The Tide of Battle – and Mounting Casualties – Turning Against Ukraine – Since it became evident a few weeks into Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine that Moscow’s troops were stopped cold outside of Kyiv, there has been a near-universal belief in the West that Ukraine would eventually win. All that was needed, many pundits claimed, was to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces sufficient numbers of weapons and ammunition. As the war now grinds towards the four-month mark, it is becoming painfully evident that the odds are stacked in Russia’s favor.
Militarily speaking, there is no rational path through which Ukraine will ever win its war. Without a course correction – and soon – Kyiv itself may not ultimately be safe.
After Russian armor suffered a “stunning defeat” by Ukrainian defenders north of Kyiv and Kharkiv during the first few weeks of war, many pundits were writing off the Russian army as “incompetent” and suggested they were incapable of defeating the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF), whose great bravery and skills were widely hailed.
In late April, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv and told Zelensky that the West could provide his troops with “the right equipment” and the “right support” because Austin wanted to help Ukraine win and see “Russia weakened.” In addition to direct battlefield aid, the West concurrently wielded economic tools intended to deprive Putin of the capacity to continue waging war.
In the early days of the war, Biden imposed sanctions that the White House said would be “the most impactful, coordinated, and wide-ranging economic restrictions in history.” On June 3, the European Union enacted the sixth tranche of sanctions, featuring a partial ban on the import of most Russian oil and gas. The intent behind these punitive battlefield and economic measures was to weaken or halt Putin’s ability to continue his war in Ukraine and equip Kyiv to win its war. It is now becoming evident that this strategy is failing on both counts.
Throughout the first three months of the war, there were almost universal positive statements by U.S. and Ukrainian leaders, suggesting Kyiv’s troops would “drive Russia from” Ukrainian soil and that Kyiv would not accept any negotiated settlement that ceded any territory to Russia. Yet earlier this week London’s The Independent revealed portions of a leaked classified intelligence report out of Kyiv that exposed a much harsher battlefield reality than had been admitted publicly.
According to the report, Russia’s relentless bombardment of Ukrainian troops over the first 100+ days of the war had destroyed major portions of their Soviet-era equipment and depleted their stocks of artillery ammunition. The result is that frontline Ukrainian units are outgunned 20-1 in artillery and an eye-popping 40-1 in artillery rounds. Combined with the fact Russia continues to have significant advantages in air power (up to 300 air sorties per day compared with three to five for Ukraine) and manpower, it is not surprising Ukraine is losing its grip on the Donbas.
Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov confirms upwards of 100 UAF troops are being killed each day (some reports suggest the number is closer to 200 per day) and 500 more wounded. Zelensky concedes that Russia occupies more than 20% of Ukrainian territory – growing by the day. While it is entirely understandable that no Ukrainian leader would ever want to cede any of its country to an invading power, there are other, harsher realities that must be taken into account.
The choice, in other words, may not be a matter of whether Ukraine should give up territory or not, but whether it must give up territory now to limit the damage or continue fighting in the hopes of one day winning it all back – at egregious cost now, and with no guarantee that they would not later lose even more territory. For example, today Ukraine still holds key parts of the Donbas (the Slavyansk/Kramatorsk salient in the north, the Avdiivka area in the center, and large portions of the Donetsk region to the south. Kharkiv and Odessa are still fully under Kyiv’s control. Evidence suggests that as more time passes, that list of Ukraine-controlled cities will continue to shrink.
It would be a near-impossible feat for the West to provide enough heavy weaponry to Ukraine – and the massive volumes of large-caliber artillery ammunition the howitzers need – that would bring back into balance the major disadvantage Ukraine has in firepower. Even the modern rocket launchers the U.S. and UK recently committed will not materially change the negative balance for Kyiv.
Zelensky and the Ukrainian people will soon come face-to-face with the ugly prospect that continuing to fight will only bring more death and destruction to its people, cities, and armed forces – but be insufficient to stave off defeat. The truth is, military fundamentals and simple capacity are in Moscow’s favor. It is unlikely those factors change in time to avoid defeat for Kyiv and its brave people. That is the ugly, bitter reality of war.
Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.
June 13, 2022 at 10:50 am
Ukraine repelled Russia with smart weapons, and that is what worked. Giving Ukraine obsolete tanks and cannons has failed to repel Russia and the 1st world should go back to what has worked.
June 14, 2022 at 1:42 pm
since you apparently support one of the players in a foreign war, please define your ‘libertarianism’ in light of the NONAGGRESSION PRINCIPLE of libertarianism.
June 14, 2022 at 4:20 pm
The definition of aggression does not include defending against aggression.
June 15, 2022 at 5:14 pm
Agreed…Give them Modern Weapons and Fast. They are a Highly Motivated Army defending their Homeland. Once, they have The Hardware…they will kick Putin back into His Bear Cave.
June 18, 2022 at 10:46 pm
Inconvenient truth here is; Russians won’t lose if they think they will then alternative is tactical nuclear weapon just like the one used Hiroshima. Why I predict that? Logic says,if there is existential threat why one wouldn’t use it?
