Can Ukraine Break Through Again?



Continued progress in Ukraine is by no means guaranteed.

With no sign of a massive Russian withdrawal, Russian troops continued to attack Ukrainian positions and attack Ukrainian towns and villages. In areas where Ukraine has an advantage, Russian troops may find ways to dig in, hold the front lines, and wait for winter, when the ground freezes and advancing is more difficult. After a period of rapid maneuvering, the fighting may slow down and return to a war of attrition, with Russia willing to destroy populated areas with artillery and push Ukraine back.

But the recent victory in Ukraine has reshaped the politics of war and battlefield. Now, it seems unlikely that the West will withdraw military support for Ukraine, which has proven essential. Meanwhile, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is facing unusual criticism at home over the military’s recent losses — as well as concerns over Xi Jinping, the leader of China, Russia’s most powerful country ‘s partner.

In this environment, Russia’s core problem — the lack of well-trained, motivated fighters — is not easy to solve. Putin’s announcement on Wednesday of a “partial mobilization” of people with military experience to call up some 300,000 soldiers could help replenish Russia’s military. But the quality of recruits is unclear, and it may take time to organize and deploy them, limiting immediate impact on the battlefield.

While still considered unlikely, it is now conceivable that continued success in Ukraine could lead to a collapse in Russian morale and combat capability, Mr. Muzyka, analyst at Rochan Consulting, written on monday.

“The idea that wars will end in weeks, months, not years, is no longer science fiction,” Mr. Mujica wrote.



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