Opinion: Why Ukraine Can and Will Win

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One often hears that Russia will eventually win over Ukraine because it has a much larger economy and population. Historically, this is the wrong conclusion. History suggests that Ukraine is more likely to win, so let’s see why.


This is the most important thing in war. Ukrainians know why they are fighting. They are protecting the survival of their country. If they end the war, Ukraine will cease to exist as an independent country.

On the contrary, the Russians do not really know why they are fighting. Many of them fight because of the fear of being killed themselves, and if their families die, they are supposed to be paid a lot of money. Some fight for their country, but many Russian soldiers are not even free. During the war, the number of Russian prisons was reduced from 420,000 to 260,000, about 160,000 prisoners were thrown into the Ukrainian meat grinder.

Russia’s repressive dictatorship

Russia is a country where individuals such as author and journalist Vladimir Kara Murza are serving 25 years in prison for opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin. No wonder the Kremlin is mercilessly wasting Russian troops, and Ukraine claims to have killed 320,000 of them. Even if the actual number was only half that number, 160,000, that would equal ten times the Soviet losses in Afghanistan. So far, there has been little response from the Russian public, but this is unsustainable.

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Ukrainian democracy

It is important in war. Unlike their Russian counterparts, most Ukrainian soldiers are volunteers. Ukrainian military orders are on average two decades younger than Russian military orders and are more democratic than their Russian counterparts. They try to save the lives of their soldiers as much as possible, and follow a more decentralized – and more effective – command structure.

The last count I saw, Ukraine has about 800,000 men and women under arms, while Russia has 420,000 troops in Ukraine. Ukraine has more, better and more motivated soldiers than Russia, and Russia has twice as many in Ukraine.

Ukraine is where Russian weapons are destroyed

While Ukraine has superior quality Western weapons, Russia is fighting substandard Soviet weapons. Eventually, the US and Germany will supply Ukraine with the equipment it needs, while Russia suffers from increasingly strict Western technology export controls.

According to the official Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia’s total weapons are exported He did not accept In the year From $7.2 billion in 2018 to $2.8 billion in 2022. This figure will probably drop even further by 2023 because no sane arms importer will want substandard Russian weapons anymore.

One big takeaway from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is that the military and military-industrial complex are too centralized and too corrupt to do anything effectively. Some of Putin’s proudest Russian weapons are serialized, most notably the modern Armata. Another weakness is that hypersonic missiles such as the Kinzhal are ineffective, although the Kalibr and Kh101 cruise missiles do.

Historical precedence

It is surprising that many Westerners expect Russia to win in the long run. In the year In the 1970s, the FNL defeated the superpower America in Vietnam. In the year In the 1960s, Algeria defeated France in the long Algerian War. In the year In 1967, still poor Israel defeated the vast coalition of Arab nations. In the year

In many battles, size has not been found to be critical. Large but weakly motivated countries often lose wars against smaller and more motivated countries, especially if the aggressor’s goal is colonization. It would be strange if the totalitarian kleptocracy Russia was victorious in Ukraine. Predestination suggests that Ukraine is more likely to win this war than Russia.

Ukraine can win, but challenges remain.

To win this war, it is enough for Ukraine to isolate the peninsula by cutting the two bridges connecting it to Russia. It must mean victory. Ukraine does not need to occupy Crimea. It is enough to cut the Russian supply lines to Crimea, which cannot be defended. Ukraine has already opened Black Sea shipping, which will allow the export of 5.6 million tons in two months, without any Russian consent.

Still, Ukraine’s problems are huge and should not be ignored. Ukraine is currently suffering badly from the great confusion within the Republican Party in America. Donald Trump has emerged as a key ally of Putin. If anyone can break Ukraine, it’s Trump rather than Putin.

Ukraine faces major confusion over financing and arms supplies in Berlin. An unknown number of Ukrainian soldiers die because Russia has a huge number of mines that the West’s delay in arms supplies has allowed Russia to deploy. In addition, Russia has many weak Soviet weapons, and this is mostly an artillery battle.

Finally, although the Russian Air Force is surprisingly weak, it has more aircraft than Ukraine. Ironically, Russia failed to take out the Ukrainian Air Force, which made a difference every day of the war, even though it was always smaller than Russia’s.

Anders Aslund is the author of “Russian Crony Capitalism: The Road from Market Economy to Kleptocracy.”

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Kyiv Post.

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