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Believe It or Not, Russians Now Have a Winning Strategy

maxparrish

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The western press loves to print heroic stories about Ukraine and its military achievements. It equally enjoys printing headlines over "Putin's mistakes" and "low morale" and "elites starting to question Putin's decisions". Sorry to say, while all of this is true none of this addresses some fundamental realities that suggest that in the end, Putin will win. Here are the reasons:

- Putin cannot be replaced. He has the KGB (now called the FSB) behind him. He is surrounded by yes men, and he has laid the blame on less popular and unknown members of his government. His most likely replacement, General Souji, was once the second most popular personality in Russia but has been sidelined. Putin can't really replace him without the public being disturbed, but he can make him an "unperson" to carry the blame for failure.

- The shock of Ukraine's resistance has worn off Putin. Putin is now in this for the long haul and has no intention of negotiating until he is able to make an offer that Ukraine cannot refuse. To that end, it is likely he will call up reserves to replace losses and start new conscription. Thankfully, NATO has not detected any movement of mercenaries from Syria or elsewhere - although the Wagner group is being asked to increase fighters substantially.

- The new Russian strategy is based on what they should have done at wars start. Kiev and perhaps Kharkov are no longer primary targets. Around Kiev, in particular, the Russians have retreated to "deconfliction" lines, meaning defensive lines intended to screen off future attacks. Most likely supply difficulties make further attacks by Russia on the northern Ukraine futile, and Russia is willing to retreat. In the process, Russian resources are being shifted to the Donbas and southern fronts.

- This has several benefits. First the separatists have made progress and seizure of more eastern territory is possible. Second, Russians have taken a key port and can freely ship a huge tonnage of supplies and drop them off at the nearby front without trucks. Third, Russian marines are a significant contributor to land forces and unlike the conscript army, are very good soldiers immune to panic and demoralization.

- The strategy is twofold...take the rest of the Southern coast (i.e. Odessa) and Ukraine can no longer obtain supplies or ship wheat and other goods for export. Moreover, it creates an opportunity for envelopment of Ukraine forces in the east.

- Here is the difficulty for Ukraine. They have the firepower necessary for localized tactical gain, but not the offensive weapons needed to make strategic breakthroughs. The main supply port, was in the news recently when the highly improbable happened...somehow Ukraine found a way to sink a large ship. This likely won't be repeated. Ukraine does not have much in the way of weapons that can reach the port. Unlike Russia it has very few medium range ballistic missiles. If this port cannot be shut down permanently, the supply problems for southeastern Ukraine will be cured and an endless amount of armor, fuel, and arms can be provided to Russian forces.

- If Russia can breakthrough to Odessa, naval forces will land and the City will be isolated and lost. Ukraine does not have anti-ship missiles in any significant quantity, at least none that can his Russian LST's miles off the coast.

Under current conditions, Ukraine can (at best) create a stalemate. So unless sanctions start hitting Russia much harder, and production of good and services fall dramatically, Ukraine will likely fall. Without offensive firepower, it is more likely than not.
 
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MamboDervish

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The western press loves to print heroic stories about Ukraine and its military achievements. It equally enjoys printing headlines over "Putin's mistakes" and "low morale" and "elites starting to question Putin's decisions". Sorry to say, while all of this is true none of this addresses some fundamental realities that suggest that in the end, Putin will win.
Define "win". Will he "win" like the Soviets won in Afghanistan? Probably, only in much less time.

There is no "win" for Putin in Ukraine. Quite the contrary, if he persists for too long, he's likely to lose Crimea.
 

maxparrish

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Define "win". Will he "win" like the Soviets won in Afghanistan? Probably, only in much less time.

There is no "win" for Putin in Ukraine. Quite the contrary, if he persists for too long, he's likely to lose Crimea.

Win is when Putin substantially achieves at least two or three of his goals.

1) Complete Neutrality of Ukraine, including not joining EU.
2) Disarming of Ukraine so future resistance to threats is futile
3) Denazification, cleaning out those most troublesome to Moscow
4) Ukraine agreeing to further dismemberment, such as the southern and eastern regions awarded to Russia or their client states.

