UKRAINE has successfully wiped out much of Russia’s war machine, humiliating tyrant Putin with a series of precise strikes.
The Kremlin top brass expected to sweep through Oekraïne in a matter of days, believing that President Zelensky would flee and the Ukrainian defence would collapse.
In plaas daarvan, as die Kinders in die Oekraïne maak gereed om hul land te verdedig teen die inval van Rusland enters its 10th month, Putin’s army is at a standstill, and his economy is taking a pounding.
Maandag, two of Putin’s Tu-95 nuclear bombers were blown up in an attack on a high-security Russian airbase hundreds of miles from the Ukrainian border.
It is the latest sign that the war is backfiring for Russia, and that the country is itself now becoming a target for airstrikes.
While it seems certain the war will continue into next year, it isn’t clear how much longer the Russian resolve can hold up, as conditions for ordinary Russians worsen.
This is how Ukraine upset the odds and took the war to Russia.
WORSENING RUSSIAN MORALE
According to Ukraine, the Russian death toll since February is over 90,000.
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Independent Russian media outlet iStories, quoting Kremlin sources, reported in October that at least 90,000 soldiers had either died, been severely wounded, or were not accounted for.
The Kremlin has also reportedly lost at least 5,900 armoured protected vehicles (APVs), 2,900 tenks, en 281 vliegtuie.
Daarbenewens, verby 1,900 artillery systems have been wiped out, accounting for around a third of Russia’s total stock.
Onverbasend, morale is at an all-time low, and reports of mutiny are growing.
Putin’s mass mobilisation efforts have only highlighted that he has to compel ordinary Russians into fighting his war, unlike the Ukrainians who have signed up willingly to defend their country.
A number of nations are now supplying Ukraine either directly with military equipment, or indirectly with training.
The United States has given its approval for Ukrainian pilots to be trained in using the F-15 and F-16 fighter jets.
Within the next six months, the Ukrainian air force will be flying Western fighter jets.
The UK has been leading the way in shipping equipment to Ukraine, from anti-air missiles to ammunition, while also supplying intelligence to Kyiv through the use of frequent surveillance aircraft missions.
Germany and the US are both debating whether to send tanks to Ukraine, while a number of Eastern European nations have also provided equipment to their neighbour.
Aan die ander kant, Russia’s list of allies is increasingly shrinking.
Other than the Iranian-supplied Kamikaze drones, it is increasingly relying on out-of-date equipment.
Where once it looked like Ukraine could fall to Russia in days, now much of the country is back under the control of Kyiv.
A series of successful counter-strikes have seen Kharkiv in the northeast largely returned to Ukrainian hands.
Dit “opportunistic” assault began when Russia moved much of its forces towards Kherson in the south, exposing the eastern front.
Now Ukrainian territories proclaimed part of Russia just months ago are being abandoned by Putin’s forces.
Op daardie stadium, Putin claimed that the new territories would remain Russian “vir ewig”.
[object Window], Russian troops were forced to surrender the key city of Kherson following a brutal Ukrainian onslaught.
Ukraine has successfully targeted a number of key pieces of Russian infrastructure, from transport links to military bases.
With the attack on the Kerch bridge In Oktober, Putin’s flagship project linking Russia with the illegally annexed territory of Crimea was in tatters.
The Kerch bridge exploded in a mystery fireball killing three people, in a speculator blow to Putin’s war efforts and a serious lapse in Russian intel.
In April, Russia’s first-class missile cruiser Moskva was taken out by a surprise barrage of Neptune missiles launched from the shore in April killing 40 sailors and wounding 200.
Die skip – which was thought to be untouchable – had played a deadly role in the war by bombarding Ukrainian towns from positions at sea before it was sunk, near Snake Island.
Humiliating footage surfaced appearing to show the 611ft ship Moskva with smoke pouring from it and a rescue tug boat nearby.
The Moskva had taken on legendary status among Ukraine’s defenders after a band of outgunned border guards said “Russian warship, go f*** yourself!” when it ordered them to surrender.
One of the greatest surprises of the war has been Russia’s failure to achieve air superiority over Ukraine.
A mix of untrained pilots, poor communication channel and intel, and deadly Western surface-to-air missile batteries saw Russian plans blown out of the sky on a daily occurrence.
In Maart, pictures showed the burning wrecks of Russian aircraft and the terrified faces out Putin’s pilots as they were detained by soldiers and civilians after ejecting from their planes.
PUTIN UNDER THREAT
With Vlad’s war strategy unravelling, he increasingly faces assault from all sides.
On the one hand are the ordinary Russians who don’t want the war to impact their daily lives, even if they support it in general.
As the Russian economy increasingly takes the brunt of Putin’s war, and the death toll increases, they are likely to become increasingly disillusioned with Vlad’s leadership.
On the other hand are the hardliners who want Putin to go far further, taking the war to Ukraine and NATO and raising the prospect of a nuclear strike.
Many military bloggers have been openly critical of Putin’s invasion strategy and his generals.