Ukraine war stalemate or a slow war of attrition

The May 9 military celebration and parade commemorating Russian victory over Nazi Germany in World War II has come and gone with no new Russian stated aims in Ukraine by Putin.  For over a month now, there have been no major breakthroughs in the established front fighting lines in eastern and southeastern Ukraine, and it could realistically be called a stalemate with minimal military action.

After an initial surge of Russian tank and battalion movement from the north, east, and southeast of Ukraine, the Russians have largely halted any further massive movement of arms.  They were repulsed from the capital Kyiv region and regrouped to concentrate mainly on the east of Ukraine and are trying to maintain a foothold in southeast Ukraine.  Why Russia has been so ineffective so far is largely due to top-down command problems that weaken the Russians' effectiveness as a modern fighting force, and they don't have the ability to act like a Western army with an efficient lower-level command structure.

Probably much more important is the fact that Russian morale is low due to poorly trained troops who were misled by their commanders into thinking they were in Ukraine mainly as a peacekeeping force.  The Russian troops were not prepared for a serious armed resistance by the Ukrainians.  Many troops are probably still wondering why they should be fighting Ukrainians in the first place.

Not being prepared for such a long war, the regrouping of Russian forces has become a major seemingly insurmountable problem.  Troop reserves were not prepared to replace the fallen soldiers, and any replacement soldiers have the same morale problem as the initial troop forces.

Russian military tactics are merciless and brutal.  Russia tries to take over villages and small towns by shelling them with artillery fire and then often pillaging and looting what remains of the rubble.  Sometimes the troops then leave, and the Ukrainians sometimes retake the village or small town.  Mariupol is an example of a surrounded, devastated city where civilians were mercilessly shelled randomly and left to starve in the city.  Kherson is an example of a city that was captured early on in the war without much infrastructure damage where the Russians tried to establish the ruble as the currency, but as of now, it still does not have cell phone or internet service.

There is currently what could be called a stalemate situation with neither side making any significant progress in the war.  The entire eastern and southeastern front lines have stabilized, and little military action is going on.

Ukraine is currently in a landlocked strategic situation with no commercial sea traffic going out of Odesa on the Black Sea due to a blockade by Russian ships.  Russia is destroying railroad substations in Ukraine and causing severe shortages of fuel deliveries to the front lines and hampering railroad commerce.  Military hardware movement from the west is also hampered, and most Western military hardware will be delivered by air or truck into the foreseeable future.  Economically, Ukraine could be a basket case the longer the war lasts.

Slow attrition of military hardware and troops is a problem both sides are experiencing.  Ukraine will soon have to resupply troops on the eastern front from western regions of Ukraine and wait for military shipments of heavy arms from the Western nations.  The problem with NATO military equipment is that Ukrainian troops have to be taught how to use it, so the shipments in many cases are not effectively used on the front lines in a timely fashion.

Will Russia be able to hold on to newly occupied eastern and southeastern Ukrainian territory?  Will Russia declare war on Ukraine and try to fully mobilize its entire military to fight in Ukraine?  Will Putin remain in power long enough, since there are rumors that he is suffering from Parkinson's and is due for a cancer operation?  How effective will arms shipments from the West be?  Can Ukraine survive economically in a long, drawn out war?  These are all debatable questions to which there are no clear answers now.  In the meantime, the war is one of military hardware and troop attrition on both sides, which can't go on forever without some resolution.

With continuing military, humanitarian, and economic aid from the West, Ukraine will survive.  Whether Ukraine will win the war is still a debatable question.  Seemingly, Russian troop morale is at an all-time low, and Russian military logistics is terrible.  So there is room for some optimism as Ukraine inches its way toward some kind of victory in the long run.

Russia seems to be a military paper tiger with a lot of military bling but severely lacking in basics, which is the successful logistical coordination of all that bling with troops on the battlefield in actual combat.

"'THEY DECEIVED US AT EVERY STEP': TROOPS SAY RUSSIA'S WAR IS IN SHAMBLES" is a video that gives hope that Ukraine will win in the long run if it continues to get military, humanitarian, and economic aid from the West.  However, a permanent stalemate with new borders for Ukraine is for now a more probable outcome in the long run if Russia continues its aggression.

Photo credit: YouTube screen grab.

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