Americans,Chinese and any other nuclear capable countries would.
Russian mentioned that they would,why we wont believe that?
June 19, 2022 at 9:10 pm
Ukraine didn’t repel Russia at all. The Russians sent 20,000 troops to partially block Kiev – a city of 4 to 5 million people. They stayed there a number of weeks, and were withdrawn orderly. It was a clear feint designed to tie down Ukrainian troops in the west.
July 7, 2022 at 12:54 pm
Russian loses were at shocking levels in the Kyiv offensive, particularly by the standards of modern warfare. If that is a “feint”, it is easily the most grossly incompetent application of said in military history.
It wasn’t, of course. There goal was a quick victory by taking the city. And they got their collective behinds handed to them.
June 13, 2022 at 11:44 am
The author works for the treasurer of the Concerned American Voters super PAC, a Rand Paul creature. Considering how Paul supports Putin…nuff said.
June 13, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Now that is what I call a drive-by smearing. In the meantime, the author brings up good points in his article. While hoping that Ukraine could prevail, I read the daily campaign assessment put out by understandingwar.com and find that Russian troops continue to have the initiative with Ukraine trying to hold the line. While I continue to hear that Russian troops have low morale, and are absorbing costly casualties, they continue to turn Ukrainian cities into rubble. I am waiting for someone (with expertise in modern warfare) to tell me what Ukraine is doing/can do to turn the tide. If you disagree with the author, challenge his reasoning.
June 13, 2022 at 3:25 pm
this is easy enough to do. Russia started preparing to deploy the third battalion from some combat formations. Most brigades normally only commit a maximum of two of their three battalions to operations at any one time. The third battalions within brigades are often not fully staffed – Russia will likely have to rely on new recruits or mobilized reservists to deploy these units to Ukraine.
If US provides Ukraine with enough modern weaponry of course Russia will be defeated.
Look at Israel, a tiny country surrounded by an ocean of Arabic states, they win war after war because of superior equipment and training.
In the first Gulf war Iraq had tons of Russian tanks, they all got blown to hell by vastly superior American ones.
The front is more than 2 times longer than the Western front in WW1. Then millions of troops faced off against each other. Russia has tons of artillery but is running out of tanks, without mobility they can’t defend the area they have stolen.
In the south Ukrainian forces managed to regain full control over Tavrijske settlement.
There are reports of Ukrainian counter-attack in the area of Oleksandrivka and Kyselivka. Insurgents behind enemy lines are killing Russian occupiers daily. Nowhere is safe.
Russia is on track to lose 100,000 troops in a year. This is twice Vietnam in 1/10th the time with Russia has only 144 million versus 201 million in US (in 1968)
June 15, 2022 at 12:54 pm
No, you dumb f. Russia deployed old tanks for mere monitoring roads far from the front line, because it doesn’t need modern tanks for that. Russia has thousands of moderns tanks to deploy.
Russian casualties grow smaller and smaller. And it is Ukronazis who are approaching the 10th wave of drafting. Thinking in bringing in women to fight the war. Russia is fine. Ukraine will cease to be.
And US couldn’t even defeat Afganistan.
You are desperate and all you have is wishful thinking.
June 14, 2022 at 7:54 am
Didn’t you know you have to lose to win? Welcome to the 21st century.
June 14, 2022 at 8:15 am
It would be a smear only if it were not accurate. It is.
June 15, 2022 at 9:05 am
The author is, however, a prominent realist with his own Mearsheimer like world view. Like Mearsheimer, anything he says should be take with a grain of salt and understand that the author views things, not in an unbiased way, but through the lens of his own philosophy, on which he has devoted enormous amounts of time, energy and study toward.
This is not a bad thing, nor does it mean he is wrong or right. But it must be recognized.
I feel he is wrong. “Winning” war is a strange thing. This is a war of attrition. How long can Russia sustain this with the stunning variety of things working against it. Economic Collapse, Putin’s health, re-realignment of China, Expansion of NATO, European resourcing of energy, collapse of siberia oil fields, continual degredation of Russian military. Russia can “win” the Battle of the Donbas, but what can they sustain if Ukraine never agrees to peace? Can Russia hold hostile territory of a year? Two years? Does Donbas turn into Afghanistan or Iraq but with a semi active front line?
Russia may “win” the most pyrrhic victory of all time
June 15, 2022 at 7:10 pm
Who told you that there isn’t any support for Russia there? The majority of the population living in Donbas supports Russia. The same is applicable to other parts of Ukraine taken by Russian forces.
June 18, 2022 at 3:01 pm
The West blundered this war. As Ukrainian media has reported – and mainstream Western media has alluded to – there was a ceasefire agreed to but Boris Johnson went to Ukraine and convinced them they could take it to the Russians instead. Ukraine now hasn’t had a victory on the battlefield in a month, is encircled badly in places and sanctions have just been the West shooting itself in the foot. Russia likely had a plan for invading Ukraine in a drawer somewhere for a decade (most militaries do on unfriendly neighbors) while the West’s reaction is week by week.
