WASHINGTON, DC, May 18 – There’s been a lot of chatter recently about Vladimir Putin losing his David-and-Goliath war against Ukraine. But Russia inherited its place as a superpower when the Soviet Union collapsed, and it stands to reason that it has the wherewithal to win the war. Yet almost daily news reports from the front lines indicate that Ukraine has held its own and more so since the conflict began on February 24th.
Military and intelligence analyst Sebastian Gorka, who served as President Trump’s strategist, says, “Ukrainian forces can no longer expect such easy targets as they have been encountering.
The appointment [in April] of General Dvornikov as the first overall Russian commander-in-chief of the operation is clearly intended to change Russia’s fortunes.”
Gorka cites an unidentified military expert who advises governments and says that we will probably see “General Dvornikov falling back on a plan that looks a great deal more like classic Soviet offensive doctrine.” He says it will likely include a more disciplined and bloody strategic approach at a time when Ukraine’s resources are running low.
Meanwhile, we keep hearing that Russia is losing the war, that soldiers are going to extremes to go home, that Russia is feeling the pain of the West’s sanctions, and that Vladimir Putin himself is not too sure that he can winwar. The German broadcasting network Deutsche Welle [DW] recently reported that “Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said that Vladimir Putin’s confidence in the war in Ukraine has been shaken.”
DW reports that Kasyanov told them, “Putin seemed ‘a little bit nervous’ during a military parade speech he gave to commemorate Victory Day, the end of World War II on May 9…[that] the reaction of Mr. Putin and his speech was absolutely weak…[it seemed he had] “already started to realize that he’s losing this war.”
Lending credence to that notion are numerous reports of Russian soldiers finding ways to injure themselves so they’ll be able to stop fighting and go home. The Daily Beast website reports that Ukraine has an audio recording of a phone call one soldier placed to his mother, venting his frustrations. The soldier says, “Why would they [the Ukrainians] surrender? We’re on their land. This won’t end anytime soon. What the hell do I need this for? At 20 years old…I’m not at all interested in Ukraine. I need to come back and resign.” The soldier goes on to say that half of his brigade has gotten away. “Some of them vanished without a trace; some were taken prisoner, some are hiding, some are already in Russia,” he says.
In another intercepted phone call between a soldier and his wife, you can hear the wife telling him to find a way out; she says, “fall off a tank,” for example.
In the end, it appears that if Ukraine, the David in this narrative, winds up winning the war, it will have Putin, the Goliath himself, to thank. Whether it will put an end to the war or not is anyone’s guess, but Putin is dealing with physical and mental issues – the kinds of issues that can cause him to make bad decisions that give Ukraine an edge.
Perhaps that is why there’s a serious movement in Russia to get rid of him. In an exclusive interview recently, Ukrainian Major General Kyrylo Budanov said that Putin’s failures thus far in the war and his ailments “will eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation. This process has already been launched, and they are moving into that way.”
Budanov went on to say that “We know everything about our enemy. We know about their plans almost as they’re being made…Europe sees Russia as a big threat. They are afraid of its aggression. We have been fighting Russia for eight years, and we can say that this highly publicized Russian power is a myth. It is not as powerful as this. It is a horde of people with weapons.”