March 3, 2022


“The number of people sent fleeing Ukraine by Russia’s invasion topped 1 million on Wednesday, the swiftest refugee exodus this century, the United Nations said, as Russian forces kept up their bombardment of the country’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv, and laid siege to two strategic seaports… Moscow’s isolation deepened when most of the world lined up against it at the United Nations to demand it withdraw from Ukraine. And the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into possible war crimes.” AP News

Both sides argue that Putin will be unable to subdue Ukraine even if he manages to capture Kyiv:

“Russian logistics trains into Ukraine are now overwhelmed and unprovisioned for a drawn-out war across hundreds of thousands of square miles. Forward-deployed Russian forces lack sufficient ammunition stocks, fuel, food, and cold-weather equipment. The apparent inability of Russian commanders to conduct coordinated combined arms offensives (for example, ground assaults supported by air power and heavy artillery) has led to units being isolated and annihilated…

“Western defense intelligence staff estimate Russian troops killed in action are at more than 2,000 and perhaps more than 3,000… [Meanwhile] The Russian ruble has collapsed in value, and the sanctioned Russian central bank has been forced to keep markets closed for a third day for fear of capital flight…

“To break through the determined Ukrainian resistance, Putin is embracing a strategy of terror… [But] Unless [he] is willing to exterminate much of the Ukrainian population, an act his regime might not be able to survive, he is stuck. If he does manage to seize control in Kyiv, the pacification of Ukraine will require a Russian occupying force at least three times that which is currently present in Ukraine. Putin lacks the military and financial capacity to conduct a long-lasting operation at that scale. If the West supported a Ukrainian insurgency, the costs of any occupation would grow exponentially. Put another way, Putin is now caught between his own destiny-driven ambitions and the cold reality of a free Ukraine.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

“I think the most important thing that we can do is make sure that Ukrainians who want to fight and are fighting for their own country have all the arms they need to do that. I think the engine of this conflict going forward is what happens between the Ukrainians defending their country and Vladimir Putin’s army trying to take it over on the ground. That will be the core flywheel of all of this. And what strikes me is Putin thought this was going to be a cakewalk, that he actually believed his own fantasy, that there are a bunch of Nazis running Ukraine, as soon as he came in the Ukrainian people would want them evicted, they would throw flowers, etc. And now that that hasn’t happened…

It is very clear Putin has no Plan B. Because there is no Plan B. He simply cannot do what he hoped to do: install a puppet and basically go home. If he installs a puppet, he’s going to have troops there forever. So I think Putin basically has four choices: lose early, lose late, lose big or lose small. But those are his only choices… The long shot scenario is, somebody [from the Russian military] steps in and takes [Putin] out and you get a different Russia. But the other is a dirty compromise. And the third is an endless war which would be just terrible.”
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times

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