WASHINGTON, DC, Nov 25 — Is it possible that Russia is losing its war with Ukraine? It’s early days and who knows what Vladimir Putin might have up his sleeve to regain his advantage without going nuclear. Some observers who have dubbed Putin “the madman of Moscow,” however, believe he may be just mad enough to use nukes.
Former CIA chief Leon Panetta thinks so. As he put it in an Opinion article in Politico, “increasingly cornered and isolated, [he] continues to threaten the use of so-called battlefield nuclear weapons to try and gain a military advantage on the ground in Ukraine. Some intelligence analysts now believe that the probability of the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine has risen from 1-5 percent at the start of the war to 20-25 percent today.” And Panetta suggests “If he makes a reckless decision to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the U.S. will respond with direct military force against Russian troops waging the war in Ukraine, ensuring Putin’s defeat there.”
Putin is getting his head handed to him. Ukraine, a country of about 41 million citizens, has the Russian mega force in retreat. Underscoring the notion that the Russians may be losing the war is the recent withdrawal of Russian forces from the critical Ukrainian city of Kherson, a city of more than 280,000 citizens. The U.S. Department of Defense says it was a big loss for Putin. The Defense Department issued a report last week, calling “the liberation of Kherson City a significant accomplishment and a testament to the grit, determination and tenacity of the Ukrainian people and their armed forces as they fight to defend their nation.”
However, it is more than likely that the Russian president is going to press his forces to “compensate” for the loss of Kherson elsewhere in Ukraine, says the Atlantic Council. In a recent report, the Council suggested that “Russia will likely redeploy many of the units withdrawn from the Kherson front to eastern Ukraine in order to bolster faltering efforts to complete the occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk regions…[But] for Ukraine, the success of the counter-offensive to liberate Kherson will provide a massive boost to [Ukrainian] national morale while also consolidating international support for the country. It will confirm to even the fiercest of critics that Ukraine is militarily capable of beating Russia. The war is still far from over, but victory in Kherson may come to be seen as one of the key turning points in the defeat of Putin’s invasion.”
Whatever happens, it might be a while before we see any significant developments in the war. Winter weather may stall activity on both sides and the New York Times points out that “heavy snows and freezing temperatures” are likely to slow down the fighting. U.S. undersecretary of defense, Colin H. Kahl, told the Times “you’re already seeing the sloppy weather in Ukraine slow things down a little bit. It’s getting really muddy, which makes it hard to do large-scale offensives.” However, while the weather might stall action on the fronts, Seth G. Jones, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says the “Ukrainians look like they’re going to continue to press forward with sabotage and subversion attacks on Russian lines. These are targeted assassinations and just general sabotage against Russian-controlled areas inside Ukraine.”
The consensus is that things will slow down on the front, but that Ukraine forces will continue to take pot shots and initiate a few sorties in the coming months and that the morale of the Russian forces will continue to deteriorate.
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now