June 14, 2022 at 11:40 am
You sound like you come from the “look squirrel” school of logic and rhetoric.
June 14, 2022 at 6:04 pm
Agreed. The red flag for me was all the “Should Nancy Pelosi be allowed to give ___________ to ___________” clickbait
June 15, 2022 at 5:15 pm
Yep…Nuff Said….is correct!
June 19, 2022 at 11:25 pm
Russia lost 25 million in WWII. How many would they lose if U.S. & NATO were to put 1st strike missles on their border with Ukraine and did a first strike? As bad as this war is, to let the U.S. NATO get such an advantage is worse and could cost Russia anothet 25 million casualties. Stolenburg refused 2 negotiate so what else could.be done, but to force dialog
June 13, 2022 at 12:07 pm
Mr. Davis joins the kissingerites who believe Ukraine should negotiate a peace deal. Everything that has come from Putin and the Russian Government has been nothing but lies. So do you, Mr. Davis really believe Putin will honor any agreement or treaty?
Regarding kissinger, he negotiated a deal over several months with North Vietnam, “Peace With Honor” it was called. While it was obvious North Vietnam had no intention of honoring it, and learning nothing from that “treaty” he has grabbed the headlines saying Ukraine should negotiate a peace treaty with Russia.
There will be no peace with Russia, until either Ukraine or Russia wins. And unfortunately it will be costly in money and Ukranian lives.
If there is to be any peace agreement, that will be for Zelensky and Ukraine to decide, Not some pundit.
June 14, 2022 at 8:25 am
It is clear Kissinger’s only legacy is losing with style.
June 15, 2022 at 5:20 pm
“Peace Agreement”….Jerry, I don’t think anything like that is on Putin’s Agenda. If Sleepy Joe and his Politburo had any Brains, they would have armed Ukraine to The Teeth. That might have discouraged Putin from invading.
I just pray that NATO and The US didn’t send too little too late.
Totally agree, Peace Agreements are for The Ukrainians to decide.
June 13, 2022 at 12:07 pm
While sanctions might hurt the Russian economy overall and crimp their capacity to produce high-tech weapons, I suspect that the Russians have adequate capacity to continue to manufacture low-tech ordinance in massive quantities indefinitely. They can probably continue to cast replacement artillery pieces as well. Thus, it is likely that they can keep right on doing what they do best – pulverizing everything in front of them into rubble – indefinitely. On the other hand, I am already seeing reports of our European allies getting worried about their capacity to replace depleted stocks of weaponry that has generously been rushed to Ukraine. Everyone acts as if the US, at least, has unlimited capacity to produce whatever is needed, both for Ukraine and for ourselves. Is this really true? The US industrial capacity has been hollowed out over the past forty years or more of free-trade globalization and offshoring. The truth is that we barely have the capacity to produce what we need, and on a timetable that often stretches out considerably more than what one would think is necessary. For Ukraine to not merely stop the Russians (and we MUST help them with that), but to roll them back in a counter-offensive, would require many times the volume of what we have supplied them thus far. Can we actually do it – instead of just strutting around and claiming that we can do it? I wonder.
June 13, 2022 at 3:35 pm
Russia is deploying ancient T-62’s now. Artillery can’t win wars, it can’t even hold territory. You need mobility. If Ukraine is provided with superior mobility with modern tanks, MLRS, more drones, etc. Just lobbing shells by Russia won’t accomplish anything other than make bigger piles of rubble.
Of course the US has vast supplies of material. We spend 800 billion for defense. US industry produces more now than at any point in our history except right before the pandemic. The current level of industrial production as of April 2022 is 105.60
Russia is a mess. Stop acting like they are invincible.
June 13, 2022 at 12:17 pm
Very revealing how most Westerners, deeply brainwashed by media and government propaganda, simply cannot handle the truth – that Russia is winning, not only in spite of the economic and proxy war being waged against it, but even because of the West’s actions.
The sanctions are a miserable failure – they failed to change Putin’s mind, failed to crush Russia’s economy, failed to “weaken Russia”. At the same time they have strengthened the Ruble, poured greatly increased energy-based income into Russian coffers, and are solidifying the bloc of resource-rich, authoritarian nations in opposition to the Western order and the dollar.
The proxy war is also a miserable failure. NATO / US weapons stocks have been dangerously depleted to the point that now tanks, for but one example, are no longer being supplied. Russia is refusing to sell titanium to the West – thereby putting tank manufacturing at total risk because that element is crucial in the manufacture of armor. NATO and the US are scrambling to re-start weapons production in order to build up their depleted reserves, and all the while Russia and China hold the keys – an entire array of strategic minerals and rare earths (like titanium and antimony) are crucial, and Russia-China has a global monopoly, and threatens to refuse selling these to the West.
The morons in leadership across the West couldn’t foresee the obvious boomerang effects of their own shortsighted actions. Why? Because they brought their ‘coloring books’ to Putin’s global chess match.
