Putin admits: Defeat in Ukraine will be the end of Russia

Get out then!

Shankar Narayan
7 min readJun 21, 2024

Putin stated in a press conference on June 20, following his trip to North Korea and Vietnam, that the West

says they want to achieve a strategic defeat of Russia on the battlefield.

What does this mean for Russia?

For Russia it means the end of its statehood, that is what it means.

It means the end of the thousand year history of the Russian state. I think this is clear to everyone.

What is a Strategic Defeat:

The Battle of Stalingrad during World War II represented a strategic defeat for Nazi Germany. This loss marked a pivotal turning point in the war, significantly weakening German forces on the Eastern Front and bolstering Soviet morale, ultimately leading to a series of subsequent defeats for Germany.

In contrast, the loss of Kherson city by Russia in late 2022 and the loss of Avdiivka in February 2024 can be characterized as battlefield defeats. While both sides incurred losses, these events did not escalate into broader, large-scale defeats for their army.

How Ukraine can achieve a Strategic Victory?

There are numerous components to a nation’s armed forces, but let’s focus on the three main branches: the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army.

For Ukraine to achieve a strategic victory, it must achieve operational dominance over all three branches. While Ukraine has achieved operational dominance over the Navy, it has not dealt a strategic blow to the enemy, who continues to rebuild and strengthen their naval capabilities. Consequently, Ukraine must continue to disrupt and destroy any Russian naval assets that are repaired or remain operational to keep them destabilized and contained.

Regarding the air-force, Ukraine is far from achieving operational dominance. On any given day, Russian forces operate approximately 300 fighter jets in Ukrainian airspace. These aircraft are not aimlessly patrolling; they maintain Ukrainian air force suppression while also launching glide bombs on the frontlines and deploying cruise and ballistic missiles inland.

Unless Ukraine can neutralize the air-force threat, it will struggle to fully defeat Russian ground forces. While a complete defeat of the air-force may not be necessary to achieve victory on the ground, significantly reducing the capacity of the Russian air-force is crucial for success.

Therefore, Ukraine urgently requires robust air-defense systems and fighter jets. Without these capabilities, Ukraine cannot effectively counter the Russian air-force threat. If the Russian air-force remains unchecked, their infantry-heavy ground forces will continue to pose a serious threat.

Imagine this scenario: Ukraine utilizes its air-defense systems and fighter jets to deny Russian aircraft access to the frontline, establishing a no-fly zone for the final 100 kilometers. The Russian air-force has already lost numerous fighter jets, operating at half of last year’s capacity. Russian navy has already been turned in to a mute spectator of the ground battle. Under these conditions, the Russian ground forces will be forced to wage a battle all on their own, without support from the other other two branches.

This strategic approach underscores the critical importance of enhancing Ukraine’s air-defense capabilities to ensure long-term operational success against Russian forces.

How will it impact the war? It will be immense.

Russian army is running out tanks, heavy weapons and even artillery pieces in some sectors. Without the Russian air-force dominating the skies, there will be no more devastating glide bombs targeting Ukrainian positions. If they lose ground, how will they reclaim it? How will they defend against Ukraine’s French AASM hammer bombs relentlessly targeting their frontline? The only viable option will be retreat.

If Ukraine wants to advance, they need to knock the Russian air-force out of equation. That is why, I am a bit disappointed that the United States has only trained 12 Ukrainian fighter jet pilots in the past year.

Screenshot from Politico Story

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson highlighted in a 2018 Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing that the Air Force trained 1,160 new pilots in fiscal 2017 and anticipated training 1,311 in fiscal 2019.

The United States Air Force operates a formidable fleet of fighter jets, including the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, and more. It is difficult to assess the exact F16 pilot training capacity. Since there are approximately 841 F-16s in active duty, it is inconceivable that the training capacity would be less than 100 pilots annually, as this would pose a significant national security concern demanding immediate attention.

Therefore, the issue lies not in training capacity but rather in the willingness to train Ukrainian pilots.

Oleksandra Ustinova, a Ukrainian politician heading Ukraine’s arms and munitions commission, said the U.S. was making “excuses” for too few pilots being trained to fly F-16s. Ukraine will have 20 fully-trained pilots by the end of 2024, she told The Times in an article published on Monday.

“So far we’re going to have fewer trained pilots than fighter jets,” Ustinova said.

The saving grace in this entire situation is that the decision to train 12 Ukrainian pilots was made in the latter half of last year. The Biden administration we had then is not the same one we have now.

The Biden administration has made numerous commendable decisions this year, including those taken in the past two weeks. They are progressing positively. For perhaps the first time in the last two and a half years, I have no complaints against them.

This is promising progress. Given their current trajectory, I believe they will soon address this looming capability gap. Ukraine cannot afford to have more jets than trained pilots.

Ukraine has a strong pipeline of jets on the way, with 65 F16s set to arrive. These will be supplemented by an undisclosed number of Mirage-2000 jets.

French President Macron did not specify how many jets he will send to Ukraine, but I speculate it will be in the double digits. Anything less would not make sense. Macon also mentioned that the jets will reach Ukraine by the end of this year.

The French have started training Ukrainian pilots.

The 10 Ukrainian pilots currently in France are the first batch to receive a six-month training there. Before that, they were in the UK and after, they’ll likely head to Romania for the third and final phase of training.

During the several months they spent in the UK, each one spent about 70 hours operating a GROB-115 aircraft, an easy-to-handle general aviation aircraft with a maximum speed of about 220 km/h.

In France, they’ve graduated to an Alpha Jet plane, a light attack jet and advanced jet trainer with a top speed of over 900 km/h that they will man for about 80 hours in the air with an additional 60 hours in a simulator. In Romania, they can expect to pilot F-16s — the American-made supersonic fighter jet with a 2,100 km/h top speed — for 60 hours.

This is just the first batch of Ukrainian pilots getting trained in France. They have committed to train 26 Ukrainian pilots in two years. I hope the real number is far higher than the official announcement. But nevertheless, at least one squadron of French trained Ukrainian pilots will be ready by the end of this year.

Our challenge now is how Ukraine will manage the period from June to December — how many jets and pilots they will receive. They appear poised to acquire 65 jets but have only 12 to 20 trained pilots to operate them.

What can be done now?

Fix it.

The sooner we start addressing this issue, the sooner we will resolve it. The West has made several sound decisions since the beginning of this year. Rectifying this one gap will significantly bolster our efforts. When Ukraine rises to the top, having enough trained pilots will enable them to secure victory.

Let us seize this moment. Let us not repeat 2022, when Ukraine advanced but had to halt due to inadequate weaponry. Russia exploited this pause and escaped.

Let there be no escape for the invaders in 2024. They can always leave. No one is stopping them.

Putin appears to be anxious about maintaining calm among average Russians. The discussion about the potential end of the Russian state must have been particularly unsettling for him, especially coming shortly after his deal with North Korea. Unusually, there was no bombastic rhetoric upon his return from a state visit, as one might typically expect from a President.

Perhaps this subdued response was a reaction to the flurry of news from the West.

  • The United States has committed to sending every Patriot interceptor produced directly to Ukraine.
  • Germany has placed an 8.5 billion Euro order for manufacturing 155mm artillery shells.
  • Romania has announced its intention to deploy a Patriot battery to Ukraine, increasing the country’s inventory of long-range systems to 10.
  • Meanwhile, F16s are likely stationed in Poland or nearby, awaiting deployment orders.

While the battlefield has yet to decisively shift in favor of Ukraine, the West has already made a significant turnaround.

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Shankar Narayan

He didn't care what he had or what he had left, he cared only about what he must do.