On February 24, 2022, when the so-called “special military operation” to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine began, Putin hoped to conquer the “brother” country in 10 days, even attacking the capital, Kyiv. He thought Ukrainians would welcome Russian soldiers, who came from the most disparate regions of the old Empire, as liberators. This was a prediction that soon proved to be completely unfounded: the Ukrainians put up heroic resistance to the Russian invaders, even in regions where Russian speakers were in the majority.
A year into the war, the situation appears dramatically stalled, with more than 400,000 soldiers deployed and some 100,000 dead and wounded. Part of the front has moved to the right bank of the Dnipro River, where a decisive battle will probably be fought. Here the two armies daily attack each other, launching missiles, drones and all kinds of artillery to capture small towns – considered strategic – or advance a few kilometers.
As of the summer of 2022, the war situation tilted decisively in Ukraine’s favor, after two counter offensives around Kharkiv in the northeast and Kherson in the south, conducted with a minimum of reverses and a distinct advantage in terms of regaining territories that had been occupied by the Russians in the first phase of the invasion. At the military level, the Ukrainian army and people have put up tenacious resistance to the invader and were able, at various times during the conflict, to repel Russian attacks in much of the country’s territory, thanks in part to weapons sent by the West, particularly the United States. As early as March, it was evident that Putin had failed in his initial war objective of occupying a large part of Ukrainian territory and establishing a Moscow-controlled regime there.