I don't consider a real "win" if all he gets is neutrality and recognition of the prior Donbas microstates and Crimea as legal entities. That would be, more or less, a very expensive draw.
 

joluoto

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Occupying Ukraine is Chechnya on steroids, so I am not sure it's a win. Ukraine definitely lose then, but not sure if Russia wins by having to hold a large hostile territory.
 

Sweden

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The western press loves to print heroic stories about Ukraine and its military achievements. It equally enjoys printing headlines over "Putin's mistakes" and "low morale" and "elites starting to question Putin's decisions". Sorry to say, while all of this is true none of this addresses some fundamental realities that suggest that in the end, Putin will win. Here are the reasons:

- Putin cannot be replaced. He has the KGB (now called the FSB) behind him. He is surrounded by yes men, and he has laid the blame on less popular and unknown members of his government. His most likely replacement, General Souji, was once the second most popular personality in Russia but has been sidelined. Putin can't really replace him without the public being disturbed, but he can make him an "unperson" to carry the blame for failure.

- The shock of Ukraine's resistance has worn off Putin. Putin is now in this for the long haul and has no intention of negotiating until he is able to make an offer that Ukraine cannot refuse. To that end, it is likely he will call up reserves to replace losses and start new conscription. Thankfully, NATO has not detected any movement of mercenaries from Syria or elsewhere - although the Wagner group is being asked to increase fighters substantially.

- The new Russian strategy is based on what they should have done at wars start. Kiev and perhaps Kharkov are no longer primary targets. Around Kiev, in particular, the Russians have retreated to "deconfliction" lines, meaning defensive lines intended to screen off future attacks. Most likely supply difficulties make further attacks by Russia on the northern Ukraine futile, and Russia is willing to retreat. In the process, Russian resources are being shifted to the Donbas and southern fronts.

- This has several benefits. First the separatists have made progress and seizure of more eastern territory is possible. Second, Russians have taken a key port and can freely ship a huge tonnage of supplies and drop them off at the nearby front without trucks. Third, Russian marines are a significant contributor to land forces and unlike the conscript army, are very good soldiers immune to panic and demoralization.

- The strategy is twofold...take the rest of the Southern coast (i.e. Odessa) and Ukraine can no longer obtain supplies or ship wheat and other goods for export. Moreover, it creates an opportunity for envelopment of Ukraine forces in the east.

- Here is the difficulty for Ukraine. They have the firepower necessary for localized tactical gain, but not the offensive weapons needed to make strategic breakthroughs. The main supply port, was in the news recently when the highly improbable happened...somehow Ukraine found a way to sink a large ship. This likely won't be repeated. Ukraine does not have much in the way of weapons that can reach the port. Unlike Russia it has very few medium range ballistic missiles. If this port cannot be shut down permanently, the supply problems for southeastern Ukraine will be cured and an endless amount of armor, fuel, and arms can be provided to Russian forces.

- If Russia can breakthrough to Odessa, naval forces will land and the City will be isolated and lost. Ukraine does not have anti-ship missiles in any significant quantity, at least none that can his Russian LST's miles off the coast.

Under current conditions, Ukraine can (at best) create a stalemate. So unless sanctions start hitting Russia much harder, and production of good and services fall dramatically, Ukraine will likely fall. Without offensive firepower, it is more likely than not.
A thoughtful and well argued opinion. Which I hope is mistaken - though without much confidence.
 

Nomad4Ever

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The western press loves to print heroic stories about Ukraine and its military achievements. It equally enjoys printing headlines over "Putin's mistakes" and "low morale" and "elites starting to question Putin's decisions". Sorry to say, while all of this is true none of this addresses some fundamental realities that suggest that in the end, Putin will win. Here are the reasons:

- Putin cannot be replaced. He has the KGB (now called the FSB) behind him. He is surrounded by yes men, and he has laid the blame on less popular and unknown members of his government. His most likely replacement, General Souji, was once the second most popular personality in Russia but has been sidelined. Putin can't really replace him without the public being disturbed, but he can make him an "unperson" to carry the blame for failure.

