In contemplating the unfolding of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Lawrence Freedman’s substack was invaluable. His latest assessment of Russia’s failures on the battlefield is blunt: “The second phase of the war has been going on for a month now, and the Russians have made few gains… The Russians have amassed all the forces they need for this latest push can muster, with few reserves, and it doesn’t seem to be enough.” This is consistent with other experts’ assessments of the Russian military. Moscow’s offensive ability seems to be dwindling by the day.
Reedman said something else remarkable about Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day speech – that by putting forward such a muted set of war goals, Putin was “offering a definition of victory that might be within reach. As long as Donbass is spared punitive measures, Crimea is defended, and Ukraine gives up the idea of nuclear weapons, Russia will be successful. Putin described an imaginary threat for which he might accept an imaginary solution.”