The Russian military has failed in Ukraine. This is small news to anyone who has been keeping up with the war in the eastern European country.
On February 24, 2022, Moscow went to Ukraine to overthrow the Ukrainian government and capture the capital of Kyiv in three days.
More than 16 months later, Russian forces are struggling to advance more than a mile on the ground in Ukraine and have suffered more than 220,000 casualties.
The Second Strongest Military in Ukraine
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken gave a speech from Helsinki, Finland. From the newest member of NATO, Blinken criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The top American diplomat was scathing in his remarks.
“The Kremlin often claimed that it had the second strongest military in the world. And many believed it. Today, many see Russia’s military as the second strongest in Ukraine. Its equipment, technology, leadership, troops, strategy, tactics, and morale [are] a case study in failure,” Blinken said.
Blinken also compared Putin’s strategy of bombing and war crimes in Ukraine with Joseph Stalin’s invasion of Finland during the Winter War in 1939.
“Like Putin in Ukraine, when Stalin failed to overcome the Finns’ fierce and determined resistance, he shifted to a strategy of terror, incinerating entire villages and bombing so many hospitals from the air that Finns started covering up the Red Cross insignia on the rooftops,” Blinken said.
NATO and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
In his speech, the U.S. Secretary of State also highlighted how the Russian invasion has changed to dynamic in Eastern Europe. The Kremlin launched its “special military operation” because it thought that the West was divided. NATO and the European Union, Kremlin officials believed, wouldn’t coalesce in time to help Ukraine fend off the Russian mechanized columns that poured into the country.
The reality is that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought NATO and the European Union closer. Ties are stronger than ever, and the alliances have managed to overcome significant geopolitical hurdles over an extended period of time. The European Union alone has provided more than $75 billion in economic, humanitarian, and security support to Kyiv.
“That includes $18 billion in security assistance, from air defense systems to Leopard tanks to ammunition. Coordinating closely with the U.S., the U.K., and other partners, the EU has launched its most ambitious sanctions ever, immobilizing over half of Russia’s sovereign assets. And European nations have taken in more than 8 million Ukrainian refugees, most of whom have not only been granted access to public services, but also the right to work, to study,” Blinken said.
The U.S. itself has provided an additional $40 billion in security aid to Ukraine, including several key weapon systems like the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), MIM-104 Patriot air defense system, and M-777 155mm howitzer.
Contrary to what the Kremlin believed on the eve of the invasion, the West came together in support of Ukraine. Although it is the Ukrainian people’s grit and sacrifices that have held back the Russian forces, Kyiv wouldn’t have been as successful if it weren’t for the security aid from the West.
A 19FortyFive 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.