In Ukraine, Russia’s defeat has many faces. Vladimir Putin still dreams of conquering all of Ukraine. Whether he succeeds, however, seems increasingly doubtful. This is the first face of defeat.
Putin also wants to conquer the entire Donbass. But the British secret service doubts that it can even fulfill this purpose. This is the second face of defeat. Eventually, Putin could lose all the territory Russia gained in Ukraine, including Crimea. The military defeat would then be total. It’s hard to imagine how Putin survived that. The entire dictatorial apparatus set up by Putin threatened to collapse.
1. Why is a Russian defeat more likely?
Russia’s defeat scenarios seemed so unlikely early in the war that no one mentioned them. They became more and more plausible. Ukrainian attacks on Russian ammunition depots far behind the battle lines, particularly in Crimea, cripple part of the Russian army. The Russian Black Sea Fleet, which had been rendered highly vulnerable to Ukrainian attack by howitzers supplied by Ukraine’s allies, would be neutralized. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry claims the Russian army has lost about a third of its combat potential. While such information must be taken with caution, the fact remains that Russian achievements are mediocre compared to the forces deployed on the ground. Conversely, the Ukrainians could take over several areas in the north and south of the country from autumn.
2. Where does Russia stand on the diplomatic stage?
Russia is becoming increasingly diplomatically isolated. China did not come to his aid, as Moscow had indicated. Ukraine manages to export some of its grain, although this lowers prices for Russian grain exports. It was the Russians who were blamed for food shortages and skyrocketing food prices.
3. What about the negotiations on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant?
Negotiations on the demilitarization of the area around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant follow the same logic. The Russians should not station weapons near the plant. They are considered to be the first to be responsible for a possible serious nuclear accident. Here, too, the Russians are on the defensive.
4. Has Russia withdrawn everywhere?
The only area in which Vladimir Putin can boast of making profits is in the economy. Economic sanctions have allowed Russia to become more self-sufficient in many areas. Exceptional hydrocarbon prices more than offset lost sales to Europe. But in the longer term, the Russian economy threatens to suffer from its increasing isolation.
5. What are Putin’s last hopes of winning the war?
Putin hasn’t lost the war entirely yet because there are still a few cards to be revealed. A victory for Donald Trump or one of his puppets in the presidency could change the situation. Although the mystery of the gloomy relationship between him and Putin is gradually beginning to unravel. Europeans must weather the winter and show they are capable of staying relatively united despite the hardships. After all, China should not cooperate closely with Russia.