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Winning the Long War in Ukraine

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who has served as President of Russia since 2012. Putin worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career in Saint Petersburg. In 1996, he moved to Moscow to join the administration of President Boris Yeltsin.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has evolved into a prolonged war of attrition, with both sides demonstrating resilience and determination. As Ukraine’s counter-offensive progresses, the nation is bracing for an extended battle, with implications not just on the battlefield but also on the geopolitical landscape.

5 Key Takeaways:

  1. Ukraine’s Counter-Offensive: While Ukraine continues to gain ground, a decisive breakthrough remains elusive.
  2. War of Attrition: Both Ukraine and Russia believe that persistence on the battlefield will lead to eventual victory.
  3. Drones as a New Front: Ukraine’s increasing capability to deploy drones inside Russian territory signifies a shift in warfare dynamics.
  4. Russia’s Home Front: The impact of the war is becoming more tangible for ordinary Russians, challenging Putin’s narrative.
  5. The Role of External Allies: The international community’s support, especially in terms of weaponry, is crucial for Ukraine’s continued resistance.

The conflict in Ukraine, initially perceived as a short-term skirmish, has transformed into a protracted war of attrition. For Ukrainians, this war has become the “new normal.” The sentiment on the ground reflects a sense of determination, with many believing that the war will conclude only with a Ukrainian victory. This existential battle has necessitated a shift in mindset, economic strategies, and societal cohesion.

However, as the counter-offensive progresses, there’s a growing concern about managing expectations. The narrative needs reframing. While the counter-offensive is crucial, it’s essential to communicate that the journey to victory might be prolonged and challenging.

A notable development in this conflict is Ukraine’s ability to deploy drones inside Russian territory. These drones, with increasing range and payload capacities, have targeted both politically sensitive areas in Moscow and strategic assets like bombers. This tactic brings the war closer to Russia’s doorstep, challenging Putin’s portrayal of the conflict as a mere “special military operation.”

For ordinary Russians, the war’s impact is becoming palpable. With Moscow airports frequently closing and flights being diverted, many are beginning to question the longevity and implications of the conflict. This internal pressure, combined with Ukraine’s persistent drone attacks, could potentially influence Russia’s stance in the war.

Interestingly, Ukraine’s bold moves, such as the drone strikes inside Russia, have not elicited significant escalatory responses from Russia. This restraint might influence the international community’s willingness to provide Ukraine with more advanced weaponry.

Lessons Learned:

  • Narrative Reframing: It’s crucial to manage expectations and communicate the long-term nature of the conflict.
  • Warfare Evolution: The use of drones signifies a shift in modern warfare, with non-traditional tactics playing a pivotal role.
  • Internal Pressure: The war’s impact on the domestic front can influence a nation’s strategic decisions in the conflict.
  • International Support: The role of external allies, especially in terms of weaponry and strategic guidance, remains paramount.

Final Thoughts:

The war in Ukraine underscores the complexities of modern conflicts. While traditional battle strategies remain relevant, the role of technology, international alliances, and internal societal pressures can significantly influence the course of the war. As Ukraine and Russia continue their battle of attrition, the international community’s role in shaping the conflict’s outcome becomes increasingly evident. The road to victory might be long, but with resilience, strategic adaptability, and international support, Ukraine remains hopeful.

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