As I write this, fierce fighting is taking place in and around Kyiv as well as other major strategic cities around Ukraine as Russian forces try to bring Ukraine to heel. What is becoming increasingly obvious is that Putin has miscalculated badly. We are learning that he figured it would take him but a matter of days to destroy the Ukrainian military and its ability to fight, seize Kyiv, decapitate the Ukrainian government and install his own puppet regime. None of this has come to pass.
Despite Russian claims of complete air superiority, their planes and helicopters are being shot down in significant numbers, his tanks and armored vehicles are being destroyed by the hundreds, and the body bags are starting to pile up. The logistical support for the Russian forces in Ukraine is beginning to crumble with tanks and vehicles becoming useless as they run out of fuel, and Russian soldiers have been seen scavenging for food. In the meantime, Ukraine is mobilizing all able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 60, and weapons and ammunition of all kinds are starting to pour into Ukraine from ists European allies.
In his staged media appearances, Putin is beginning to show signs of mental instability if not outright lunacy, claiming that the Ukrainian government is composed of drug users and Nazis exploiting the poor oppressed Ukrainian people. He has called on Ukrainian soldiers to surrender and or seize power from their “illegitimate” rulers. It is said that he has also threatened to kill the families of any Ukrainian soldiers that don’t surrender. As the military situation is beginning to deteriorate for him, he is also starting to openly threaten the use of his nuclear arsenal. He is looking less and less like a leader who knows what he is doing, and more and more like somebody who has lost touch with reality and is living in a delusional world.
In the meantime, Russia is becoming increasingly isolated and its economy is being driven towards imminent collapse. Russian banks have been sanctioned, the ruble and Russian stock markets are cratering, and Russia has been banned from the SWIFT system and hence from most of the world’s trade and markets. The assets and wealth of Russian oligarchs held outside of Russia are being seized or frozen. More and more of the world’s airspace is being closed to Russian airlines.The war on Ukraine is estimated to be costing Russia some $20 billion a day and the Russian reserves are being rapidly depleted. Putin and the Russians are facing the prospect that unless they win their war on Ukraine within the next few weeks, they are doomed.
Of course, if Putin has gone completely mad, as I suspect he has, he cares little for the pain, suffering and deaths he is causing to both Ukrainians and Russians, or for the long term economic catastrophe he is creating for Russia. What I am hoping for, is that there are sufficient numbers of oligarchs, military leaders and other influential people in Russia that are still thinking rationally and will step in to remove him from power before he destroys Russia completely. Putin is not invulnerable, and from the increasing protests I have seen in recent days in Russia, I believe that many Russians are beginning to realize that they have a lunatic as a supreme leader. Once a sufficient critical mass of Russians reach this same conclusion, Putin’s downfall could come very quickly, and sanity be restored in Eastern Europe.
Of course, for all of this to happen, Ukrainians must withstand the current Russian onslaught for many more weeks to come, and make the Russians pay an ever higher price for their adventurism in Ukraine. From what I have seen so far, I believe they are prepared to do so. The country is in the process of mobilizing millions of its citizens to resist by any means possible. However, for this to be effective, Europe, NATO and the rest of the free world must also do their part in supplying arms, ammunition, technology, intelligence and financial resources in support of those on the front lines. They need to realize that this is not just a battle to keep Ukraine free from Russian domination, but also a struggle to keep Europe and the rest of the free world safe for democracy and the international rule of law. Putin’s grand miscalculation must be the last gasp of discredited historical imperialism and tyrannical rule.