The world’s largest democracy is a major superpower with growing influence on world politics.
“Our operation in the Donbas is not stopping,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin today. “They’re moving forward- not at a very fast pace- but they are gradually taking more and more territory.”
Putin’s remarks were in response to a recent surge in military successes by Ukrainian forces attempting to push back the invasion Russian military forces began in February.
“I remind you that the Russian army isn’t fighting in its entirety,” Putin added. “Only the professional army is fighting.”
Putin’s remarks, and a more clear-eyed look at recent Ukrainian military successes, have dampened rising hope that Ukraine might yet find a way to repel the superior military resources of Russia.
With the news Putin plans to press on in his attack, the clash now seems likely to drag on into next year.
While the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has been underway for well over a decade, Moscow has been very careful about open acts of military aggression until recently. Hacking, information warfare, propaganda campaigns, efforts to undermine Ukraine’s government, industries and infrastructure; if Ukraine is falls to Putin’s Russia, it may be due as much to Putin’s efforts of the last 14 years than the Russian military’s success in Ukraine.
There have been economic attacks and even military incursions. Over 14,000 Ukrainians had already perished in the ongoing conflict by the time February 2022 rolled around.
It seems obvious in retrospect Vladimir Putin always planned on launching a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine at some point. Why else would the Russian government devote so much time and resources to undermining Ukraine if not to eventually annex the country- ostensibly, “for the good of its citizens”?
Putin was merely biding his time; waiting for the perfect opportunity. Covid19 proved a chance Putin clearly couldn’t refuse. With world governments weakened by measures they took to combat the pandemic, economies teetering on the brink of a supply-chain disaster and rising fuel costs, Putin’s plans for Ukraine couldn’t have found a better growing medium.