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Into the Third Year of War in Ukraine
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More than two years have passed since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, in what he called a “special operation.” The Kremlin, misinformed by its generals and spies, thought that taking Kyiv and establishing a friendly government there would be easy to achieve; in reality, it was not. The long trail of military vehicles headed for the capital, attacked and largely dispersed en route, became a symbol of the Red Army’s unpreparedness and inefficiency. The resistance put up by the Ukrainian army, already partly armed by Western allies, was truly heroic and patriotic. Putin had to scale back his war aims, focusing, in late March, mainly on the Donbass and southern regions.

Thanks to military and financial aid from Western countries, mainly the U.S. – despite the latter’s initial reluctance to give powerful, long-range weapons so as not to strike Russian territory – the Ukrainians were able to block Moscow’s blitzkrieg on Kyiv and gradually liberate part of the territory occupied by the aggressor.

The Ukrainian army launched two major counteroffensives in the fall of that year: the first in the Kherson region, the second south of Kharkiv, both from September to November 2022. Both were successful. The victories in the Kherson area to the south, which forced the Russian army to retreat, led to the belief that the Ukrainian advance was almost irresistible and that the liberation of Russian-occupied territories was possible. It was thought that this was a goal that could be achieved quickly, in part thanks to the arrival of new and more powerful weapons provided by the West. “Strikes behind enemy lines using medium-range missiles such as HIMARS, operations by special forces, and raids in the skies over Moscow,” boosted the confidence of Ukrainians who were fighting to liberate their country, as well as that of Western supporters, but at the same time they underestimated the strength and determination of their opponents.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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