On March 15, 2022, Ukrainian soldiers inspected the rubble of a destroyed apartment in Kyiv, after at least two people were killed in a strike to a residential area, according to Ukrainian paramedics.
Fadel Senna | Afp | Getty Images
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches its fourth week, President Vladimirputin’s army exerts brutal power and destruction on Eastern European countries, fleeing people and leaving millions homeless.
Russia’s economy is currently squeezed under the immense weight of international sanctions and the cost of war, and has barely been able to achieve a major military victory in Ukraine. Attentive observers of Moscow and Putin say there are increasing signs of despair in Russia’s military campaign and siege tactics.
“I don’t think Russia can win,” Kurt Volker, a former US ambassador to NATO, told CNBC.
“They are stuck. They have problems with supplies. They have problems with ammunition. They cannot rob major cities. They are not moving forward. They call the Syrians. Shows many desperate measures such as, or seeks help from the Chinese or threatens to attack NATO countries. [weapons] Supplies [to Ukraine] And it raises anxiety about the use of biological or chemical or nuclear weapons, “he said.
“I think these are all signs of despair,” Volker told CNBC on Friday, adding that he was under pressure between military failures on the ground and the failure of the Russian economy due to sanctions. .. Now, “he said.
Volker relies on what he describes as “barbaric tactics,” such as “directly targeting civilians and bombarding cities,” because Russia’s longing for a swift victory in Ukraine. , Said that it means trying to create “population fear and malaise.”
Setting the stalemate
Russia occupies the capital Kyiv and fails to dismiss President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration. In recent weeks, large military convoys meandering towards the city were still scattered in the suburbs, but Ukrainian troops were able to resist Russia’s second occupation attempt-in the northeast. The largest city, Kharkiv. Considering that it is close to the border with Russia, it is a great achievement.
Meanwhile, the western cities of Lviv have seen the airports and nearby military installations targeted by Russian bombardment, but so far have been the main conduits for Ukrainians fleeing to Eastern Europe. Is relatively intact.
In fact, a few weeks after the invasion, only one city, Kherson, fell into the Russian army.
Faced with this scale and spirit of resistance, there is hope among analysts that Ukrainian troops can refrain from advancing Russian troops, stall, and even potentially thwart them.
“I’m in touch with the people of Kharkov, Lviv and Kyiv, they’re motivated, really determined, and confident because they know Russia isn’t making a profit,” Volker said. Said.
Other analysts fear that the war has entered a potentially long and extended period of battle, with little gain by Russian troops and little recognition by Ukrainian troops.
“The war is almost stalemate,” Michal Baranovski, director of the Warsaw office of the German Marshall Foundation, told CNBC on Monday.
“Russia wanted to decapitate the Ukrainian government in the first few days, basically a blitzkrieg, a quick victory over Kyiv. Because they couldn’t do that, tactics and The strategy has turned into a really tough one, a terrible war. “
He states that Russia is now heavily dependent on air power, attacking more civilian targets, such as the theaters in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, where civilians were evacuated. rice field. There were children in the building, but they were still attacked. The Kremlin repeatedly denies that he is targeting civilians, despite evidence of opposition.
“Russia is unfortunately, perhaps intentionally, bombing these private places to break the will of the Ukrainian people,” Baranovsky said.
CNBC has asked the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment, but has not yet responded.
Fight for our hometown
If a city becomes a symbol or symbol of Ukraine’s resistance and resilience in the face of Russian aggression, it is Mariupol.
The city has been suffering from heavy bombardment for weeks, and a serious shortage of food, water and food has left hundreds of thousands of people in dire straits and desperate to flee. Street fighting continues over the weekend, during which thousands of civilians are still trapped in the city.
Despite the bombardment and suffering, Mariupol rejected Russia’s request — and the deadline set at 5 am on Monday — surrender.
It is unclear what Russia will do now that Russia, which said it would allow more civilians to leave if Ukraine agreed to surrender, was denied an ultimatum to put down its weapons.
“Mariupol’s is almost destroyed and is now Aleppo in the middle of Europe. It’s Sterlingrad, which gives an analogy to the 20th century, but it’s a terrorist tactic,” Ukrainian lawmaker Olexi Goncharenko told CNBC on Monday. ..
He says Putin and his army appear to rely on siege tactics to undermine and undermine Ukrainian cities and civilians because of the strength, scale and spirit of Ukrainian resistance. Stated.
“He can’t go any further because our army holds the ground. They can’t go any further. [the Russian army] It’s about two and a half weeks away from Kyiv, so I can’t go any further and the situation is the same in other parts of Ukraine. “
In addition, he said the counterattack began in parts of the country, including Kyiv, and in the south. It is the focus of Russian troops trying to merge the Crimean Peninsula, which they annexed in 2014, with the separatist region of pro-Russia. Create an overpass to Crimea in the east of the country.
Ukrainian resistance has changed Russia’s tactics to use more “terrorism” and horror tactics, such as mass, more indiscriminate bombardment, Goncharenko said.
He said the Ukrainians are willing to stop Putin, but they need more help from the West.
“It’s our land, our country, there is no other option. Putin underestimates us and I think the whole world underestimates us. I think I saw the news first [of the war] US intelligence gives us 96 hours, after which Kyiv will fall, but I can assure you, Kyiv will not fail and we will not surrender, “he said. rice field.
He said more than 100,000 had joined the Ukrainian territorial defense forces, civilian militias, including himself, but he had more sanctions, more weapons and more to help defeat Russia. He repeated Zelensky’s call for a lot of air power.
“Thousands of Ukrainians are armed. We will stop Putin, but what will the price of us and the rest of the world be?” He said.