- The shock of Ukraine's resistance has worn off Putin. Putin is now in this for the long haul and has no intention of negotiating until he is able to make an offer that Ukraine cannot refuse. To that end, it is likely he will call up reserves to replace losses and start new conscription. Thankfully, NATO has not detected any movement of mercenaries from Syria or elsewhere - although the Wagner group is being asked to increase fighters substantially.

- The new Russian strategy is based on what they should have done at wars start. Kiev and perhaps Kharkov are no longer primary targets. Around Kiev, in particular, the Russians have retreated to "deconfliction" lines, meaning defensive lines intended to screen off future attacks. Most likely supply difficulties make further attacks by Russia on the northern Ukraine futile, and Russia is willing to retreat. In the process, Russian resources are being shifted to the Donbas and southern fronts.

- This has several benefits. First the separatists have made progress and seizure of more eastern territory is possible. Second, Russians have taken a key port and can freely ship a huge tonnage of supplies and drop them off at the nearby front without trucks. Third, Russian marines are a significant contributor to land forces and unlike the conscript army, are very good soldiers immune to panic and demoralization.

- The strategy is twofold...take the rest of the Southern coast (i.e. Odessa) and Ukraine can no longer obtain supplies or ship wheat and other goods for export. Moreover, it creates an opportunity for envelopment of Ukraine forces in the east.

- Here is the difficulty for Ukraine. They have the firepower necessary for localized tactical gain, but not the offensive weapons needed to make strategic breakthroughs. The main supply port, was in the news recently when the highly improbable happened...somehow Ukraine found a way to sink a large ship. This likely won't be repeated. Ukraine does not have much in the way of weapons that can reach the port. Unlike Russia it has very few medium range ballistic missiles. If this port cannot be shut down permanently, the supply problems for southeastern Ukraine will be cured and an endless amount of armor, fuel, and arms can be provided to Russian forces.

- If Russia can breakthrough to Odessa, naval forces will land and the City will be isolated and lost. Ukraine does not have anti-ship missiles in any significant quantity, at least none that can his Russian LST's miles off the coast.

Under current conditions, Ukraine can (at best) create a stalemate. So unless sanctions start hitting Russia much harder, and production of good and services fall dramatically, Ukraine will likely fall. Without offensive firepower, it is more likely than not.
This is all solid reasoning.

However this all hinges on Russia being able to adapt their tactics in any meaningful way, which they have failed to do thus far. Even a stalemate would eventually turn into a Ukrainian victory as Russia really doesn’t have the capabilities to sustain this invasion for a prolonged period of time.
 

MamboDervish

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Win is when Putin substantially achieves at least two or three of his goals.

1) Complete Neutrality of Ukraine, including not joining EU.
2) Disarming of Ukraine so future resistance to threats is futile
3) Denazification, cleaning out those most troublesome to Moscow
4) Ukraine agreeing to further dismemberment, such as the southern and eastern regions awarded to Russia or their client states.

I don't consider a real "win" if all he gets is neutrality and recognition of the prior Donbas microstates and Crimea as legal entities. That would be, more or less, a very expensive draw.
It would not surprise me if he doesn't achieve a single one of those goals. I think the only certainty is keeping Ukraine out of NATO, a step they've already conceded to. In my most optimistic moments, I could imagine Russia joining the EU - perhaps as early as in the next 40 years. It would be a big step in doing away with NATO entirely. But I don't see Putin himself lasting even another 5 years.
 

joluoto

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Win is when Putin substantially achieves at least two or three of his goals.

1) Complete Neutrality of Ukraine, including not joining EU.
2) Disarming of Ukraine so future resistance to threats is futile
3) Denazification, cleaning out those most troublesome to Moscow
4) Ukraine agreeing to further dismemberment, such as the southern and eastern regions awarded to Russia or their client states.

I don't consider a real "win" if all he gets is neutrality and recognition of the prior Donbas microstates and Crimea as legal entities. That would be, more or less, a very expensive draw.
Putin would sell that as a win, even though it really isn't. Putin wants his own man in Kiev, I think his goal in the beginning was for Ukraine to join the so called Union State with Belarus and Russia, and that the ambition was to make the Union State into an actual thing instead of a fancy name inherited from the 90s. He basically already is in full control of Belarus, and Lukashenka is reduced to window dressing.
 

