NewsPutin faces strategic dilemma in prolonged Ukrainian war

Putin faces strategic dilemma in prolonged Ukrainian war

Ukrainians and Russians have had enough of war, but its end is not in sight.
Ukrainians and Russians have had enough of war, but its end is not in sight.
Images source: © Getty Images | Anadolu Agency
9:23 AM EST, November 26, 2023

The ongoing Ukrainian-Russian war seems to be taking a toll on both sides. Increasingly, there's a growing lack of comprehension of the war's purposes. Ukrainians are fighting hard to claim their country, while Russians are intent on asserting dominance. However, neither seem to be progressing towards their respective goals, leading to a stalemate. Uncertainty is rife in Moscow regarding the next course of action - whether to retreat, continue the onslaught despite casualties, or launch new offensive strategies.

Now two years into the stalemate, the Russians are grappling with indecision. Retreat and accept defeat? Continue to endure losses while hoping for the enemy's depletion? Or, once again, risk an unsuccessful attack on Kyiv? The answer remains elusive in Moscow.

It appears that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is devoid of a strategic plan. As reelection approaches, Putin continues to demand victories from his battlefield commanders. However, these military leaders are depleted of practical war strategies, garnering harsh criticism for their lack of tactical planning, leading to losses in lives and machinery.

The toll these tribulations take is growing severely, even though it may not be apparent just yet.

The raging debate among commentators and experts has been stoked by recent statements by Apti Alaudinov, the leader of the Special Unit "Akhmat." He claimed that Russia will arrive at "very substantial results" on the battlefield by Spring 2024, indicating a tipping point in the conflict as Ukraine's resources deplete, even suggesting that Russia will have winter on their side.

Many have dismissed these statements as total fabrications, and it seems even the Russian population has grown disillusioned with them.

Renowned military blogger Roman Saponkov has criticized Alaudinov's grasp of the situation, questioning the competency of the Russian forces. According to him, there is little chance of the Russians breaching the Ukrainian defense, even as they advance, probing the front lines in areas like Krynk, Robotyn, and Bakhmut, where they've managed to press the enemy back eastward.

The Russians are focused on capturing Avdiivka despite enduring heavy combat and making only small advancements. Their attacks on Zaporizhia, Kupiansk, and Lyman areas failed, and there are rising concerns over possible Ukrainian counterattacks. Additionally, speculations are rampant that Russia is struggling with its military supplies and equipment.

Alexei Zhivov, a popular blogger, has called out the military leadership for its lack of war strategy. A year into the conflict, the Russian Federation's armed forces seem to be in a constant state of retreat. Moreover, there seems to be a lack of boldness to counterattack when the Ukrainian forces cease their offenses. "We are unclear of our leadership's strategic agenda." quipped the Russian commentator.

"We operated according to a predetermined action plan. But now?" - the blogger laments.

An attendant issue is personnel depletion due to combat losses. With no massive recruitment expected until after spring's presidential election, the manpower shortage is unlikely to be rectified soon. Both sides are exhibiting war fatigue and the impasse is palpable. Several skeptical responses emerged following General Valery Zaluzhny's public lament of insufficient resources and troop exhaustion.

The war drags on, with a resolution seeming far from realization. The first side to surprise the opponent might claim victory by striking a debilitating blow. Many hope that the eastern bear, the disruptor of peace and security in Europe, will be severely wounded. This is the aspiration of many Ukrainians for 2024.

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