20 Mar 2022

Conclusion: “Ukrainian Forces Have Defeated the Initial Russian Campaign of This War”


Frederick W. Kagan, George Barros, and Kateryna Stepanenko of the Institute for the Study of War analyze the results so far and predict the next stage of the war.

March 19, 3 pm ET

Ukrainian forces have defeated the initial Russian campaign of this war. That campaign aimed to conduct airborne and mechanized operations to seize Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and other major Ukrainian cities to force a change of government in Ukraine. That campaign has culminated. Russian forces continue to make limited advances in some parts of the theater but are very unlikely to be able to seize their objectives in this way. The doctrinally sound Russian response to this situation would be to end this campaign, accept a possibly lengthy operational pause, develop the plan for a new campaign, build up resources for that new campaign, and launch it when the resources and other conditions are ready. The Russian military has not yet adopted this approach. It is instead continuing to feed small collections of reinforcements into an ongoing effort to keep the current campaign alive. We assess that that effort will fail.

The ultimate fall of Mariupol is increasingly unlikely to free up enough Russian combat power to change the outcome of the initial campaign dramatically. …

Russian forces in the south appear to be focusing on a drive toward Kryvyi Rih, presumably to isolate and then take Zaporizhiya and Dnipro from the west but are unlikely to secure any of those cities in the coming weeks if at all. …

The Russian military continues to commit small groups of reinforcements to localized fighting rather than concentrating them to launch new large-scale operations. …

The culmination of the initial Russian campaign is creating conditions of stalemate throughout most of Ukraine. …

Stalemate will likely be very violent and bloody, especially if it protracts. …


2 Feedbacks on "Conclusion: “Ukrainian Forces Have Defeated the Initial Russian Campaign of This War”"


It is a long game. If Russia secures the gas resources in the DonBass and around the Crimea and blocks the obvious pipeline from the Mid-East, then their monopoly on European gas is secure. The conscripts and Ukrainian “mud-puppies” are expendable. Russia has a guaranteed income for years. All the babble about NATO, Nazis, missiles, bug factories, etc is just theater for the rubes. The only cost will be the grift to maintain Turkey’s blockade of the pipeline route from the Mid-East to Europe.

bob sykes

Another opinion:


There is a massive campaign underway to stampede the American people into a war with Russia. It is even bigger than the successful campaign to convince Americans to invade Iraq.


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