June 13, 2022 at 8:12 pm
Russia is a major source of Titanium, but so is Ukraine. Allowing Russia to take control of Ukraine’s stockpiles would be even worse for the world market.
“In 2021 Ukraine was the leading source of titanium mineral concentrates imports into Russia,” USGS said. “Other leading sources included Vietnam, Mozambique and Kazakhstan.”
‘USGS estimates that Ukraine produced 525,000 tonnes of titanium mineral concentrates last year.’
That said, this should be a wake up call for the global supply chain. I believe it was Boris Johnson who wanted to convene a meeting of the world’s leading democracies to set the standards for 5g mobile. The agenda should be extended to other parts of the supply chain.
In the meantime, we are not going to run out of tanks anytime soon, and producing more shouldnt be a deciding factor in supporting Ukraine. The Ukrainians just proved how infantry can defeat a lot of tanks with ATGMs.
What we should be doing is providing a lot more MLRS systems, including the ER munitions for HIMARS that travel 90 miles so that the Ukrainians can outrange the Russians with systems that fire at least 6 per HIMARS load. 12 for the M270 MLRS
The Ukrainians won in the areas of Kyiv, and Kharkiv, and are currently counter attacking in Kherson. If they get to the canal that sends water to Crimea and can cut that off again, they have a major strategic win over Russia. That counter attack has been made possible by Russia’s obsessive focus on Donbas, and shifting equipment to that area from the rest of the south. Ukraine is now and can further use that to its strategic advantage. What they need is more weapons from the west to fight in the east from longer distances to pin the Russians down long enough to score wins in other places. Retaking Kherson, and the mouth of the canal is one, if they got to Melitopol and completely cut off the land route from Crimea to Donbas they would be in great shape to negotiate.
Leon d Bayer
June 14, 2022 at 4:48 pm
The US has ample supplies of titanium deposits, and so does Japan.
June 14, 2022 at 6:33 pm
Whenever I read “deeply brainwashed by media and government propaganda”, my Russian troll alarm goes on. Projection is something they do subconsciously and all the time. It is also very insulting to see this denigrating language being used in any respectable forum.
June 15, 2022 at 9:15 am
What are they winning? The Battle of the Donbas? Maybe. Probably.
Can they hold it? Will they overreach? What does “winning” mean? We “Won” lots of Battles in Vietnam. We won lots of Battles in Afghanistan and Iraq.
You chastise others for “western propaganda” (what a laughable assertion) yet you act like war is some sort sporting event where a score is kept.
June 15, 2022 at 5:42 pm
Putin’s global chess match? Wow. Things are getting tougher all the time in Russia. I don’t blame your for kneeling before your master. A man’s gotta survive. Just be careful what you eat.
June 13, 2022 at 1:02 pm
If you are so smart Mr. Davis. Please explain why Frederick W Kagan’s June 6 article in Time is incorrect. All of your readers should read it too. Then all can decide who is the defeatist or over-optimist.
June 14, 2022 at 4:30 pm
Fred Kagan, the brother of Robert Kagan, husband of arch-neocon Victoria Nuland who has her fingerprints all over this war. Sorry, the brother in law to the woman who helped start this war is not a credible source.
June 19, 2022 at 9:13 pm
The fact that it was written by Frederick Kagan should give you a clue.
June 13, 2022 at 2:30 pm
The negotiating table and war both work in concert to achieve the same goal. What can not be won military, may be won at the negotiating table. Given the current trajectory of the ground and air operations against the Ukrainians by the Russians, it is in Ukraine’s interest for a cease fire / armistice type of agreement to mitigate the loss. In this case, negotiation will be used to prevent a total Russian victory, and may buy time for the international community to rearm, retrain, and resource Ukraine. At the same time, unless Ukraine accedes to the nonnegotiable Russian demands, it is not in the Russia’s interest to negotiate.
Based on the situation on the ground in where the military operations were for the past 110 days, without another country entering the conflict with their military units, Ukraine will continue to loose manpower, equipment, and land. To change the initiative on the battle field, will require one or more countries entering the conflict on behalf of Ukraine with sufficient manpower, supplies and equipment. This level of support commits a country to become a combatant in a war. The key question no one is willing to ask, “Are the member states of NATO individually or collectively willing to escalate this regional conflict into a larger central European war risking WWIII?”
June 13, 2022 at 2:46 pm
NO, Russia might lose to war.
You’re idiot like the others who dont believe in Ukrainian bravery
June 13, 2022 at 3:14 pm
Wow. Daniel Davis became Alex so fast it made my head spin. He leaves out important facts. Russia controls 20 percent of Ukrainian territory? Well, only if you include Crimea. So this is a sloppy column. But guess what? All over the place columns saying exactly the same thing are appearing. Over the weekend ,somebody coordinated with people and told them to switch to an “All is lost” message. In fact, Russia is only going to be able to sustain the pressure for about another couple of months. Then they will have severe shortages as well. My guess is that Ukraine has begun to master the intricacies of feeding the Western media, and they are declaring they are out of ammunition now so that the West will get off their behinds and get them more ammunition, and it might take two months. Ukraine will have another 350,000 soldiers ready to enter front line combat by end of August. Russians are having to scrounge all over their empire and hire mercenaries.
