When the invasion of Ukraine started in February 2022, many military experts believed that Ukraine would be defeated in a matter of weeks. It was thought that they lacked the arms, the technology, and most importantly, the stomach to fight. Almost eight months later, Russia, with one of the most powerful militaries in the world, is now on the back foot. Losing many of Russian’s gains in recent months, President Vladimir Putin has called up 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine. The Russian military complex finds themselves in short supply of microchips and other crucial resources for fighting a modern war. Access to these resources, however, is impossible due to international sanctions and worldwide condemnation on Russia. Thus, Russia must rely on its vast reserves of Soviet gear and military equipment to stem the gaps in the supply chain.
Due to the fog of war, no source truly knows the amount of lives lost in the conflict, but according to Ukrainian sources, Russia suffers greater casualties than Ukraine. Reportedly, roughly 9,000 soldiers and 5,000 civilians were killed on the Ukrainian side; meanwhile, they estimated roughly 45,000 Russian casualties.
This conflict has been going on for nearly eight years. After colluding with the Ukrainian elections and annexing Crimea in 2014, Russian continues with skirmishes in the now-contested Donbask and Donetsk regions, located in eastern Ukraine. This came into the foreground in February 2022 when Russia, with an army of 120,000, invaded Ukraine.
The international community almost unanimously condemned the invasion, sending weapons, vehicles, and other forms of aid to Ukraine. The United States alone has already given $15.8 billion to struggling nations as of September. However, President Vladmir Putin defends his actions, calling his invasion “peace keeping.” He has yet to call this conflict a war in his nation.
Winning early engagements during the first stages of the conflict in large part to U.S. and EU member state aid, Ukraine has pushed back the Russian military into a stalemate.
During these last two months, though, Ukraine has started to go on the offensive. In early August, Ukrainian forces launched a surprise offensive in Kherson, a city in southeastern Ukraine. According to Reuters, the Ukrainian army was so successful that they retook nearly 1,200 square kilometers worth of land in the south. During these attacks, they encircled a key resupply center in the region in the town of Lyman, dealing a major blow to Russian morale. In the eyes of the West, the illusion of a powerful Russia seems to be falling flat. The recent draft and the protests that ensued following the act have only strengthened this perception of Russia. As Russia continues to drag the conflict along, they only seem less powerful. The war between Russia and Ukraine is a war of attrition; the real question is who will drop dead first.
By Luke Fernandez Suarez