Sunday, September 18, 2022

What Russia’s Failure in Ukraine Means for Putin and the World; How will Putin survive his self-created Ukraine disaster?; Putin is outraged that Ukraine wants to win on the battlefield; Ukraine continues to consolidate its control in Kharkiv area, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

WSJ: What Russia’s Failure in Ukraine Means for Putin and the World:
The exposure of his country’s weaknesses by a smaller adversary could threaten the Russian president’s influence abroad and even his hold on power
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a firebrand Russian nationalist who often said publicly what the Kremlin thought privately, issued a forecast during his speech at the Russian parliament’s closing session in December.
A war with Ukraine, he predicted, will start before dawn on Feb. 22. As a result, “Russia will become a great nation again,” he thundered. “Everyone will have to shut their mouths and respect us.”
Mr. Zhirinovsky, who died in April from Covid, was off by just two days on the date of the invasion that triggered Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II. But, instead of showcasing Moscow’s newfound might, the Ukrainian war—now in its seventh month—is laying bare Russia’s weaknesses.
Moscow’s recent military defeats, inflicted by a country that it never considered a serious adversary, have challenged Russia’s basic assumptions about itself and its role in the world.
The losses are also prompting Russia’s partners, allies and arms customers to reassess their relationships, with many voicing private shock about Moscow’s bungling even as they hold back from public criticism, according to diplomats.
“Russia’s reputation has taken a significant hit,” said Thomas Graham, managing director of the consulting firm Kissinger Associates and the former senior director for Russia on the National Security Council in President George W. Bush’s White House. “It’s clear that Russia bogging down in Ukraine is going to raise questions about Russia’s own capacity, about its strength going forward and about how important a power it’s going to be on the global stage.”
Russian defenses crumbled this month after a rapid Ukrainian offensive in the eastern Kharkiv region, where Moscow had begun distributing Russian passports to residents and had recently opened schools following the Russian curriculum. In a hasty retreat, Russian troops vacated in just a few days a tenth of occupied Ukrainian territory. They abandoned hundreds of tanks, self-propelled howitzers and other armored vehicles, and large numbers of Russian troops were taken prisoner.
Russian forces were similarly forced to withdraw from Kyiv and two other regions of northern Ukraine in April. And in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas area, the “liberation” of which has been Moscow’s principal proclaimed war aim, Russia has managed to conquer only a small sliver of territory since then, with some of its gains reversed in recent days. --->READ MORE HERE
Illustration by Greg Groesch / The Washington Times
How will Putin survive his self-created Ukraine disaster?
Russia started the war with Ukraine in late February with a shock-and-awe effort to grab Kyiv. It failed both to decapitate the government and absorb half the country in one fell swoop.
Soon the conflict descended into a war of attrition in Eastern Ukraine over the occupied majority Russian-speaking borderlands.
That deadlock was eventually going to be resolved by relative morale, manpower, and supply.
Would the high-tech weaponry and money of the United States and Europe allow heroic Ukrainian forces to be better equipped than a larger Russian force — drawing on an economy 10 times greater and a population nearly four times larger than Ukraine’s?
After the latest sudden Ukrainian territorial gains and embarrassing Russian retreats, we now know the answer.
Russia may be bigger and richer than Ukraine, but it is not up to the combined resources of the United States, along with the nations of NATO and the European Union.
Most are now in a de facto proxy war with an increasingly overwhelmed Russia. And so far, a circumspect China has not stepped in to try to remedy the Russian dilemma.
So, what will become the next, and most dangerous, stage III of the war?
A heady Ukraine believes it now has the wherewithal to clear out the entire occupied Donbas and turn southward to free Crimea. To complete that agenda of rolling back all Russian aggression since 2014, it may step up hitting strategic targets across the Russian border and on the Black Sea.
Again, what will a nuclear Russia — run by an ailing, desperate autocrat — do when a far smaller Ukraine finally and deservedly humiliates her before a global audience? --->READ MORE from VD HANSON HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Putin is outraged that Ukraine wants to win on the battlefield+++++

+++++Ukraine continues to consolidate its control in Kharkiv area, UK says+++++

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