Putting Ukrainian battle successes into cold, hard perspective

Source: Responsible Statecraft
by Seth Harp

“Since April, it has been clear that Putin, after failing to take Kyiv and Kharkiv, pivoted to a downsized Plan B of securing a land bridge to Crimea in the south. Not only can this be gleaned from a glance at a map of troop movements, but Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said so explicitly in July. Going forward, the success or failure of that strategic gambit is how the regime in Moscow will define victory or defeat. And Ukraine’s retaking of the Kharkiv countryside will have little significant effect on Russia’s ability to hold critical southern port cities …. The Ukrainian army and reserve militia showed extraordinary bravery and endurance …. But to win the war outright — which would be a miraculous underdog victory — they would need to break through to the Sea of Azov, or retake a major hub like the cities of Donetsk or Luhansk.” (09/19/22)