This is not over by a long shot. This is a war that might last two years or so. It may well be that the West is pushing Ukraine to cede some territory so that Europe can get Russian gas again this coming winter. Time will tell. But this war is not settled either way, not by a long shot.
from Russia with love
June 13, 2022 at 4:44 pm
why did the author decide that Russia would negotiate? has the author already forgotten the goals of the special operation? they were voiced by Putin. 1) demilitarization of Ukraine. 2) denazification (this means regime change, if someone did not understand).
now Ukraine has only 1 way-surrender. for Russia it doesn’t matter whether it happens this year or next. for the West it is much more important. the winter will be hard. summer too 🙂
June 13, 2022 at 5:01 pm
Maybe, maybe not.
IMO we should be sending a few longer range HIMARS missile to Ukraine with a long enough range to known out several railroad bridges. For example, there is only one operable railroad to Crimea: it crosses the strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Take that down and supply is cut off to Russian troops west of Mariupol. There are a couple of highway bridges that pass over the only rail lines that supply Russian troops south of Izium. Take those down too. Right now they are too far away to hit with anything we sent with the HIMARS trucks.
June 14, 2022 at 11:33 am
This war absolutely needs to be ended. The final outcome is no longer in doubt. And the longer Ukraine waits to settle, the worse any deal it gets from the Russians will be. When a country lacks air superiority, has lost almost all of its heavy weapons and armor, and is outgunned by the opponent’s artillery by at least 10 to 1, delays ending the war only create more carnage.
And the idea that somehow NATO can send the Ukrainians enough heavy weaponry to make a difference is fanciful. First the weapons would have to get into the country, then get to the front line with sufficient ammunition in the face of Russian air, missile, and artillery superiority. Then the Ukrainians would have to have teams trained to operate and maintain the equipment, and finally have the maintenance parts and crews available to keep the equipment running. It takes years to introduce new weapons in advanced militaries in peacetime. The Ukrainians should sue for peace, end the war, and prevent needless death.
June 14, 2022 at 1:59 pm
Any agreement with Russia wouldn’t be worth the paper its written on. Minsk, Minsk II and other agreements were never respected. To think a new one would be at this point is fanciful. We need to arm Ukraine to the teeth and let them continue to hollow out Russia’s soul. When Russia sees that it’s going to lose Crimea too, they may be ready to negotiate.
June 15, 2022 at 3:47 pm
You should read Bismarck’s phrase in full, and not take out of context the lines you like
June 15, 2022 at 9:18 am
The Vietnamese would like a word with you.
June 13, 2022 at 5:38 pm
To defeat and crush Russia, Biden should send the neo-nazists some tactical nukes like b61 bombs (b61 consists of several variants; choose the desired type) INSTEAD of griping and finger pointing and blame gaming.
On June 10 2022, Biden sought to find fault with zelenskiy, simplying he’s responsible for the current mess, by saying or claiming that he (zelenskiy) refused to hear US warning of Russian invasion be fore February 24.
Biden and his cohort have made the situation so divisive, terminally catastrophic and past point of no return that the only path forward is a nuclear conflagration in Europe.Perhaps it could be limited to a few cities enough to stop the fighting and silence the guns and warmongers but still not big enough to make a global ww3.
Hope Biden still some sense in his ached brain.It never was with Hitler.
Happy midterms ! And a great 2024. !!! Yah !
June 14, 2022 at 8:27 am
Russia’s Dmitri Utkin is about the only Nazi in that fight.
June 13, 2022 at 7:13 pm
The fundamentals of war indeed. Despite the incompetent showing by Russian forces and leadership, they will stumble to victory. Stop listening to MSM propaganda. They got this wrong as well.
June 13, 2022 at 8:47 pm
Defeatist much? Maybe the Allies should have surrendered after 1940 or 1941. You know, Germany was doing so well, it was a good time to do like the French and surrender. Maybe Triple entente should have done the same in WWI, the Germans were so powerful until 1916. It was pointless to continue. So much waste of lives and material. Heck, why didn’t the Americans abandon during the war of independence. The first two years were so awful. The French shouldn’t have helped you, you were a lost cause already.
I bet you get the point. You should be ashamed of yourself. Yes, the war in the east is currently not going well, but Ukraine managed to repel the entire northern front and push Russia out out Kharkiv. There is some progress on the southern front. All this, is with less than optimal deliveries of weapons from the west. The only way the situation becomes hopeless is if those who believe in Ukraine start to view the situation like you, defeatist as you are, and don’t deliver sufficient help to Ukraine.
June 13, 2022 at 9:23 pm
Again with calling on Ukrainians to surrender? Can Davis, next time he sends the same message, explicitly state that he himself would do the same if his country found itself in a similar position? Yes, he needs to say that he would give up, cave in, surrender, “negotiate”, however he wants to sell it. Same applies to all others with ill-deserved confidence to suggest whose country is worth fighting for, and whose is not.
