Putin’s War May Not Be Going to Plan – With a lack of direct military support from the West, and given Ukraine’s significantly smaller military, the Russian invasion of Ukraine – and the political demands that came with it – may have seemed like a done deal. However, according to one expert on Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine may not be going quite to plan.
“It’s been interesting to watching the last 48 hours, and good to see in many ways, that the Kremlin has lost control of the narrative, internationally, around this war,” Mason Clark, the head Russian analysis for the Institute for the Study of War told Vox over the weekend.
In a long-form interview with the outlet, Clark explained how the Russian military has focused on strengthening military capabilities that have not yet been used in warfare – including electronic warfare, which he says has “not been employed at scale.”
“It appears Putin has wildly miscalculated and had a, frankly, bad plan going into this of how quickly the Ukrainian military would collapse and is still trying to avoid using these very damaging weapons of concentrated missiles and airstrikes to destroy Ukrainian defensive positions, to preserve his narrative of this not being a real war and not requiring that sort of use of firepower,” Clark said.
Ukraine Hasn’t Given Up Yet
Despite extreme military aggression, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remained on the streets of Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv and signaled to the world that he would not leave the country – choosing instead to stay and fight alongside his fellow citizens.
Citizens have taken up arms and joined Ukrainian soldiers in attacking Russian forces in the streets, with video footage showing some resorting to the use of Molotov cocktails being thrown out of moving vehicles.
One Ukrainian soldier sacrificed his life and blew up a bridge, blocking a Russian military convoy from crossing. Another man was seen picking up a land mine while smoking a cigarette and removing it from the road.
Ukraine War – It’s Costing the Russian Economy
While Russia has been busy building the largest reserve of foreign currencies of any other nation – some $630 billion according to the best estimates – that hasn’t stopped the sweeping economic sanctions implemented by Western economies costing the Russian economy.”
Some Russian banks were cut off from the SWIFT payments system over the weekend, in a move designed to stop Moscow from accessing its vast reserves of foreign currency.
Sanctions resulted in the value of the Russian ruble falling by 30%, reaching record lows before the Russian central bank announced a range of measures to stabilize its currency, which included increasing interest rates from 9.5% to 20%.
The central bank also introduced capital controls to stop money from leaving the country, as sanctions stopped Russia from selling its foreign currencies to purchase more rubles.
A Russian economy expert from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Maximilian Hess, described the situation as a “full-fledged bank run that’s already underway.”
“I expect selected defaults from Russia as well. A full bank run is already underway, and many things are going to get stampeded in that process,” he said.
It’s too early to know how this will end, but if Russia expected a quick and easy win in Ukraine, its military and government were sorely mistaken.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.