The bottom line of the entire Russian invasion of Ukraine is that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin failed to achieve any of his strategic goals when he launched the brutal and unprovoked attack, a senior defense official said in the background today.
Putin launched the attack on his peaceful neighbor on February 24, directing a lightning attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv with the idea of overthrowing Ukraine’s leadership and installing a puppet regime.
It failed, and the Russians withdrew from the region near the capital and moved troops east. “On September 1…President Putin demanded that the entire Donetsk province be placed under Russian control by September 15,” the official said. “But Putin’s troops clearly failed.”
At the same time, Ukrainian forces launched a counter-offensive against the region north and east of their second largest city, Kharkiv. That offensive was successful, with Ukrainian troops retaking an area the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, the official said.
The Russian military is having a hard time recruiting personnel for the misguided war against Ukraine. The Ukrainian military has inflicted significant casualties among Russian forces invading the country and “we are seeing the Kremlin increasingly scrambling to find new recruits to fill its thin ranks and the Russians are doing so poorly that the news from Kharkiv province inspired many Russian volunteers to oppose the fight,” the official said.
The official cited video circulating on social media of a representative from Russia’s private military company Wagner trying to persuade Russian prisoners to join the fight in Ukraine. “We believe this is part of Wagner’s campaign to recruit over 1,500 convicted felons, but many oppose it,” the official said. “Our intelligence suggests that Wagner suffered heavy casualties in Ukraine, particularly and unsurprisingly among young and inexperienced fighters.”
In contrast, the Ukrainian military has high morale as it continues to push forward in a very conscious manner.
In the eastern part of the nation, Ukraine now controls all of its territory west of the Oskil River. The official said Ukrainians liberated more than 300 towns in Kharkiv province.
A senior military official said Ukrainians were still making “conscious advances” against the Russians in the south. The Russians have advanced into the Donbass region, but the advances are only “a few hundred meters”.
Russian forces have fought back, but they are attacking civilian infrastructure rather than military targets. US officials see these attacks as more retaliatory than militarily useful.
“We all know this fight is far from over,” the senior defense official said. Ukraine has made tremendous strides against a much bigger enemy. But Ukraine needs the support of the United States, allies and partners to continue its efforts.
Nations of the world are working together to ensure Ukraine gets what it needs, when it needs it. They also work to ensure Ukrainian military personnel receive the necessary training to operate new equipment or incorporate new skills into their military operations. “We will continue to work on Ukraine’s medium and long-term needs, even as we support their struggle today,” the official said.