June 13, 2022 at 11:02 pm
Ukraine cannot afford a defeat since it means a virtually landlocked country with only Odessa still outside russian control but under permanent threat of attack. But neither can Russia afford a defeat. Everytime the russians lost a major war instability and revolution followed. In 1905 1917 and 1989.Everyone in the russian military knows this. Defeat abroad means separatists at home gain ground.This isn’t just about Putin and any general no matter how corrupt still values having a job.What this means on the ground is that if the russians faced complete defeat they’d escalate to the ultimate level. Its lose lose either way. You’re defeated in Ukraine today tomorrow civil war at home. Its that simple for them. How do you defeat someone with nothing to lose anymore?That’s the thing that your average ‘expert’ doesn’t get. It started out as a land grab but now its about their survival as a country.
June 14, 2022 at 12:50 am
There is a point to be made that we can’t tell where this war will end if Russia wants to involve their entire population. I would complain that if Ukraine is now starting feel overmatched, maybe 10:1 in artillary, then why didn’t our Western sources indicate that this was a problem? Somehow the US sources have gone quiet about what we are going to give Ukraine. Ukraine can fight and use our weapons, I don’t see any obvious information to the contrary. We have been giving them our outdated stocks and talking about how many billions when this is now inadequate. Germany and France are apparently giving close to nothing in the recent months. If we can get it there we need to give them everything we have, start training them, including fighter jets and start producing more. We cannot let Ukraine suffer unthinkable occupation by Russia.
June 14, 2022 at 3:31 am
June 14, 2022 at 3:34 am
when they should have figured out why so many of their neighbors hate and fear them. But the Russian public learned no such lesson. Within a decade, Putin, brimming with grievances, had convinced many of them that the West and the rest of the world owed them something, and that further conquests were justified.
June 14, 2022 at 7:51 am
“After Russian armor suffered a ‘stunning defeat’ by Ukrainian defenders north of Kyiv and Kharkiv during the first few weeks of war”
American pundits have lied about every aspect of this war, so why would I believe that Russia suffered any ‘stunning defeats’? Russia has shaped the battle field from day 1. The US government (and therefore their minions in the press) has supported an evil and corrupt Ukrainian government.
June 14, 2022 at 8:49 am
I was an OSCE ceasefire monitor in Donbas from 2014 to 2021. The war I witnessed at that time was bad enough. This renewed Russian invasion, of immense scope and tremendous violence, is truly terrible. In my opinion, to the bitter sorrow of Ukraine, unless she receives a miracle, probably the author is correct.
William C Jockusch
June 14, 2022 at 8:51 am
Of course Ukraine can win. It just needs enough suicide drones. A suicide drone should be able to kill at least one invader. ’nuff said.
June 14, 2022 at 9:19 am
Where is the United Nations? There is little difference between what Putin is doing here and what Hitler did in 1939, which was what the UN was started to prevent
We have the U.S. policy of being a day late, and a dollar short, on our aid packages and because of that Ukraine does not have the weapons it needs, when it needs them. I feel sorry for Ukraine because, in order to stop the invasion, they have to make Russia pay a huge price, which they did originally but, because of our fecklessness in getting them the weapons they need, they can’t continue that.
June 14, 2022 at 1:22 pm
The United Nations can’t intervene. Russia inherited the Soviet Union’s permanent seat on the security council, and thusly can veto any attempt to curtail their activity. Much as the other permanent members can: The United States, Great Britain, France, and China.
June 14, 2022 at 9:32 am
Final Ceasefire Agreement: Russia gets All of the South-East, except Odessa-Mykolaiv.
That’s Kherson, Melitopol, Mariupol, all of Donbas. Plus Kharkov. Plus Dnipro City and River, south of Zapo. Plus Nato guarantees to close the deal. That’s 25% of Ukraine. Write it down!
*option: Russia refuses this offer. They demand Odessa/Mykolaiv. The West gives in, but gets Mariupol Port in exchange.
June 14, 2022 at 11:24 am
I agree that the Russians will win. They will take over Ukraine in 3 days, as all the experts know.
June 14, 2022 at 12:23 pm
Just so we understand what the Russians are up to in occupied territories of Ukraine:
“One of the photos she showed me was the hanging body of a young girl. She couldn’t have been more than 14. She said her grandson told her he was walking through the woods looking for dead bodies left by the Russians and lifted his head and saw these girls strung from the trees, all of them very young. They were naked and torn up. She said he had passed on the photos to investigators in Ukraine who were gathering evidence of war crimes.” (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/may/06/ukraine-photos-poland-border-refugees-rape-atrocities)
Daniel Davis fails to mention in his argument the humanitarian catastrophe that Russia has brought to the Ukrainian people.
My opinion is that we should help the Ukrainians more. A few dozen advanced weapons help but if we give them ammunition and 300 rocket launchers, 500 tanks, 1000 howitzers, 1000 drones, and 2000 armored vehicles (what they are asking for) they will have a serious fighting chance. USA and western nations have the reserve stockpiles and are holding back.
