very motivated, do not want to be there and must feel guilty or at least confused about what their country is doing. Ukrainian resolve is strong, because they are defending their families and their homes, no matter the underlying causes of this war. Nobody feels wrong when he or she is fighting to keep family members alive. Ukrainian leadership is doing fairly well in the face of this invasion, but at the same time Ukrainian leadership failed to avoid being invaded all together. As other critics have said: Zelensky may be brave and an ok commander in war time, but he is no statesman. A gifted statesman would have found ways to avoid this war. The only side in this war that has won so far is the USA and some of its allies. The US has been pushing Europe to buy more weapons for many years and many European states will finally beef up their military. That’s more money flowing into the pockets of American producers of armaments. Europe has lost a big trading partner in Russia and some of that trade will go to the USA. In the short term the US has already won this war. Many US leaders are overjoyed that the Russians have been so dumb to invade their neighbour, especially in this savage and ineffective way. Russia’s reputation has suffered irreparable damage. I don’t think they will recover from this even in the next twenty years. To normalize relationships with western countries Putin would have to be out of the way and a real process towards democratization would have to be started. Russia would also have to take the full blame for this conflict and fall on its knees to beg for forgiveness. The Russians will never do that. I doubt the US would be happy about such a process. I think the US is more than happy to keep the Russians isolated for decades to come. If Russia had real concerns about the well-being of the pro-Russian separatists it could have used other channels. Without Russian support Ukraine would probably have occupied those breakaway areas at some point. That would have been bad news for Russia and other areas hostile to Russia elsewhere would perhaps have found the courage to break away from Russia, but this invasion hasn’t solved anything. If there is any ‘benefit’ for the Putin regime here it is that the war has allowed Putin to crack down even harder on the opposition within its borders and that it will find ways to be more and more self-sufficient. The war will allow Putin to clean up at home and stamp out rebels. Can Russia win this war in the long term without turning to nuclear weapons? On paper? Yes. Russia has the industrial base to replace its losses in materiel. Ukraine has far fewer options to create its own weaponry. Russia also boasts a larger manpower pool. Theoretically Russia could keep pounding Ukraine for several years, bring in more mercenaries from all over the world and keep destroying all infrastructure in Ukraine. But… Ukraine is still receiving shipments from its allies and also lots of useful information (which probably proved crucial in the sinking of the Moskva). The Russians are losing materiel and officers at a shocking rate, perhaps faster than all this can be replaced. Especially women in Russia may balk when they are confronted with the senseless squandering of the lives of their teenage sons. Putin’s support has always come from women, because in a way he managed to present himself as the perfect Russian man. Cries and protests from women could severely undermine the morale of Russian soldiers via desperate messages and phone calls. Confederate soldiers started deserting in droves because of letters received from women at home begging them to come back. Something similar could happen in Russia. My conclusion is that Russia lost every chance of winning this war when it failed to take Kiev. Its advancing forces may even become encircled if they aren’t careful. Even taking out the last resistance in Mariupol will do little to speed up their advance. Russia will not win, but it will claim victory no matter what. In the worst case it can claim that its operation prevented the Ukrainians from attacking the separatist areas. And in the best case? Holding on to Crimea, connecting Crimea to the Donbass via Mariupol and occupy the region for years and years to come. I think it’s impossible for the Russian to take the entire Ukrainian coast all the way to Moldavia. What saddens me the most is that lots of innocent Ukrainians have seen their children murdered, because of the greed, pride and loathing of human lives among the leadership in Russia, but also in the US and Ukraine itself. The wrong people run this world.

The main reason why I – erroneously- assumed Russia would not attack was their lack of numerical superiority over the Ukrainians. To win an offensive campaign you almost always need a 3 to 1 numerical advantage. Although Russia has 3 times the population Ukraine has it never amassed enough troops along Ukraine’s borders to smash Ukraine’s defenses. Further exacerbating this problem was the limited use of fire power in the initial stages. Either the Russians held back to spare Ukrainian lives (which is what they are saying), or they thought it was not necessary or their war effort was never so coordinated that they managed to inflict maximum damage. 

They squandered the advantages of the surprise effect, were overambitious in attacking over too broad a front, struggled to keep their advancing forces supplied and made some rather bizarre decisions. About the only sort of sound decision they have made so far is their effort to pull back from Kiev and focus on a much more limited goal: to conquer East Ukraine and perhaps to gain control of all Ukrainian harbors. This does little to secure a clear cut victory, but the Russians might secure Luhansk and Donetsk for some time to come.  

Their failure to capture Kiev was not only a major psychological victory for the Ukrainians. It also bolstered the resolve of the west to keep sending military aid to Ukraine. It emboldened several western countries to send heavier equipment. 

