Ukraine: Putin's humiliation

Putin's plan A and seemingly only plan was to invade Ukraine in two to three days, kill Zelensky and replace him with a Russian puppet, and expect the Ukrainians to welcome his tanks and poorly trained troops with open arms.  Well, plan A failed, and now, after 51 days of tactical blunders in Ukraine, he has been almost totally humiliated.

The retreat from the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv's surroundings was the first humiliating acknowledgment that Putin would not take over all of Ukraine, nor was the prospect of "liberating" Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk going to be a guaranteed cakewalk, now part of plan B.

The military was an embarrassment, losing many generals and commanders with a top-down command structure that made them vulnerable in the combat field to ambushes and targeted strikes by the Ukrainian low-level command structure and the help of antitank javelins and NLAW weapons.

Melting snow and a muddy countryside were also weather factors that caused the Russians to form long convoys along paved winding roads, which made the convoys sitting ducks for ambushes and destruction. 

Another key factor in the war is bad Russian troop morale.  Most Russian troops went in thinking it was a peacekeeping mission, and some even thought that they were on a training mission.  The longer the war lasts, the worse will the Russian troop morale get, since most Russian troops don't want to be fighting Ukrainians, with whom many have relatives and acquaintances.  Many Russian troops are poorly supplied with food and armaments due to supply logistic problems, since almost none, including the generals and commanders, felt that the war would last as long as it has.

After you surround a city that doesn't give up, your only recourse is to destroy it with artillery and tanks, causing massive civilian casualties, or starving the population into submission.  Mariupol is a perfect example of a destroyed city with starving and dead civilians, which can truly be called an act of genocide or a horrendous war crime.  Humiliation is one thing, but the annihilation of innocent civilians has turned into revulsion by world opinion on the matter.  Yes, finally the world came to realize that Putin was a war criminal preying on weak and defenseless civilians thanks to inept military tactics.

Humiliation on land also occurred at sea, where the proud, state-of-the-art, flagship cruiser Moskva was sunk by two Ukrainian missiles.  To try to escape this humiliation, the official version of Russian propaganda was that the cruiser, the captain, and some crewmembers were destroyed by a fire.

Tactical nuclear weapons in theory are used to take out clusters of tanks or entire battalions and not to destroy innocent civilians in cities.  If Putin uses nuclear weapons on cities, then he will be the pariah of not only the world but also the Russian people, who have many relatives and acquaintances in Ukraine.  Nuclear blasts leave radiation, which poisons the land.  Does Putin really want a second (after Chernobyl) radiation wasteland in Ukraine?

According to Russian propaganda, plan B is to take control of Donetsk and Luhansk and make these Ukrainian regions into sovereign states of Russia.  That's easier said than done if the Russians continue to use the same military tactics that failed so miserably in Ukraine so far.  It took the Russians months to prepare for the Ukraine invasion, and it will also take months to prepare for an invasion into eastern Ukraine, which will also fail miserably, using the same old tactics and top-down military command structure.

In the meantime, many Ukrainian and Russian people will be struggling to survive, and this is a great tragedy, which is inescapable.  It is obvious that Putin bit off more of Ukraine than he can chew, but the real result is permanent, irreversible humiliation for the rest of Putin's life.

What should the West do?  Continue supplying arms and humanitarian and economic aid to Ukraine as long as the war lasts, and then arm Ukraine to the teeth when the war stops.  Putin understands, fears, and respects only one thing, and that is the threat of superior military force or the threat of death or imprisonment by a tyrannical regime.

It is possible that the war will end in a stalemate or never end, which all depends on how long both Russia and Ukraine can survive economically.  Putin understands only one thing, and that is military victory, so arms shipments and humanitarian and economic aid to Ukraine should not stop if a permanent peace is to be expected sometime in the future.  Putin deserves total military humiliation, which he just may get if the West continues helping Ukraine win.

Photo credit: Vic B Pixabay license.

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