Russia continues to invade Ukraine, and fierce fighting has recently begun in Kharkiv. But even if Putin sooner or later conquers the country, many experts believe it will not mean the end of the war for him.
Almost a week has passed since Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Fierce fighting is currently taking place in several Ukrainian cities. Russian convoys several kilometers long are heading for Kyiv, and several bombs have fallen in Kharkiv.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine recently posted a video on Twitter showing a rocket hitting the central Freedom Square in Kharkiv. Given such images, the publication notes, it is probably only a matter of time before the Russian army captures Ukraine, or at least its largest cities.
The war is likely to continue after the conquest of Ukraine
Mitchell Orenstein, a professor of Russian and Eastern European studies at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Washington Post that even then the war might not end. He said that “the biggest threat to Russia is the fact that Ukraine is a real nation, and there live hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who are ready to die defending Ukraine.”
After the Russian invasion, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine called on citizens to take up arms. Many locals took the appeal to heart. Eyewitnesses of the Tagesschau report that tens of thousands of Ukrainians have armed themselves and organized surveillance and resistance groups to protect their villages and towns.
In addition, President Volodymyr Zelensky himself remained in the city, despite the threat of an invasion of Kyiv. Ludmila Melnyk, a researcher at the Institute for European Policy in Berlin, said in a recent interview with Tagesspiegel that “some did not think he would resist.”
“It will be very, very difficult for an artificial government to control the territory”
Zelensky, who addressed the Ukrainian population in numerous video appeals, is visually accessible to his people even during the war. Even before the Russian invasion, he addressed the citizens of Russia in Russian. “The people of Ukraine want peace,” he said. “If you attack, you will see our faces. Not our backs, our faces. ”
Obviously, Ukrainians really appreciate Zelensky’s presence and the strength he is showing now. Melnik told Tagesspiegel that “he is a hero to many.” According to the expert, the Ukrainian people stand behind their president. And, perhaps, that is why he shows such a great fighting spirit.
Putin underestimated the resilience of Ukrainians. This not only slows down Russia’s current invasion, but may pose a serious problem for it in the future. Because most locals obviously don’t want to have a Russian puppet regime. An expert from Russia and Eastern Europe, Orenstein, told the Washington Post that the government, which will be formed after the capture of Ukraine’s largest cities, will be “very, very difficult to control the territory.”
Harald Kuyat: “Political survival for Putin will be difficult in guerrilla warfare”
This is indicated by a number of studies, including a study by political scientist Lindsey O’Rourke from Downes and Boston College. The change of regime, carried out under external pressure, puts a heavy strain on the relationship between the invading country and the defending country. In the worst case, it could even lead to civil war.
This danger was recently pointed out by former Bundeswehr general Harald Kujat in an interview with FOCUS Online. He said that, given Russia’s superiority, it seemed only a matter of time before Kyiv fell. “But one factor should make Putin think,” he said. “If a guerrilla war breaks out, and I assume that’s what will happen, it will be very difficult for Putin to survive politically.”
In an interview with Standard, Russian expert Gerhard Mangott said that, in the end, guerrilla warfare with ambushes, raids and fighting in human settlements could cost the lives of many Russian soldiers in the long run. “Putin knows the risk of internal resistance if there are many casualties among his own soldiers.”
Fuel shortage, large number of victims: the invasion of Ukraine is slowing down
According to Ukrainian sources, the losses of the Russian army are already high. On Sunday, February 26, this year In the evening, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that about 4.5 thousand Russian soldiers had died since the beginning of the war.
Helicopters, tanks and other military equipment were also destroyed. The information provided to Ukraine has not yet been verified by independent sources, the German newspaper Focus notes. However, they do not fit into the picture of Putin’s invasion.
A Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday, March 1. in Washington, that “there are signs that the Russians are having trouble supplying their troops – not only running out of gas, but running out of food.” Morality is declining in some units, “because they did not expect the resistance with which they were met.” Resistance, which is likely to continue for a long time.