Destroying cities and attacking residential areas or attacking a crowded train station, such as in Kramatorsk,  killing women and their children did nothing to improve the military situation for the Russians and did everything to erode all sympathy for their operation. Only the most die hard Russia supporters can still believe Russia is not killing, raping and abducting civilians. The idea that all these horrendous acts are being staged by Ukrainian nazis is absurd. There are influential right-wing elements in Ukraine, but there is no need to stage all these war crimes. The Russians are committing them every day. This is not to say that all Ukrainian soldiers are saints. Some of them have mistreated captured Russian soldiers. 

Should Russia have won this war? With better planning, a larger infantry force, better use of aviation and better logistics it should have been able to take Kiev. This would not have ended the war, but perhaps Ukrainian resistance in the east would have collapsed. The fall of Kiev would also have demoralized western sympathizers. 

The Ukrainian military has proven to be much more inventive, more creative, has won the propaganda war, has economized its available forces. Its morale is way better than that of their adversaries. When people are fighting for a cause they fully believe to be just they can often rise above themselves. For example, there are Ukrainians actively disturbing Russian radio conversations and mocking them. I am sure that many Russian soldiers are not very motivated, do not want to be there and must feel guilty or at least confused about what their country is doing. Ukrainian resolve is strong, because they are defending their families and their homes, no matter the underlying causes of this war. Nobody feels wrong when he or she is fighting to keep family members alive. 

Ukrainian leadership is doing fairly well in the face of this invasion, but at the same time Ukrainian leadership failed to avoid being invaded all together. As other critics have said: Zelensky may be brave and an ok commander in war time, but he is no statesman. A gifted statesman would have found ways to avoid this war. 

The only side in this war that has won so far is the USA and some of its allies. The US has been pushing Europe to buy more weapons for many years and many European states will finally beef up their military. That’s more money flowing into the pockets of American producers of armaments. Europe has lost a big trading partner in Russia and some of that trade will go to the USA. 

In the short term the US has already won this war. Many US leaders are overjoyed that the Russians have been so dumb to invade their neighbour, especially in this savage and ineffective way. 

Russia’s reputation has suffered irreparable damage. I don’t think they will recover from this even in the next twenty years. 

To normalize relationships with western countries Putin would have to be out of the way and a real process towards democratization would have to be started. Russia would also have to take the full blame for this conflict and fall on its knees to beg for forgiveness. The Russians will never do that. I doubt the US would be happy about such a process. I think the US is more than happy to keep the Russians isolated for decades to come. 

If Russia had real concerns about the well-being of the pro-Russian separatists it could have used other channels. Without Russian support Ukraine would probably have occupied those breakaway areas at some point. That would have been bad news for Russia and other areas hostile to Russia elsewhere would perhaps have found the courage to break away from Russia, but this invasion hasn’t solved anything. If there is any ‘benefit’ for the Putin regime here it is that the war has allowed Putin to crack down even harder on the opposition within its borders and that it will find ways to be more and more self-sufficient. The war will allow Putin to clean up at home and stamp out rebels. 

Can Russia win this war in the long term without turning to nuclear weapons? 

On paper? Yes. Russia has the industrial base to replace its losses in materiel. Ukraine has far fewer options to create its own weaponry. Russia also boasts a larger manpower pool. Theoretically Russia could keep pounding Ukraine for several years, bring in more mercenaries from all over the world and keep destroying all infrastructure in Ukraine. But… Ukraine is still receiving shipments from its allies and also lots of useful information (which probably proved crucial in the sinking of the Moskva). The Russians are losing materiel and officers at a shocking rate, perhaps faster than all this can be replaced. Especially women in Russia may balk when they are confronted with the senseless squandering of the lives of their teenage sons. Putin’s support has always come from women, because in a way he managed to present himself as the perfect Russian man. Cries and protests from women could severely undermine the morale of Russian soldiers via desperate messages and phone calls. Confederate soldiers started deserting in droves because of letters received from women at home begging them to come back. Something similar could happen in Russia. 

My conclusion is that Russia lost every chance of winning this war when it failed to take Kiev. Its advancing forces may even become encircled if they aren’t careful. Even taking out the last resistance in Mariupol will do little to speed up their advance. 

Russia will not win, but it will claim victory no matter what. In the worst case it can claim that its operation prevented the Ukrainians from attacking the separatist areas. 

And in the best case? 

Holding on to Crimea, connecting Crimea to the Donbass via Mariupol and occupy the region for years and years to come. I think it’s impossible for the Russian to take the entire Ukrainian coast all the way to Moldavia. 

What saddens me the most is that lots of innocent Ukrainians have seen their children murdered, because of the greed, pride and loathing of human lives among the leadership in Russia, but also in the US and Ukraine itself. 

The wrong people run this world.