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We Think We Know Why Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Has Failed

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Ukrainian tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

On day 76 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military continues to struggle in the Donbas, searching for a breakthrough that is not coming. The Ukrainian forces are putting up fierce resistance and they are being aided by modern artillery systems provided by the U.S. and the West

A Failed Campaign 

In its daily update on the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the way the Kremlin launched its invasion and how that has affected the ensuing campaign. Informed by the past, and specifically the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military and intelligence advisers opted for a light and focused military operation. 

“Russia’s underestimation of Ukrainian resistance and its ‘best case scenario’ planning have led to demonstrable operational failings, preventing President Putin from announcing significant military success in Ukraine at the 09 May Victory Day parade,” the British Military Intelligence assessed. 

The primary goal of the Russian forces invading Ukraine was to topple the Ukrainian government without getting into protracted fighting inside urban centers. But when that plan failed, and the Ukrainian military and people showed how committed they were, the Russian operation started to unravel as units got ambushed left and right and suffered horrific casualties. 

“Russia’s invasion plan is highly likely to have been based on the mistaken assumption that it would encounter limited resistance and would be able to encircle and bypass population centres rapidly. This assumption led Russian forces to attempt to carry out the opening phase of the operation with a light, precise approach intended to achieve a rapid victory with minimal cost. This miscalculation led to unsustainable losses and a subsequent reduction in Russia’s operational focus,” the British Military Intelligence stated.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 26,000 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 199 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 158 helicopters, 1,170 tanks, 519 artillery pieces, 2,808 armored personnel carriers, 185 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 12 boats and cutters, 1,980 vehicles and fuel tanks, 87 anti-aircraft batteries, 380 unmanned aerial systems, 41 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 94 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine 

The process of military aid to Ukraine continues. The White House signed a modern version of the Lend-Lease act to help Ukraine. The original Lend-Lease act was crucial in helping win the war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan during World War II. 

Moreover, Congress has started deliberating on the military, economic, and humanitarian aid bill that President Joe Biden proposed last week. The package is now worth almost $40 billion, an increase of $7 billion from what Biden had originally requested. 

Right now, the Pentagon has only approximately $100 million left in drawdown authority to provide Ukraine with weapons. The proposed new package would allow the Pentagon to send weapons from its own stockpiles and purchase weapon systems for Ukraine. 

Altering History 

In a speech commemorating the Allied victory in World War Two, British Minister of Defense Ben Wallace chastised the Kremlin and its actions in Ukraine. 

“Shame on those who seek to use the suffering of ordinary Russians as a launchpad for their own imperial ambitions. They are the ones who truly insult the memory of the Immortal Regiment,” the British Minister of Defense said referring to an unofficial Russian outfit in which the descendants and relatives of those wo fought in World War Two parade with commemorative plaques during the Victory Day parade on May 9. 

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Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, fire a M777 towed 155 mm Howitzer on Qayyarah West Airfield, Iraq, Aug. 10, 2019. The Soldiers conducted a fire mission to disrupt known enemy positions. As long as Daesh presents a threat, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve remains committed to enabling its defeat. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. DeAndre Pierce)

According to the Ukrainian commissioner for Human Rights, Russia has forcibly relocated more than 1 million Ukrainians to Russia since the start of the invasion on February 24, 200,000 of which are children. 

“So let’s call out the absurdity of Russian generals – resplendent in their manicured parade uniforms, weighed down by their gold braid and glistening medals. They are utterly complicit in Putin’s hijacking of their forebears’ proud history; of defending against a ruthless invasion; of repelling fascism; of sacrificing themselves for a higher purpose. And now, they are the ones inflicting needless suffering in the service of lowly gangsterism. And for them and for Putin there can be no ‘Victory Day’, only dishonour and surely defeat in Ukraine. They might seek to control Russians’ futures through their past but in the end the past catches up with you,” Wallace added. 

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NLAW anti-tank missile in Ukraine. Image Credit: Ukrainian Military.

