Ukraine’s unpleasant choice
When Russia had 200,000, plus or minus, troops on the Ukrainian border and an invasion imminent, I confidently predicted Kyiv will be captured “in 3 or 4 days,” and a compliant government established soon thereafter. The friendly acquaintance to whom I pontificated countered with “The Ukrainians will give them a fight. They’re fighters.” Was he ever right!
The initial results of the conflict have dramatically demonstrated the Ukrainians willingness to fight. Now, however, with over 100 days of constant and often brutal combat, the willingness of the Russian state is becoming more apparent. In defiance of international sanctions, condemnations, and substantial combat losses, Russia is demonstrating the resolve to “grind” out its baseline objectives. No amount of dead generals, rank and file “morale loss,” or social media will dissuade it from reaching its limited, strategic objectives. Russia endured 305,000 casualties in three weeks (April 16 to May 8) of 1945 alone!
This national determination, this tenacity of command, this collective resolve of its military has not evaporated. Russia, despite Ukraine’s heroic resistance, will pulverize its way to its basic objectives.
The choice of Ukraine and , indirectly, Europe, then, is whether to oppose its contiguous superpower or accept the reality on the ground. It is a choice between a protracted war draining Ukraine’s resources, or an “off ramp” securing Ukraine’s status among nations and peace at home.
Not a pleasant choice, but a necessary one.
Michael (MJ) FitzGerald