June 14, 2022 at 12:38 pm
Diplomacy is now the only obvious option, not more weapons. The sad truth is that hopefully the war has killed off most of the opposition to what I think was Zelensky’s true pre-war desire for a negotiated settlement with Russia; before he was bought off by Washington in mid-April. This war never had a chance to destabilize Russia, which I think was Washington’s strategy. This is not another Afghanistan. We can only hope that Putin will be willing to settle for the Donbass and Crimera, else I fear NATO may have to get involved in western Ukraine just to save face.
June 14, 2022 at 12:41 pm
The only way Ukraine can win is if they attack Russia on their own soil. The West refuses to give them the offensive weapons in order to do that.
Taking out oil and gas export facilities will hurt Russia where it counts. This should be Ukraine’s number one goal at the moment. If they can take away Russia’s ability to export oil then they’ll lose their number one source of income.
June 14, 2022 at 2:32 pm
To summarize the article “Give up some land now before you lose more and hope Russia doesn’t attack again to take the rest of it.”
Sorry. Not good advice. If Russia ‘wins’ any concession from this invasion they will be back for more later. The only answer is to bleed them as much as possible. Even if they take the capital and install a puppet regime Ukrainians should continue to bleed them through guerilla resistance.
Reports say Putin only has 2-3 years before his cancer kills him. It’s looking more and more like Ukraine has more time that Putin does.
June 14, 2022 at 4:02 pm
“Mr. Daniel Davis” please prove to us with facts not your opinion that
“..Russia continues to have significant advantages in……..manpower, it is not surprising Ukraine is losing its grip on the Donbas…”
Russia is still using the same mauled “Peace Time Force” they started the Invasion with. Russia has not called up any Reserves. Ukraine on the other hand started calling up its Reserves day 1 of the Invasion. Military analysts now agree that Ukraine’s troop strength approximates 700,000 versus Russia’s of 250,000. Ukraine’s weakness is they haven’t received enough weapons to give to all of their troops. Russia on the other hand is having trouble with its lack of manpower. Artillery is a good advantage for Russia but you still need troops for ground fighting and occupation. Russia does not have such troops because of its losses. Ukraine’s troop losses have been replaced by its Reserves. Your article is a real stretch. The problem is that the West is still internally bickering over providing enough volume of equipment and weapons. For example, Germany is slow hasn’t even provided Ukraine with helmets they promised 2 months ago.
June 14, 2022 at 4:25 pm
Early in the US Civil War, the North was losing to the South. But somehow the North won.
Early in WWII, the Axis were winning….but somehow lost.
Early in the current Ukraine-Russia war, Ukraine was winning (we were told so by various other govts and pundits and lapdog press).
But now, the Russians are winning.
With a specific corollary to the US Civil War: North had more people, and a lot more weapons.
June 14, 2022 at 4:28 pm
Russia has been forced to narrow its offensive to a very small front to concentrate enough men and firepower, and even then its advances are only a few hundred meters per day. This in spite of the fact that western support has been indecisive and late. The rocket launchers the author mentioned are a case in point. The US apparently is planning to supply a grand total of 4 of them in order not to anger Putin. Putin is hanging on in spite of the low morale and poor combat effectiveness of his forces because he calculates the West will give up before he does, and he’s probably right about that. Sooner or later, Ukraine will be abandoned to its fate as supplies from the West dwindle.
June 14, 2022 at 4:53 pm
The war is over and Russia won. The US is spreading the bodies of young Ukrainian men as thinly as possible over the battlefields in hopes they can prolong this tragedy until after the midterms.
June 14, 2022 at 10:38 pm
The fatal flaw in this argument is Russia will not stop until it has all of Ukraine. And Moldova. And Latvia. And Estonia. And Latvia.
The West must tell Russia it will be treated like it treats North Korea – total isolation. No trade, no membership in any international organizations, nothing. China? China could absorb Russia in a heatbeat.
US Cyber Security Analyst
June 15, 2022 at 4:48 am
I have to greatly disagree with this assessment. Ukrainian causalities have been enormous but there is no other option but continue fighting until Russia accepts a settlement that resembles the pre-war boundaries.All indications out of the Russian Government is that their goal is to eventually seize the whole Ukraine whether or not that is fully accomplished with this war or future engagements. The concept of winning field battles is an outdated concept for the 20th century not the 21st. We have seen this with the Vietnam and Afghan Wars.
A combination of a highly mobile force & modern technology has severely degraded Russia invasion force. The concept of winning field battles is an outdated one in today war fare.
Western Sanctions have hurt the Russian economy but there is still much that could be down. Western nations have not taken drastic action like going after more of the Russian banks and western leaders have not considered rationing in similar vain as WW2 rationing to totally blockade Russian oil.