Simon W. Moon

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The ... not.

doubt it

no matter what tactics Russia comes up with
the strategy itself is inherently untenable

The occupation of Ukraine is too expensive

Russia will fall
maybe lose their nukes too
 

ChickenTendies

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The western press loves to print heroic stories about Ukraine and its military achievements. It equally enjoys printing headlines over "Putin's mistakes" and "low morale" and "elites starting to question Putin's decisions". Sorry to say, while all of this is true none of this addresses some fundamental realities that suggest that in the end, Putin will win. Here are the reasons:

- Putin cannot be replaced. He has the KGB (now called the FSB) behind him. He is surrounded by yes men, and he has laid the blame on less popular and unknown members of his government. His most likely replacement, General Souji, was once the second most popular personality in Russia but has been sidelined. Putin can't really replace him without the public being disturbed, but he can make him an "unperson" to carry the blame for failure.

- The shock of Ukraine's resistance has worn off Putin. Putin is now in this for the long haul and has no intention of negotiating until he is able to make an offer that Ukraine cannot refuse. To that end, it is likely he will call up reserves to replace losses and start new conscription. Thankfully, NATO has not detected any movement of mercenaries from Syria or elsewhere - although the Wagner group is being asked to increase fighters substantially.

- The new Russian strategy is based on what they should have done at wars start. Kiev and perhaps Kharkov are no longer primary targets. Around Kiev, in particular, the Russians have retreated to "deconfliction" lines, meaning defensive lines intended to screen off future attacks. Most likely supply difficulties make further attacks by Russia on the northern Ukraine futile, and Russia is willing to retreat. In the process, Russian resources are being shifted to the Donbas and southern fronts.

- This has several benefits. First the separatists have made progress and seizure of more eastern territory is possible. Second, Russians have taken a key port and can freely ship a huge tonnage of supplies and drop them off at the nearby front without trucks. Third, Russian marines are a significant contributor to land forces and unlike the conscript army, are very good soldiers immune to panic and demoralization.

- The strategy is twofold...take the rest of the Southern coast (i.e. Odessa) and Ukraine can no longer obtain supplies or ship wheat and other goods for export. Moreover, it creates an opportunity for envelopment of Ukraine forces in the east.

- Here is the difficulty for Ukraine. They have the firepower necessary for localized tactical gain, but not the offensive weapons needed to make strategic breakthroughs. The main supply port, was in the news recently when the highly improbable happened...somehow Ukraine found a way to sink a large ship. This likely won't be repeated. Ukraine does not have much in the way of weapons that can reach the port. Unlike Russia it has very few medium range ballistic missiles. If this port cannot be shut down permanently, the supply problems for southeastern Ukraine will be cured and an endless amount of armor, fuel, and arms can be provided to Russian forces.

- If Russia can breakthrough to Odessa, naval forces will land and the City will be isolated and lost. Ukraine does not have anti-ship missiles in any significant quantity, at least none that can his Russian LST's miles off the coast.

Under current conditions, Ukraine can (at best) create a stalemate. So unless sanctions start hitting Russia much harder, and production of good and services fall dramatically, Ukraine will likely fall. Without offensive firepower, it is more likely than not.
And we're only really seeing the Ukrainian narrative. Likely they're suffering just as many casualties as the Russians.
 

Rogue Valley

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Ukraine does not have anti-ship missiles in any significant quantity, at least none that can his Russian LST's miles off the coast.

Ukraine has its mobile Neptune anti-ship cruise-missile with a 200 mile range.

The number available was classified.
 

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The western press loves to print heroic stories about Ukraine and its military achievements. It equally enjoys printing headlines over "Putin's mistakes" and "low morale" and "elites starting to question Putin's decisions". Sorry to say, while all of this is true none of this addresses some fundamental realities that suggest that in the end, Putin will win. Here are the reasons:

- Putin cannot be replaced. He has the KGB (now called the FSB) behind him. He is surrounded by yes men, and he has laid the blame on less popular and unknown members of his government. His most likely replacement, General Souji, was once the second most popular personality in Russia but has been sidelined. Putin can't really replace him without the public being disturbed, but he can make him an "unperson" to carry the blame for failure.