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 InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise 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.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Him

    May 10, 2022 at 8:40 am

    It’s becoming evident that even NATO, like Russia, does not have a massive surplus of high-tech weaponry. For instance, the U.S. depleting a third of its Javelin missiles demonstrates that.

    Another example is that, if Russia’s war against Ukraine carries on till the next snow season, it might have lost by then around 400 jets. And unlike WW2, the replacement of high-tech planes takes many years, unlike the fast production lines of WW2 industry.

    Quite likely, neither a NATO-supplied Ukraine or Russia will be able to break the deadlock, and it becomes a war of attrition, just like the WW1 trench warfare.

    In that scenario, both NATO and Russia deplete their arsenals in around 5 years, and both become spent forces militarily. Then into that power vacuum, China attacks Taiwan, knowing that the United States by then will not have the resources, both militarily and economically to resist on two fronts.

    To make things even more interesting, Iran could attack Israel, such that the United States could even more so be unable to defend its traditional allies on what would be a third front – Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel.

    A real WW3 scenario could then result as a direct consequence of evil nations rising to fill the power vacuum left by a depleted United States, NATO and Russia.

    This is like an End of the World scenario portrayed in the Bible in the Book of Revelation where a third of the world’s population is killed. And the Bible prophesies that even in such dire times, the people refuse to repent of their evil (Revelation 9:20-21 and 16:9-11).

    • CK

      May 10, 2022 at 9:15 am

      This assumption only works if you assume the industrial capacity of the West won’t be coaxed to produce MORE, and we all know how the industrial military complex and capitalism work. Weapons companies are multi billion dollar entities. They will be asked to make more.

      The only reason some stocks are running low right now is that nobody foresaw a war dragging this long, and nobody expected support to be sent in such numbers.

      Unlike Russia, NATO/the west makes all its own weaponry using its own parts. NATO will be able to continue supplying Ukraine indefinitely, but the only way Rusisa will be able to continue its own logistics going is if China starts supplying them with weaponry.

      Also, ngl, but I think Israel is perfectly capable of fending off Iran on its own. Israel (is widely understood) to have nukes, remember?

      Finally, one “upshot” of this invasion is that China may actually be thinking twice about Taiwan. Much of their equipment and weaponry is derived from or very similar to Russian models, and they are seeing first hand how that is faring against Western weaponry. True, Taiwan is much smaller than Ukraine, but there is a huge sea to cross to get there. How many Mosvka’s does China want of its own?

      • Him

        May 10, 2022 at 9:41 am

        Ok, CK, I take your point.

        However, regarding Taiwan, I am corned China might have more success at attacking Taiwan.

        That’s because Taiwan is an island, and will be harder to resupply compared to Ukraine, since Taiwan has no land border with the West.

        No matter how much more sophisticated Taiwan’s weaponry is, the arsenal can’t last forever, and there’ll be difficulty sending in supplies.

        What about food? Taiwan’s food supply can’t last forever in a lengthy siege. Taiwan is like a fortress that can be starved into defeat.

        Taiwan is within artillery range of China’s mainland long distance missiles, which means that China could just bomb Taiwan into submission without setting boots on the island. Most of Taiwan’s main cities and industry are on the side of the island facing the Chinese mainland.

        I think China also has more financial reserves than Russia to see through a very long war. (Those Chinese financial reserves courtesy of Western corporations like Apple that outsourced its manufacturing to China).

        And China will be harder to tame with sanctions than Russia, because China’s blackmail chip is that it makes so much of the products that the West needs.

        I shake my head at the foolishness of the West at making itself so dependent of China manufacturing. We all thought outsourcing was a wonderful thing, and now the foolishness of being at the mercy of a Totalitarian dictatorship demands payback.

