All that is not well, does not end well
A poor start makes any recovery hard. Only people with talent, energy, and a desperate want to win overcome those odds. Sometimes, even that may not be enough to reach the finish line.
After being forced into a tiebreaker, the second seed lost to an unseeded player in the first round. Ukraine is ready for the second round. Russia, not so much.
Russia is digging trenches around Kyiv to support its defensive formations, bombing shelters in Mariupol to break the will of the people, and attacking Ukrainian supply lines near the Polish border because it is clueless about the next step.
The Russians, despite pressing close to three-quarters of their combat-ready force, estimated between 150,000 to 200,000 armed personnel, have switched from grinding Ukraine into submission to starving out cities.
The verdict is unanimous
Russians have spectacularly bombed the first round of their special military operation.
The campaign assessment done by the Institute For the Study of War was ominous. If Putin reads it, he is most probably going to deplete the remaining neurons left in his little brain.
- “Ukrainian forces have defeated the initial Russian campaign of this war. That campaign aimed to conduct airborne and mechanized operations to seize Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and other major Ukrainian cities to force a change of government in Ukraine.
- That campaign has culminated. Russian forces continue to make limited advances in some parts of the theater but are very unlikely to be able to seize their objectives in this way.
- The doctrinally sound Russian response to this situation would be to end this campaign, accept a possibly lengthy operational pause, develop the plan for a new campaign, build up resources for that new campaign, and launch it when the resources and other conditions are ready.
- The Russian military has not yet adopted this approach. It is instead continuing to feed small collections of reinforcements into an ongoing effort to keep the current campaign alive. We assess that that effort will fail.