- The shock of Ukraine's resistance has worn off Putin. Putin is now in this for the long haul and has no intention of negotiating until he is able to make an offer that Ukraine cannot refuse. To that end, it is likely he will call up reserves to replace losses and start new conscription. Thankfully, NATO has not detected any movement of mercenaries from Syria or elsewhere - although the Wagner group is being asked to increase fighters substantially.

- The new Russian strategy is based on what they should have done at wars start. Kiev and perhaps Kharkov are no longer primary targets. Around Kiev, in particular, the Russians have retreated to "deconfliction" lines, meaning defensive lines intended to screen off future attacks. Most likely supply difficulties make further attacks by Russia on the northern Ukraine futile, and Russia is willing to retreat. In the process, Russian resources are being shifted to the Donbas and southern fronts.

- This has several benefits. First the separatists have made progress and seizure of more eastern territory is possible. Second, Russians have taken a key port and can freely ship a huge tonnage of supplies and drop them off at the nearby front without trucks. Third, Russian marines are a significant contributor to land forces and unlike the conscript army, are very good soldiers immune to panic and demoralization.

- The strategy is twofold...take the rest of the Southern coast (i.e. Odessa) and Ukraine can no longer obtain supplies or ship wheat and other goods for export. Moreover, it creates an opportunity for envelopment of Ukraine forces in the east.

- Here is the difficulty for Ukraine. They have the firepower necessary for localized tactical gain, but not the offensive weapons needed to make strategic breakthroughs. The main supply port, was in the news recently when the highly improbable happened...somehow Ukraine found a way to sink a large ship. This likely won't be repeated. Ukraine does not have much in the way of weapons that can reach the port. Unlike Russia it has very few medium range ballistic missiles. If this port cannot be shut down permanently, the supply problems for southeastern Ukraine will be cured and an endless amount of armor, fuel, and arms can be provided to Russian forces.

- If Russia can breakthrough to Odessa, naval forces will land and the City will be isolated and lost. Ukraine does not have anti-ship missiles in any significant quantity, at least none that can his Russian LST's miles off the coast.

Under current conditions, Ukraine can (at best) create a stalemate. So unless sanctions start hitting Russia much harder, and production of good and services fall dramatically, Ukraine will likely fall. Without offensive firepower, it is more likely than not.
this will be a 10 year war (including covert ops).
 

Rogue Valley

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Win is when Putin substantially achieves at least two or three of his goals.

1) Complete Neutrality of Ukraine, including not joining EU.
2) Disarming of Ukraine so future resistance to threats is futile
3) Denazification, cleaning out those most troublesome to Moscow
4) Ukraine agreeing to further dismemberment, such as the southern and eastern regions awarded to Russia or their client states.

I don't consider a real "win" if all he gets is neutrality and recognition of the prior Donbas microstates and Crimea as legal entities. That would be, more or less, a very expensive draw.

Zelenskyy has said that any negotiated settlement with Russia will be put before the Ukrainian people in a nationwide referendum.

And I can already say that your 1-4 won't fly.
 

snakestretcher

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The Orsk proves how vulnerable the Russian navy is right now.

Railways have been blown up.

Bridges have been blown up.

Putin is in for a very long slog in the Ukraine.
In a country where everyone hates him. What he hopes to achieve is like the US in Afghanistan, continually facing insurgency attacks and ultimately failing.
 

maxparrish

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Ukraine has its mobile Neptune anti-ship cruise-missile with a 200 mile range.

The number available was classified.

The missile was planned to start deployment in March of 2021 and continue for 3 years. This would have given them 3 batteries (18 launchers) and 72 missiles. Assuming production and distribution has been ongoing for a full year, it would also suggest that at most 6 launchers and 24 missiles were produced. Given its history of repeated delays, there may be many fewer than that.