        • Eric

          May 11, 2022 at 11:05 am

          Taiwan’s competitive advantage is that it has some of the most high tech and precise semiconductor manufacturing in the world (TSMC being the most well known). If China bombs Taiwain into submission, they will likely destroy that capability which was their motivation in the first place. Also, anti-ship missiles based in Taiwan are likely to be used against any nearby enemy ships just like Ukrainian ATGM systems are used against Russian armor platforms. Taiwan is not defenseless, and attacking them would likely be painful, and unlikely to get what they want out of it. It might make more sense for China to normalize relations with Taiwan and make them a useful trading partner; I hope that is what happens.

  2. Pagar

    May 10, 2022 at 9:27 am

    In november 2021, putin told the west that ukraine joining NATO was a RED LINE that russia would stand firm at yet the west pooh-poohed russia’s declaration.

    Then on february 21 2022, with western intransigence stronger than ever, russia declared recognition for independence of donbass republics, the very next day, biden signed an order banning american firms from doing business with donbass as a middle finger salute.

    Thus on February 24, russian forces moved across the border. Because of all this, russia can never fail, just like taliban didn’t after nearly 20 years and vietnam after over 10 years did not fail, too.

    It will take time, but the west has demonstrated that when all has been done, at the end of the day, it prefers to leave if the opponent refuses to go down.

    • Him

      May 10, 2022 at 9:52 am

      The Bible shows that when God created human beings, a prime characteristic of God’s message is freedom. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” That is why, every nation that stands for true Christianity is based on freedom. And that is how you can tell false Christianity, when it stifles freedom.

      The innate desire of human beings, created in God’s image, is to desire freedom. That is the driving motive of Ukraine wanting to fight for its freedom, rather than come under slavery of the Russians.

      I speak from personal experience. I have lived for periods of time in Romania, Germany and the Baltic States. I know how people feel about the occupation time under the Russians and Communism. No one wants to go back under Russian tyranny.

      What the Russians did to the peoples of the Baltic States was like the Holocaust, but the Russians got away with it because they were on the winning side, so the global community never held Russia accountable. Just as Russia got away with its mass murder of its own citizens under Stalin.

      Everything you say makes sense to you if your mind is shaped by Russian Communist ideology. But the thread of history is that people want to live free, because they are created in the imagine of God, who made them want to express that freedom.

      That is why every evil Communist regime wants to stamp out personal freedoms of its people. And when the West falls prey to Communistic ideology, you will see similar attempts in the West to censor and stamp out freedom.

      We’re not talking about freedom to do evil, which is anarchy. But rather, the freedom to live righteously.

      This explains why Russian wants to dominate others, because the Russian Communist heritage hates freedom. You would rather see Ukraine subject to Russian bondage, than seeing the Ukrainians living as a free people according to their chosen direction.

      You know the crushing of freedoms that the Russian people live under, yet, your tribalism makes you want to enslave the Ukrainian people under Russian subjugation. This is why it is not just Putin that is evil. Putin is only possible because the Russian people produce such dictators. Putin is a reflection of the Russian people.

      And it also explains why Ukraine will fight for that freedom, because something deep in mankind wants to express that freedom that God created us for.

  3. Alex

    May 10, 2022 at 10:59 am

    And now, instead of tantrums and fantasies, let’s face it.

    Zelensky is a Kremlin agent.

    So in just two months:

    1. Actively extorted money from the West.

    2. Strengthened the ruble.

    3. In addition to the Crimea, he gave Donbass to Russia.

    4.. Turned off the gas at the whole of Europe, sending it to the Middle Ages.

    5. Ruined the pockets of drivers, farmers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers in the EU and the US.

    6. Since the beginning of the special operation, almost all major competitors from Russia have left, making room for Russian entrepreneurs.

    7. Begging for so many weapons that even Scholz said that the Bundeswehr was running out of weapons “for himself.”

    8. He collected all the crap of the Ukrainian Nazi subculture – tattooed Nazis, outcasts, idiots, maniacs, murderers from Europe and other countries in one place, where the Russians kill them in batches and promptly deliver them to Bandera.

    9. United the Russian people around their leader. Russia has never known such powerful support for the actions of the President and his cabinet during all the terms of his reign.

