As Russia invades Ukraine’s sovereign country, the scenes have shown chaos. We’ve seen street fighting, apartment buildings being hit with rockets, and tanks rolling down highways. But, what we haven’t seen is a decisive victory for Vladimir Putin.
Part of the invasion strategy was to quickly take the major airports in order to fly in men and materials to overwhelm Ukraine’s defenses. Surprisingly, however, this was thwarted by fierce resistance. By Thursday afternoon, one of the lost airports had been retaken by Ukrainian military forces. The airborne assault involved multiple helicopters and planes, including a Ukrainian MiG-29 pilot.
Ukrainian troops take full control over the Hostomel Airport; Russian airborne forces eliminated.
— Illia Ponomarenko (@IAPonomarenko) February 24, 2022
I am hearing reports, but cannot confirm that the pilot of a Ukrainian Mig 29 has been crowned an ace.
It is incredible to be alive in such a modern age.
Second, holy shit the balls on that guy.
— Mike Nelson (@mikenelson586) February 24, 2022
There are now reports that the Russian side has suffered heavy losses. One estimate suggests that 350 Russian soldiers or airmen were among those killed. This would represent a substantial price for the fighting that took place on just one day.
NEW: Ukraine claims that 350 Russian soldiers were killed during the initial day of the invasion.
— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) February 24, 2022
The United States has lost only 154 soldiers killed in combat during the whole Gulf War. The theater saw 486 US military personnel die in their first year fighting the Second Iraq War. That’s a testament to the technological and training superiority of the U.S. military, compared to the Russians, who have always been less formidable than they present. You can also see how much blood Putin has been stripped of in an incursion that is just beginning.
It begs question about Russia’s resolve. Is Russia in this for long term? With thousands potentially dying in war and rebellion, or is it just for the short-term? Is Putin just looking to win the battle at Kyiv and return home with his ego intact? It’s hard to say because even though Russia is a dictatorship, the dynamics are not the same as other authoritarian regimes. The Taliban was able to absorb losses without repercussions with great stamina, but Putin does not have that luxury. The protests that are already taking place in Russia will only get worse if they continue to become more violent. That could lead to serious problems for his home country.
It appears that the Ukrainians have a long-term plan. They’ve already made it impossible for 18- to 60-year old able-bodied males from leaving the area, and they expect these men will stay on and continue fighting. Militia forces are receiving guns and javelins to help bolster their defenses.
Still, I don’t want to give the impression that Ukraine is going to win this fight. Russia is armed with a large number of troops that are ready and waiting to be deployed along its border. Putin can accept blood and treasure if it is possible to achieve his ultimate goal of decapitating Russia’s current government. I’m not so sure that’ll work out well for him in the end, though. If an insurgency takes hold, it’s going to be a nightmare for the Russian occupiers. The Russians are still in control of the situation. stock marketIt is now down by over 40%, which is quite a drop. Putin will feel the pain, and it is up to us to see how committed he really is to this misadventure.