President Vladimir Putin’s decision this week To expand the size of his army Show more evidence of denunciation taking hold in both Russia and Ukraine: the two sides are long into a war that could last another year or more.
Mr Putin, who has believed in his power and silenced dissent, appears to have little incentive to stop the war, which he has now fought for more than six months without announcing a nationwide bill that could have sparked domestic discontent.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who on Friday warned his nation that the coming winter will be “the most difficult in our history,” is backed by a largely united West and defiant people in his insistence that there will be no compromise with the invasion. army.
The conflict has settled into a war of attrition, with little movement along the front line in recent weeks, even as both Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Putin face mounting political pressure to show battlefield results.
Ukraine held off a large-scale counterattack despite claiming for months that one was coming, and Russia avoided sharply escalating its offensive despite warning that it would retaliate against Ukraine. Attacks in Russia-controlled Crimea.
“Expectations that this will be over by Christmas or that this will be over by next spring” are misleading, said Ruslan Pukhov, a defense analyst who runs the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a privately owned think tank in Moscow.
Ukraine, benefiting from the constant influx of Western weapons such as the $3 billion package it President Biden pledged this weekHe has the resources and morale to continue resisting the Russian attack. Russia, fighting war with peacetime vigor without mass call-ups of draft-age men, appears to have the resources to continue waging a brutal war of attrition – but not for a decisive new offensive.
The largely static period on the battlefield coincides with the growing expectation – fueled by Ukraine itself – that Mr. Zelensky’s army will launch some sort of major offensive, to show that it can make good use of weapons provided by the West and to reassure the allies that the economic sacrifices will pay off.
Putin also faces internal pressure from far-right nationalists who want to escalation of aggression in Ukraine, Especially after the recent strikes on the Crimea and the killing Outstanding ultra-nationalist Daria Dugina In a car bomb explosion last weekend. But analysts say the Russian leader, who controls the state media and political system, is in a good position to ignore such calls.
Instead, Putin insists his forces are advancing in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine “step by step”.
However, Russia has failed to capture a single major population center since early July. And for Mr. Putin, who justified the invasion by falsely claiming that Ukraine was committing a “genocide” of Russian spokesmen in Donbass, anything less than complete control of the region would be seen as a major defeat.
Mr. Putin Thursday decree Raising the target number of active-duty Russian military personnel by 137,000 to 1.15 million.
In Russian state media, the message that Russia can only be at the beginning of a long and existential war against the West — which is now being fought by proxy in Ukraine — is increasingly apparent. It’s a shift from messages six months ago, when Ukrainians were portrayed as lacking the will to fight and eagerly awaiting Russian “liberation.”
“We will have fewer Russian tourists in Europe, but the size of the Russian army will increase by 140,000 regular soldiers,” Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of a Russian military magazine, said on a state TV talk show on Thursday. “I expect this is just the beginning.”
Milana Mazeva contributed to the report.
“Amateur organizer. Wannabe beer evangelist. General web fan. Certified internet ninja. Avid reader.”