The missile has several characteristics that make it less than ideal. It is based on an older Soviet design, not particularly fast, and has a modest warhead of about 300lbs. The largest ship it designed to severely damage is 5000 tons, no larger than a frigate. Given modern warships layered defenses and the limited quantity on Neptunes, it must be rationed.

And, it does not yet seem ready for significant deployment. Russian ships have launched cruise missiles deep into Ukraine routinely, some on missions of full destruction of airports and the lie. except for one sinking of a smaller craft, the Neptune has not been seen. (And I am not sure a Neptune was involved in that sinking).

According to a report, Odessa was supposed to get some Neptunes in April, but as of yet there are no reports of deployment. Hence, Russian ships seen on the horizon have been free to operate and shell as they please.

Finally, I note that there are NATO and other nations missiles that could have had serious impair the Russian black sea fleet and its wartime shipping. Typically they have 500lb warheads, are sea skimming, and are very sophisticated. Harpoon, in 25 nations, is the most well known. But there is also Exocet, the Naval Strike Missile (Norway and Poland), and the Japanese Type 88 surface to ship missile (perhaps the most intriguing).

Anyway, thank you for pointing out the Neptune. It provided me an opportunity to more deeply research the subject.
 

Rogue Valley

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Anyway, thank you for pointing out the Neptune. It provided me an opportunity to more deeply research the subject.

You're welcome. But I highly doubt Ukroboronprom published any classified information while the war with Russia was ongoing.
 

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Win is when Putin substantially achieves at least two or three of his goals.

1) Complete Neutrality of Ukraine, including not joining EU.
2) Disarming of Ukraine so future resistance to threats is futile
3) Denazification, cleaning out those most troublesome to Moscow
4) Ukraine agreeing to further dismemberment, such as the southern and eastern regions awarded to Russia or their client states.

I don't consider a real "win" if all he gets is neutrality and recognition of the prior Donbas microstates and Crimea as legal entities. That would be, more or less, a very expensive draw.
If Putin could achieve all four and then some, all it would provide is a pause until the next time. Because, as we all have seen (let alone Ukraine has), any guarantees then given by him do not merit the air they're uttered upon, let alone any written paper.

He's learned deception in probably the best school there is and was.
 

maxparrish

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This is all solid reasoning.

However this all hinges on Russia being able to adapt their tactics in any meaningful way, which they have failed to do thus far. Even a stalemate would eventually turn into a Ukrainian victory as Russia really doesn’t have the capabilities to sustain this invasion for a prolonged period of time.

Unlike what some think, I believe Russia is capable of choosing different operational methods and goals. However, given their bad intelligence and political beliefs they selected the worst possible invasion plan.

The southern and eastern front strategy, if logistics are available by ship and ports, has the benefit of less reliance on trucks and plentiful supplies (including fuel). And, of course, well fed and well supplied troops are far less demoralized than in the north.

As to a stalemate being an advantage to one side or the other, I cannot say. Russia's vulnerability is subject to the effectiveness of sanctions and the rate of casualties. Ukraine's vulnerability is in the feeding the population in major cities, maintaining fuel sources, and the west's limitations on the stocks of these individual weapons. Who wins a stalemate will depend on each sides ability to replace losses, and the resoluteness of Putin vs. Nato.
 

maxparrish

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doubt it

no matter what tactics Russia comes up with
the strategy itself is inherently untenable

The occupation of Ukraine is too expensive

Russia will fall
maybe lose their nukes too

Remember, the Russian strategy is not to occupy Ukraine but to make it accept its terms. Most likely that will include Russian and separatist occupation of major portions of eastern and southern Ukraine.
 

Lord Tammerlain

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doubt it

no matter what tactics Russia comes up with
the strategy itself is inherently untenable

The occupation of Ukraine is too expensive

Russia will fall
maybe lose their nukes too


If the world can not get North Korea to give up its nukes, it won't get Russia to
 

OrphanSlug

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Russia's "winning" strategy... aka propaganda, war crimes via killing everyone woman and child they can target, strict rules and authoritarianism at home, and lying to their own about where their sons are.
 

PeacefulWarrior

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Mebbe.🤷‍♂️

Time will tell I guess, not really high on my list of things to concern myself with.
 
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