Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has said that Russia now controls 20 percent of Ukraine. Putin maintains control over all the territory he had before his brutal invasion and then some. He has renewed his bombardment of Kyiv. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian military are said to now be prisoners of war.
Yes, the Ukrainian military surprised the world – and presumably Putin – by repelling Russia’s initial strategy of a quick march to Kyiv – toppling the national government and taking control of the entire nation.
That strategy and the reputation of the Russian military as an all-powerful force is shredded. As a result, Putin redeployed his military in the east and south sectors – where he already had bases, separatist support, and shorter supply lines. He is using long-distance bombarding as his primary tactic. Thanks to a lot of heavy military equipment from NATO and other world democracies, The Ukrainian military has been able to push back against the slow gains Russia was making in the Donbas Region. But Russian forces are making gains regardless of how slow and costly they may be.
But for the most part, Russia is winning more ground than they are losing. After a prolonged battle over Mariupol, Russia was able to take over the city – making a vital connection between its forces in the east and the south.
In an earlier commentary, I suggested that the longer the war goes on, the more likely Putin will win. Even with the manifest problems with his military, Putin has more young men and more equipment to sustain the assault. The human and economic costs pose no restriction on Putin.
Putin is still counting on NATO and other nations to find supporting Ukraine is too time-consuming and too expensive. Biden was not the reason NATO initially united against Putin – and he is incapable of stopping NATO from going soft or defeating Putin. Germany and France are already talking about a negotiated settlement that would leave Putin with that 20 percent of Ukraine – and poised to take more after a period of reorganizing.
Turkish President Recep Erdoğan has still not given his approval for the admission of Finland and Sweden into NATO. Hungry is essentially sitting out the war. All these suggest that Putin is right. NATO’s commitment to a Ukraine victory is not as rock solid as the verbal support – including in the White House.
Every day, Ukraine is suffering diminished ability to maintain the nation’s military strength. The war crime carpet bombing by Russia is literally destroying – leveling – city after city. Russia is destroying Ukraine’s ability to produce food – and stealing what has been harvested.
It is estimated that more than six million Ukrainians have been forced into Russia – including hundreds of thousands of kidnaped children, who will be “re-educated” as citizens of Mother Russia.
Zelenskyy has received a lot of verbal and diplomatic support – and a good measure of financial and military support – but not nearly enough to win.
The United States has poured billions of dollars and tons of equipment into the Ukraine War, but much of the benefit has been lost by responding with too little and too late. Only recently did the United States send in longer range rocket launchers, but only If the range of the shells is limited to 48 miles instead of 160 miles – and as long as the Ukrainians promise not to fire them into Russia even though that is where Putin is launching is carpet bombing.
If Putin is not defeated – meaning he surrenders all Ukrainian territory back to the Ukrainians and pays reparations for his war crimes – the defeat of Putin will not be possible. NATO, the United Nations, and above all the United States, will suffer a major strategic and national security defeat. America will lose its world leadership – militarily, economically, and morally. Not by choice – but by fate – Ukraine has become a bulwark of world democracy.
The two greatest threats to American leadership and national security are the imperialism of Russia – as it conquers more of the world’s geography – and the economic imperialism of Communist China – as it forges economic alliances with the world’s nations.
NATO will be less of a defense alliance and world peacekeeper and more of a refuge in which the western democracies have circled the wagons. Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a direct attack on the United States’ future leadership. Putin often declares the United States the enemy of his new autocratic world order. Defeating Putin is the only option. Unfortunately, with each passing day, that option becomes more remote and more unlikely.
There is only one option that can save the situation. The United States, NATO, the European Union, and a coalition of democratic nations – and even some autocratic allied nations – need to get involved militarily in a phased strategy. The first measure should be to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine. An international force of military advisors and trainers should be sent to Ukraine. There should be no restrictions on the level of weaponry provided to Ukraine – short of atomic weapons. And the west’s nuclear arsenal should be used as a check against Putin launching nuclear weapons.
If that does not stop Putin, then the western military – boots on the ground and wings in the air — should be used to unleash a blistering attack on Russian forces in Ukraine. That is not a declaration of war on Russia, but it would make all those bombs being launched within Russia meaningless because Russian occupiers could not stay or return to Ukraine.
So, there ‘tis.
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Author: Larry Horist
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