• Soren Miles Fesel

Russian-Ukraine War Update

On February 24th, 2022, Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine after a gradual buildup of hundreds of thousands of troops along the border.


The war has been going on for several months now. While Russian forces have achieved relatively swift territorial acquisition extremely on in the conflict, cracks in Russian resolve and overall military power has started to show. Intrepid Ukrainian forces effectively pushed the Russians out of the north around Kyiv, thwarting Russia’s initial blitz strategy.


After failing to quickly capture the capitol and win the war, Russia has primarily focused their attention on the east and slowly begun acquiring small bits of territory. This phenomenon of very slow advance on Russia’s part has defined most of the war.


However, recent events have shaken up this previous trend and prospects now look favorably on a Ukrainian victory. The Ukrainian army has made several highly successful counter offenses into Russian-occupied territory and managed to reacquire thousands of square miles of land in just a few days. In fact, Ukraine has liberated more territory in just one week (roughly 3400 square miles) than Russia could invade in an entire five months. If Ukraine manages to maintain even a fraction of this recent rapid territorial reacquisition for the duration of the war, a Ukrainian victory becomes probable.


In the context of this war, winning likely means the complete expulsion of Russian armed forces from Ukraine, the partial or complete liberation of the two pro-Russian breakaway states, and possibly a recapturing of the Crimean Peninsula which was annexed by Russia in 2014.


But how did Ukrainian forces even manage to achieve such a feat in such a short amount of time?

A few weeks earlier, when the frontlines of the war were static, Ukraine knew it was the best time strategically and tactically to launch a counter offensive against Russia

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With the frontlines barely moving in either direction, Ukraine did not have to invest a significant amount of troops in a desperate defense of its remaining land. Instead, they had the ability to fight back. Thus, Ukraine launched a large diversion campaign.


This campaign boasted loudly of a large counter-offensive in the southeast, around the Russian occupied city of Kherson. This led to large numbers of Russian troops leaving the northeastern region to help defend Kherson from a supposed Ukrainian offensive.


Unfortunately for Russia, no real major liberation of Kherson was being attempted. Instead, Ukraine invaded the swathes of territory in the northeast around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, that were left relatively defenseless.


Due to better tactics, high troop morale, and this diversion, the Ukrainian army pushed nearly all the Russians out of the north and solidified the safety of the key strategic city of Kharkiv. Likely in response to these highly successful counter offensives, Vladimir Putin has recently announced a partial mobilization of three hundred thousand Russian reservists.


Despite the large number of reservists being called up, this does not necessarily give Russia an advantage. If hundreds of thousands of well trained, fully active Russian troops were having immense difficulties invading, then poorly trained military conscripts being forced into this war unwillingly will certainly not do the trick.


Russia’s administrative government may not even be able to handle registering and managing the countless conscripts. The partial mobilization could increase civil unrest and fuel even more resentment of the ruthless authoritarian Russian government. This mobilization will likely do more harm than good for Russia and further humiliate Putin’s regime on a global stage.


In short, a third phase of the war has arrived. Successful Ukrainian counter offensives, and gradual Russian losses are undoubtedly defining this era of the conflict. Prospects have improved for Kyiv, giving Ukraine the ability to finally stand up against Russia and its totalitarian government.


It is hard to predict how this conflict will come to and end. Russian aggression has already killed thousands of innocent Ukrainian civilians and will continue to tear through the eastern European country.

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