When Russia attacked Ukraine, in an unprovoked and illegal invasion, it was thought that it would take weeks, if not days, for the Russians to complete their campaign. The goal: take over Ukraine and replace President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with a puppet government. Two months later, the Ukrainians are still fighting and despite thousands dead and millions displaced from their homes, President Zelenskyy remains defiant and in firm control of his country. Mariupol may be lost as well as Donbas, (it remains to be seen) but most of the rest of the country is still intact.
NATO is now sending heavier military equipment and reinforcements to Ukraine in order for the Ukrainians to keep up their brave campaign. The reinforcements will greatly aid Ukrainian forces. The US and allies are showing continued and increasing support. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and a US delegation visited Ukraine and demonstrated US support, sending an important message to Putin. Following the meeting with President Zelenskyy, Speaker Pelosi said, “our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine.” Despite Putin’s threat of nuclear war and WWIII, the US is standing firmly with Ukraine.
At this point, Putin has few options. Even if this war was to turn suddenly in his favor, which it won’t, he’s already lost. As earlier stated, it was expected that Russia would quickly overwhelm Ukraine, and that hasn’t happened. Ukrainian forces bravely defended Kyiv and clearly Russian commanders knew that it would be futile to continue the assault. The only real option for Putin now, is to declare the mission a success and to save face if NATO allows that. Ukraine has turned out to be a far more difficult adversary than Putin believed. As a leader, there’s nothing worse you can do than to underestimate your opponent. Clearly, Putin has done exactly that.
It’s time to sit down at the negotiating table and bring an end to this senseless war. Putin will want to hold onto Mariupol and Donbas. Zelenskyy will not want to give up any Ukrainian territory, which is understandable. These territorial disputes will need to be negotiated as will reparations for the illegal invasion of Ukraine. Discussions will need to include NATO and what needs to be done in order to ensure that Russia never again invades any of her neighbors. It’s astounding that in 2022, we are still witnessing dictators attempting to solve disputes using military force.