    10. He sent into emigration the entire corrupt beau monde of the Russian stage and cinema, with pockets full of “wishes” from the grateful Russian people.

    Never before has Russia been as good as under Zelensky.

  4. aldol11

    May 10, 2022 at 11:59 am

    Russia is finished:
    militarily
    economically
    morally

  5. Alex

    May 10, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    Jim Chambers (Fergie Chambers) – a journalist from NY spoke about how he SAW the attacks of Ukrainian fascists on peaceful Ukrainians. He told how he SAW what horrors the Bandera Nazis were doing to the Ukrainians. He said that food and medicine appeared when the Russian Liberators came.

    He told how he SAW Nazi paraphernalia wherever the military of Ukraine abandoned their positions (swastikas, Mein Kampf books, paintings by Hitler, Bandera, etc.).

    He SAW how opponents of the regime of the Ukrainian authorities were detained, tortured and killed. He told how the people of Ukraine are waging their struggle for existence and for peace without Bandera Nazis. He spoke about how the Russian liberators help civilians and the Ukrainians ask the Russians not to leave. The Ukrainians are upset that the Russians came late, they should have come earlier.

    He said: “Our American weapons have only exacerbated the useless bloodshed in a battle that the Ukrainian fascists can never win. I am ashamed to carry an American passport with me. The world desperately needs a Russian victory: at the end of Ukrainian Nazism and at the end of the American NATO empire. World needs victory for freedom.”

  6. Alex

    May 10, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Graham William Phillips is an outstanding British journalist who objectively and unbiasedly covers events in Ukraine.

    He is in a war zone and interviews all sides. He confirms the existence of Bandera Nazis who brutally torture and kill Ukrainians just because they do not want to see Bandera Nazis in their country.

    He confirms that the Ukrainians are asking the Russian liberators not to leave them anymore and not to leave.

    It is interesting to see how Graham interviews Aiden Aislin, a Briton who fought on the side of Ukraine as part of the Nazi Azov Battalion and was taken prisoner in Mariupol.

    The truth will always see the world thanks to such professionals, and not propagandists, who sometimes have never been to Ukraine and are thousands of miles away.

    No Nazism. We – free people will win.

  7. Stefan Stackhouse

    May 10, 2022 at 4:07 pm

    Modern Wars are “come as you are”. It takes too long to manufacture replacements for weapons that are destroyed, and too long to train replacement troops to man the replacement weapons.

    The time-tested rule of thumb is that attackers must have a 3:1 superiority against the defenders. They need at least that much now because resupply is no longer possible – unless your nation has friends who can part with some of their own inventory to help out.

    That 3:1 proportion applies to the forces actually deployed in theater. The ones you have halfway around the globe don’t count. Given this reality, there is no way that the Russians could have possibly succeeded – unless their own propaganda lies were actually true, and Ukraine was so corrupt and uncohesive that it would collapse under the slightest pressure. Lies are lies, however, and it was not a good idea to stake so much upon them.

  8. Alex

    May 11, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    A bit of truth.

    The head of the UN monitoring mission, Matilda Bogner, said that the organization has reliable information about the torture of Russian soldiers in Ukrainian captivity:
    “Ukraine and Russia must promptly and effectively investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war,” she said.

    The military-civilian administration of the Kherson region announced their intention to appeal to Putin with a request to include the region into Russia:
    “We intend to live as part of the Russian Federation. We fully cooperate and feel as one with the regions of Russia.”

    Pfizer, Moderna, Merck, Gilead are testing medicines in Ukraine, bypassing international safety standards, reducing the costs of research programs and gaining significant competitive advantages. Coronavirus vaccine manufacturers have been involved in US military biological activities.

    Along with American pharmaceutical companies and Pentagon contractors, Ukrainian state structures are involved in military biological activities, the main tasks of which are to conceal illegal activities, conduct field and clinical trials, and provide the necessary biomaterial.
    The American side expanded its research potential both in the field of creating biological weapons and in the field of obtaining information about antibiotic resistance and the presence of antibodies to various diseases in the population of specific regions.

