There’s been a lot of lore emanating from the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Some of the heroism stories we hear are exaggerated, or fake. In a kinetic war where morale is key to keeping the resistance to foreign invaders going, that’s not unexpected, and don’t kid yourself, Russia is putting out false information as well.
What’s clearly not embellished, though, is that Vladimir Putin’s forces have found themselves in a far more difficult position than expected. As I’ve said from the beginning, I believe this will still end up with Ukraine at the negotiating table. The Russians are occupying significant territories and Kyiv is effectively surrounded.
But no matter how much land is technically “taken,” the cardinal issue remains the ability of the Russians to hold it. The Western alliances are now pouring war materials into Ukraine, and it’s having a very real impact, both physically and psychologically. Babak Taghvee, an account I’ve recommended many times during several past conflicts for its accuracy, put out a video this morning illustrating Putin’s big problem.
#BREAKINGYou can watch the Mi-8MTV-5 helicopter transport crashes from #RussianAirForceAt #DniperNorth river #Kiev. You can clearly see that they flew too low for the Stinger Manpad to hit them. One of the helicipters collided with water, but he climbed back up. Two helicipters were lost. pic.twitter.com/MlO45itlBF
— Babak Taghvaee – Μπάπακ Τακβαίε – بابک تقوایی (@BabakTaghvaee) March 1, 2022
Amazing visuals can be seen alone. Once one helicopter has been hit, the rest of them start emitting flares. Then, you can see the Mi-24P (the other helicopters were Mi-8MTV-5s), crashing into the river. It is worth it to hear the Ukrainians cheer. The screen can be felt pulsing with excitement. It’s inspiring to see men, basically stuck in an insurgent conflict at this point, just trying to save their homeland. It is important to appreciate American nationalism when others risk their lives to preserve their freedoms. The whole thing almost brought me to tears, even though I do not want to be a softie.
The clip, however, is informative because it highlights the problems the Russians have and will continue having in Ukraine. As I said, they can “take” land, but if the Ukrainians are willing to continue the fight, and there’s every indication to believe that’s the case, the meat grinder will only get worse.
Although American forces lost thousands to insurgent fighters, low-tech and insurgents, the losses were still quite small in comparison. Russia does not have the same technological and organizational edge that the United States does, and we are seeing that play out in real-time with Putin’s forces taking far greater losses in a far shorter period of time. While fantastical stories like the “ghost of Kyiv” may be a myth, it’s not a myth that the Russians have had many helicopters, transport planes, and tanks destroyed at this point.
With the Ukrainians rejecting Russia’s ridiculous offer to basically become a puppet state, that means the conflict will continue for now. I don’t want to give false hope, because there will likely be concessions made in the end. You have to wonder how much Putin will take on, and not only because of the loss of human life but also because each downed tank or helicopter is an embarrassment to his military. Russia prides itself in projecting strength beyond what it’s actually capable of. This facade is currently being destroyed.