What was not even considered yesterday becomes “an unavoidable necessity” today. Tanks for Ukraine are ready. The battlefield is changing: as much as Moscow threatens, the specter of Russian nuclear power seems less daunting. The need to break the stalemate at the front prevails, showing Moscow that the winter has not broken the resolve of Ukraine’s defenders. More tracks and firepower before Putin launches the offensive. Everything follows a script of predictable (and foreseen) escalation, but with somewhat uncertain outcomes: the continuation of the war sets the conditions for the war itself to escalate and for our continued engagement.
In the US, Republican senators say they are “open-minded” and have no taboos about considering new arms shipments, adding that it’s necessary to understand “where we’re headed.” US M1 Abrams will not be operational on the front lines until spring. They serve, however, to overcome the caution of a German leadership that is rethinking everything and senses the center of Europe slipping eastward. Until recently, Pentagon high command questioned the chances of a military victory and contemplated a political one Solution ; today, however, they seem to support the idea of integral reconquest.
Thus, the Ukrainian commandos announce that they will make Russia tremble to the core. Presumably Washington will keep the negotiating option open, assuming that Putin is all about a position of strength: but it certainly won’t talk about it, and we have more intense fighting ahead of us.
So, will we again see war as clashes between industrial machines and battles between tanks? The 31 American Abrams are primarily a political signal: the most relevant aspect is not their military effectiveness compared to the dozens of tanks that the Ukrainians are losing every month. Of course, if we add the German Leopards, then 100+ western tanks, properly concentrated, can pose a major problem in sealing the defensive lines set up by the Russians. But the tanks alone turned out to be more than vulnerable to anti-tank weapons (of which, by the way, the Ukrainians have plenty).
The Ukrainians have so far relied on a strategy of corroding enemy supply lines rather than a linear or frontal breach arrangement. Undermining Russian logistics means weakening the positions captured by the Russians and forcing them to retreat, as happened at Kherson. However, the Russian commands learned from their mistakes and began to spread their funds across the territory, especially in the Rostov region, 80-100 km from the front lines. Today it is more difficult to hit ammunition depots and logistics centers. This justifies Kyiv’s demand for longer-range weapons. And so, certain of the arrival of tanks, the Ukrainians began to ask for fighter jets. Lockheed Martin immediately announced that it would increase production of F-16s. Among the public secrets we can also count the transfer of several MiG-29s from Poland to Ukraine last spring, an operation disguised as the shipment of spare parts and disassembled components.
Russia, on the other hand, relies primarily on the level of loss and suffering it can inflict and tolerate. The army is still unable to ensure that the goals set are achieved. After sacrificing thousands of men in Bakhmut’s meat grinder, Wagner struggles to regain strength, even encountering resistance in the convict pool. He is now looking for recruits in Central Asia, considers a merger with the Chechen armed forces unlikely and is discussing drawing draft evaders and deserters to the front. This will not be enough, because tens of thousands of men are needed: a new mobilization or the formal transition to martial law in Russia are plausible hypotheses.
The wave of resignations of politicians and officials caught up in allegations of corruption in Kyiv is taking the form of a purge that spares no figure the media has cast its shadow on. We are facing a shift in political priorities: as Western partners begin to resume financial aid and military supplies, the image of integrity becomes far more important than respect for the partnerships to which the political entity belongs. Ukraine is completely dependent on aid and investments. Zelensky did not hesitate to praise the big American companies until he appeared as a testimonial, who were cited as an example of how “anyone can become big business” by participating in the great opportunity offered by the Ukrainian way, where they to defend “liberty and property”.
Meanwhile, so-called ambush pornography is rampant on social media: videos showing the killing of enemy soldiers at close range, accompanied by sarcastic soundtracks that mock those bleeding and provoking a flood of smug comments. An endless exercise in inhumanity that we get used to at our limits.