Has Russia failed in Ukraine? It has been more than five days since the moment Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine. Despite the almost 200,000 Russian troops he had amassed on the borders with Ukraine, Putin has largely failed to achieve his goals in the war. Russian forces are still struggling to achieve their objectives as Ukrainian resistance persists.
Russia’s Lackluster Military Campaign
Thus far, the Russian military has failed to achieve air dominance over Ukraine, allowing Ukrainian fighter jets and drones to target Russian columns and supply lines.
It has also failed to effectively integrate its ground and air capabilities, thereby not achieving combined arms effects. The Russian supply lines are a mess, failing to supply the front units with ammunition and fuel, thus slowing down the advance. Put simply, Russian infantry, armor, artillery, and airpower aren’t working together as one team throughout the battlefield.
“As I think you’ve seen. . . the Russians have not only experienced a stiff and determined resistance by the Ukrainians, but logistics and sustainment problems of their own,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a press briefing on Monday.
Although the Kremlin has moved almost all of its prepositioned military forces into Ukraine, there are still reserves waiting to be used.
Despite having more than 300 modern fighter and attack jets prepositioned near Ukraine, the Russian Aerospace Forces have conducted a limited amount of sorties in support of ground forces or to establish air dominance.
“Some things remain unchanged. We still anticipate—we still believe in the air domain that airspace over Ukraine remains contested. The Russians have not achieved air superiority over the whole country. Ukrainian air defenses remain intact and viable both in terms of aircraft and missile defense systems, and they’re engaged,” a senior U.S. defense official said on Monday.
Russia Has a Goal: Kyiv, Kyiv, and Kyiv
On Sunday, commercial satellites revealed the presence of a huge Russian convoy that stretched over 17 miles heading toward the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. On Tuesday morning, additional satellite imagery indicated that the Russian convoy was, in fact, 40 miles long and was less than 30 miles from Kyiv.
Kyiv is the heart of the Ukrainian resistance and thus key to Putin. It is from there that the Ukrainian government defies him.
“We continue to see Russian forces, move on or try to move closer to so they can move on Kyiv from the ground. We still assess that they’re outside the city center. But what we know clearly that they have intentions with respect to Kyiv. What we also have seen is Ukrainians resisting quite effectively, around Kyiv. And continuously, they have made it a tough slog for the Russians to move further south,” Kirby added.
It appears that Putin and his military leadership are finally supporting the main effort instead of pursuing different fronts at once. It is still not clear if the Kremlin had a military strategy that didn’t work as planned or if it didn’t have one altogether.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.