    Ukraine has long become a training ground for Western countries to create biological weapons components and test new samples of pharmaceuticals.

    The United States, as part of its military biological program in Ukraine, used Mariupol as a regional center for work with the cholera pathogen.
    Evidence was obtained of the emergency destruction of documents confirming work with the US military department. A preliminary analysis of the surviving documentation indicates the use of Mariupol as a regional center for the collection and certification of the cholera pathogen.

    The selected strains were sent to the public health center in Kyiv, which is entrusted with the functions of further sending biomaterials to the United States.
    This activity has been carried out since 2014, which is confirmed by the acts of transfer of strains.

    Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Fox News recalled that the United States supplied weapons to Ukraine long before the start of the Russian special operation.
    “The Biden administration was supplying weapons long before the invasion. The first billion dollars that the president allocated for Ukraine did indeed include assistance with lethal weapons … The United States, Canada, Britain, other allies actually helped prepare the Ukrainians, ”Kirby quoted the TV channel as saying.

    As military experts and analysts had previously assumed, Ukraine would have brought down all its military power on the Donbass in any case, but Russia was the first to come to the aid of Donyuass.

    The world is watching. The world sees. Lies are dying.

  9. Vladolph Putler

    May 11, 2022 at 11:54 pm

    The world is watching Russian liars die? I guess so, but I thought you cheered for the other team. ???

    But absolutely. Jesus that T-72 that was just popped (IED?) almost 70 miles into “Russian controlled” territory? (Novoazovsk) Yup. Glad the punishment for getting caught lying isn’t like it is for Russians. Special kind of stupid, special kind of punishment. And Chinese “friends” making you famous for it. 😛

  10. Alex

    May 12, 2022 at 10:13 am

    OK. In Ukraine, 10,000 Russian and 1,000 Russian tanks are destroyed every day. It’s not even funny to read, but it’s not interesting anymore. Let’s talk about the collapsed Russian economy:

    The Russian ruble has become the best world currency in 2022. On Thursday, May 12, Bloomberg reported.

    According to the latest data, the ruble has grown by 11 percent against the dollar since the beginning of 2022. Thus, it has become the leader among the 31 major currencies monitored by the agency’s experts.

    The strengthening of the currency came after the measures taken by the Russian government against the backdrop of Western sanctions, writes Bloomberg. It is clarified that the authorities introduced capital controls, and also obliged exporters to sell foreign exchange earnings. In particular, in March, the President of Russia announced a new procedure for paying for gas by European consumers.

    As similar examples, the authors of the article cite the Turkish lira and the Argentine peso, which failed to achieve maximum growth rates after the decisions of the governments of these countries. The Russian currency, on the contrary, responded well to the measures taken, Bloomberg experts conclude.

    Only facts, not squeals and fantasies of Bandera Nazis and Slavophobes.

  11. Alex

    May 12, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Russia’s oil revenues have grown by 50% since the beginning of the year, despite trade restrictions imposed after the start of a special operation in Ukraine, writes Bloomberg citing a report by the International Energy Agency.

    “Russia has earned approximately $20 billion monthly since the beginning of 2022 from cumulative sales of oil and petroleum products at an export level of 8 million barrels per day,” the document says. As the IEA noted, supplies from Russia continue to flow despite the fact that the EU is currently discussing a ban on energy imports, and major international oil companies Shell and Total Energy promise to stop purchases.

    Russian energy resources are in high demand in Asia, especially in India and China. Experts emphasize that the reduction in the supply of refined products from Russia, such as diesel fuel, fuel oil and naphtha, has exacerbated tensions on world markets. At the same time, stocks of so-called middle distillates (some types of petroleum products that are obtained as a result of the distillation of hydrocarbons, including heating and marine fuels) are at their lowest level since 2008.

    Another collapse of the Russian economy. I am sure that in Russia they clap and thank you.

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