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The War in Ukraine: Why Russia Cannot Win

Over 17 months after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the fight there is still going strong. Despite Ukraine's counteroffensive, the conflict has almost come to a standstill since neither side has been able to win by a wide margin.

Beginning with "denazifying" and "demilitarising" Ukraine, defending separatist territories, and toppling President Zelenskyy's administration, Putin listed his goals for the invasion. These goals, though, have changed over time, and Russia hasn't succeeded in achieving them. In opposition to Putin's intentions, Zelenskyy's position as president is still solid, and Ukraine is growing to be the most militarised nation in Europe.

President Putin's power has been damaged by recent internal conflicts in Russia, which were typified by the Wagner mercenary group's fleeting uprising. Such instances, which point to a lack of coordination within the Russian military, could further jeopardise Russia's chances of winning the conflict in Ukraine. Despite their best efforts, Russia has not fully seized control of the areas they meant to invade.

Russia has been compelled to withdraw from some places as a result of the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive. With tens of thousands of fatalities during the spring onslaught, the Russian army is also worn out. The replacement of senior commanders due to disobedience suggests further internal issues.

According to Western intelligence, Russia may find it challenging to conduct another counteroffensive this year due to its depleted forces. The huge entrenchments on the Russian side, meanwhile, make it difficult for Ukrainian forces to advance. A military standoff resembling the one experienced during the Korean War has been caused by this predicament.

Both sides have seen enormous casualties in troops and equipment, which has contributed to the conflict's almost-frozen condition. However, from a grand-strategic standpoint, these tactical successes and losses represent little. Both sides lack the ability to strike a decisive blow at the other.

In terms of grand strategy, Putin's objectives in Ukraine fell short. The suffocating effects of Western sanctions on the Russian economy and his submissive relationship with President Xi Jinping of China hinder his goal of restoring Russia's glory. With neither Russia nor Ukraine able to fully accomplish their goals, the war in Ukraine has reached a standstill.

Recent developments, internal strife in Russia, and solid frontline defences suggest that Russia will not be able to win the war. Although a truce may finally be reached by both parties, it is more probable that the conflict will last much longer, giving Russia at best a hollow win.


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