Likewise much of the aide pledged has yet to be delivered specifically Germany has not followed through yet and full filled their military aide pledges. Surrendering or Appeasing now could have dangerous consequences continued interference in other countries affairs and legitimate fear of another invasion of Ukraine, Moldova, and the Baltics. We would save thousand of combat causalities today only to have millions a year from now.
We must continue to arm Ukraine until the Ukrainians and Ukrainians alone decide they want to negotiate.
June 15, 2022 at 7:31 am
Very simply put by Ukraine itself,modern weaponry HIMARS and newest art in numbers significant enough totarget and nuetralise Russian arty,provide the new Ukraine artillery formations with modern anti air for protection.Keep supplying groundforces with anti tank and enough small arms and protective eqp.Its simple,but takes huge effort by the West wether they have what it takes is another matter.Ultimately you need to bring Russia to a complete stalemate,erode the morale of there troops and hit them at distance.Then negotiate.DD is wrong.
June 15, 2022 at 11:41 am
God bless people in the world.
As the politics situation of Ukraine war in past years,
war between North Korea and South Korea is different.
People in South Korea keep to train soldier for fighting North Korea in many years.
But it is also about the budget dispute for U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
God bless America.
June 15, 2022 at 1:41 pm
neither side has a path to victory
June 15, 2022 at 11:34 pm
I kind of find it satisfying that they lost after being lied to for 3 months straight about this war.
June 17, 2022 at 11:58 pm
“Without a course correction – and soon – Kyiv itself may not ultimately be safe.” This sentence alone largely discredits everything you say. As long as Russia strongly believes the lie that Ukraine should be part of Russia and that they are one, Ukraine will never be safe.
My favorite writer likes to say that an aggressor loses its advantage as the victim of the attack recovers from the initial attack, assuming they survive the initial onslaught.
Tanks with little infantry support, poor communications capabilities, no real night vision capabilities. Yep, they have artillery and a lot of it so they can pound cities into the ground. I am not sure that wins a war today. Maybe it does.
I have listened to numerous military personnel such as this say that Kiev would be captured, Ukraine wouldn’t survive, etc. Ultimately, it is because you believed the BS about the Russian military and frankly, needed the Russians to be 20 foot super soldiers.
June 18, 2022 at 2:28 pm
You are desperate and all you have is wishful thinking.
June 19, 2022 at 12:18 pm
“war of aggression!!!” Gotta use the propaganda terminology. When did you ever call the bombing of Donbass for seven years aggression? In 2014 groups financed by Washington, due to VP Biden, with $5 billion, staged a coup. The president’s party’s offices were ransacked, politicians and journalists were arrested.
The ultra-corrupt Poroshenko was installed, and after him Zelensky, picked by the Israeli-Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. He sold out government land to the oligarchs, an enormously impopular move. And he allowed the Azov Battalion to keep murdering the pro-democracy resistance in Donbass. This is Russian territory, always was. The Azov Battalion has been bombing them 20 times a day for seven years. Ignoring the peace agreement from 2015. In the fall 2021 The aggression increased to more than 100 shellings a day, and an invasion force of 60,000 was gathered. In February 2022, the shellings increased to more than 1,000 a day, closer to 2,000. They targeted apartment buildings, schools, administration, anyone in Donbass’ large cities.
That is when Russia intervened to stop the coup regime and save the pro-democracy side.
The coupsters are financed by Biden, who they in turn have given enormous bribes, $50,000 a month via his crack-using son Hunter Biden.
15,000 have died due to the coup regime’s aggression. Zelensky’s approval rating tanked to 30% for lying about wanting to stop the aggression, then just allowing it to go on, and aiding the nationalist battalions.
Dictator Zelensky has now banned 11 opposition parties. He arrested the runner-up in the presidential election, and has now arrested him again, mocking him by posting his picture on social media, with his face beaten. Zelensky has banned five TV news stations. His henchmen have killed journalists. His “Security and Defense Council” illegally appropriates people’s assets to punish dissenters – many hundreds.
To keep the money flow from U.S. taxpayers going, the regime places U.S. weapons in Ukraine, including dozens of bio-war labs, and Zelensky talked about placing nuclear weapons there – the distance to Moscow being half the distance between Washington and Cuba.
The coup regime is a willing, paid tool in the socialist Washington’s war against conservative Russia. The Washington government states that “the war for Ukraine is a war for LGBT rights.” Meaning a war to spread their hateful Cultural Marxist ideology, to attack normal society in order to pacify the one threat to their agenda, ordinary White men.
The regime will be stopped. While Western cuckservatives and other leftists yell about “Putin’s aggression!”
June 27, 2022 at 6:42 am
The ugly and bitter truth is that any agreement with Russia is simply impossible. For Russia the purpose of this war is not capturing any particular region or city, but destroying Ukraine as a sovereign nation. You may sign any agreement, any conditions but if you don’t stop Russia it will come back and another big war is just a matter of time.
And of you think that Russia will never dare to attack NATO country then I have bad news for you. If you let Ukraine to fall you will face a lot of bitter and ugly things in the future. So please spend your energy on supporting Ukraine, not writing articles