Published at 06:55 on 7 April 2022
With Russia conceding defeat in many battles (and make no mistake, this is precisely what they are doing), Putin’s announced intent is to concentrate on trying to whittle off the Donbas and Luhansk regions.
Now, something like this is what I originally expected Putin to do, and I originally expected Putin to succeed in doing it. That, however, was then. This is now:
- Then, Putin would have been coming in with fresh troops, at full strength. Now, he is working with troop and materiel depleted by over a month of battles, battles that went rather worse for him than he believed they would.
- Then, Russia was not sanctioned and isolated. Now, Russia is.
- Then, troop morale had not been battered by over a month of combat and unexpected resistance. Now, it has.
- Then, Ukraine had not been armed to the teeth by massive amounts of Western aid in the way that it now has.
- Then, morale on the Ukrainian side was one of fear and trepidation. Now, there is rather more optimism, optimism borne of the reality of being able to fight back surprisingly effectively against Russia.
The trouble for Putin is: you can’t undo the past. What has been done has been done, and it makes the job of whittling off Donbas and Luhansk significantly harder than it would have been had that been the original war goal.