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Thomas Gallatin / August 25, 2022

Putin’s Stalled Invasion of Ukraine at Six Months

The Russian invasion of Ukraine hasn’t gone as planned and there’s no end in sight.

Six months ago yesterday, Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade in a massive attack against Ukraine. The buildup to the war had been coming for some time, with most believing that once the mighty Russian army, the second largest in the world, invaded, Ukraine would quickly crumble and succumb. Well, Wednesday, August 24, Ukraine celebrated its Independence Day marking the day in 1991 when the nation declared its independence from the former Soviet Union. It is indeed ironic to see now 31 years on, Ukraine is again fighting to maintain its independence from what is effectively the same country it broke away from, Russia.

Where stands the war? Well, in many ways the outcome from the conflict is very much up in the air. Russia’s initial rapid push was repelled, as an under-trained army took massive causalities due to overextending itself and poor strategic and logistic planning. Essentially, Ukraine put up a fight that the Russians simply didn’t believe they were capable of.

Thanks to the resolve of the Ukrainian people, led by their determined President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, combined with billions of dollars in weapons and aid from NATO, the Ukrainian military was able to push back the overextended Russian forces, and the war has moved and isolated in the eastern Donbas and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. It has now turned into a war of attrition in which Russian forces unleash massive amounts of artillery, indiscriminately demolishing nearly everything before inching forward.

The war has taken a toll on both sides. The U.S. estimates that the Russian military has taken between 60,000 and 80,000 casualties, which is many times more than the U.S. had in two decades of fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan, while the Ukrainians have suffered an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 casualties. Furthermore, the Russian military machine has been exposed as being far from an elite fighting force.

Meanwhile, more than 5.2 million Ukrainians have fled the country, most seeking refuge in surrounding NATO counties, with Poland accounting for over a million.

Yet so much of this current mess could have been avoided had Joe Biden not ordered the abysmal surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Biden effectively signaled to the rest of the world that they couldn’t count on America. Putin saw this weakness and pounced. What Putin underestimated was the resolve of the Ukrainian people to stand and fight.

Instead, the U.S. has given some $54 billion in aid to Ukraine, with Biden pledging another $3 billion just yesterday. A typical Democrat way of “solving” problems — just throw more taxpayer money at it.

It’s looking like the end of the war is nowhere near as autumn rapidly approaches. Winter is coming and with it more suffering, not just for the soldiers but for the civilians with diminishing supplies and reliable energy sources.

It’s good that America is standing behind Ukraine against Putin’s aggression, though it’s beyond unfortunate that it ever got to this point. It never would have if Donald Trump were in office today.

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