Vladimir Putin at victory parade

In Ukraine, West should Expect Extended Confrontation

As the Russo-Ukrainian War grinds into its third month, the full scope of Vladimir Putin’s failure has emerged. His initial strategy, a lightning strike on Kyiv that would destroy the Ukrainian state, failed. His second strategy, a grinding assault on the capital, also miscarried. His third strategy, a refocus on the Donbas, currently hangs in the balance.

Whether it succeeds or not, fighting will continue throughout summer, and likely until next year.

Given the military realities Putin faces, he must make a choice: continue fighting the war short-handed, treating it as a “special operation” and hoping he can abrade Ukrainian resistance over time, or mobilize for a long-term confrontation and commit openly to conquest. Putin’s May 9 speech was opaque. He postponed his decision, hoping to keep the conflict at a level that favors the Kremlin’s domestic imperatives.

Understanding Putin’s actions on May 9 requires three steps. First, his decision for war in February must be explained. Second, there should be an account of the dilemmas the Russian military has encountered. Third, the political stakes for Putin and his regime need to be made clear.

Read the full article at Asia Times.

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