Ukraine has chances of winning war with Russia

In spite of the fact that the dust is beginning to settle in the war following Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed attempt to march on Moscow with his Wagner mercenaries, the details of the arrangement that brought an end to their brief uprising continue to be unclear and unfinished.

In point of fact, it is rather obvious that the person has not been paying attention if they claim they are not confused by the current predicament. However, despite the fact that the immediate effects of the challenge to Moscow’s authority are still being felt, the longer-term repercussions for Russia are already abundantly obvious.

It has become abundantly clear that both President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Russia itself are a great deal more fragile than they would like to pretend they are. The concept that Putin has a firm and uncontested hold on authority throughout his own country was demolished when the sight of Wagner columns apparently being waived through on their approach to Moscow and cheerfully breezing in to occupy a key military installation while holding coffees occurred.

In addition, the fact that a band of armed separatists was able to move freely throughout southern Russia without being confronted brought to light the inability of the Russian state to deal with problems that extend beyond the front line of its conflict with Ukraine.

However, this does not imply that the Ukrainian army could just roll up the highway leading to Moscow without facing any resistance. However, this does demonstrate that the Kremlin and its forces are fractured and confused, and it also suggests that a victory for Ukraine in the war may be easier to achieve than was previously believed before Prigozhin revealed Russia’s fragility.

Importantly, it does not imply that Russia is in imminent danger of disintegrating into smaller parts or “fragmenting.” Even if Prigozhin had chosen to mount a frontal challenge to Putin’s leadership, he would not have been able to do so. In addition, regimes in Russia have a tendency to survive their own obvious dysfunctionality for much longer than is expected.

Instead, the opportunity for Ukraine rests in the impact this development ought to have on the group of Western backers it has been relying on.

One of the most important arguments for pressuring Kyiv into a ceasefire or “negotiated settlement” has been demolished by this proof of the vulnerability of Russia’s opposition.

It was argued that as it was highly impossible that Ukraine could hand Russia a convincing defeat and eject its forces from Ukrainian land that is currently under ruthless military occupation, Kyiv would eventually have to negotiate peace terms, and the sooner it did so, the better it would be for everyone involved.

This is a phrase that is frequently accompanied by absurd justifications for Ukrainian “neutrality,” which ignore both the country’s history and the circumstances of the present day. However, the most significant consequence of enacting any of these proposals would be to grant victory to Russia and to commend Moscow for its aggressive behaviour.

The fact that the Ukrainian counteroffensive seems to be making such modest progress has not been helpful. Senior officials in Kyiv have made it a priority, both before and after the launch of significant operations, to keep people’s expectations realistic. In addition, military analysts have started to get a better idea of the structure of what the Ukraine is doing, and they believe that success shouldn’t merely be assessed by how far the front line moves.

Nevertheless, it is essential for Ukraine to demonstrate progress and the possibility of an end to the war in order to maintain its coalition of support and to head off these continuing calls to accept defeat. This is especially important in light of suggestions that Kyiv only has one opportunity at unambiguous success before being forced into negotiations.

The Prigozhin affair demonstrates that the potential of the Russian opposition crumbling, which is held out by those supporters of Ukraine who are more positive, may be closer than was previously assumed. However, this reality needs to be weighed against the worry that Ukraine’s efforts may have been irreparably undermined as a result of delays in the delivery of war-winning military weapons, especially on the part of the United States and Germany.

These delays are a surprising victory for Russian information tactics, including nuclear fear, which have been successful. However, they also refer to a circular argument made by Western politicians who, for whatever reason, are not completely convinced of the necessity of a triumph for Ukraine.

The idea that Ukraine hasn’t been given enough military aid to defeat Russia. Therefore it cannot achieve victory. Therefore we should plan for a stalemate and negotiations. Therefore there is no point in increasing military aid to Ukraine. Is the thinking behind planning instead for defeat, which risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. The idea is that Ukraine hasn’t been given enough military aid to defeat Russia; therefore, it cannot achieve victory.

The showdown with Wagner reveals that, rather, now is the time to redouble support for Ukraine. This should be done immediately. Now is the time to make up for lost time and take advantage of the clear failure within Moscow to achieve the convincing defeat of Russian aggression that is necessary to remove, at least temporarily, the threat to Europe. This is the moment to make up for lost time and take advantage of the evident faltering within Moscow.

This does not simply mean catering to the urgent and essential requirements of Ukraine, such as providing it with the resources to maintain its denial of Russian air superiority. It also means removing all of the arbitrary restrictions that have been placed on what the Ukraine can accomplish with the weaponry that they have been given. It is time to put an end to the ridiculous restrictions placed on the use of these weapons in Russia out of fear of upsetting Vladimir Putin.

Above all else, the worry that exists in certain Western capitals about a victory for Ukraine and a loss for Russia needs to be dispelled. This week, the Chatham House foreign affairs think tank published a paper on probable outcomes from the war that was written by nine top experts on Russia and Ukraine (including myself).

We have all come to the same conclusion, which is that the only way to make Europe secure from Russia is by urgently expanding support to help Kyiv to win. This was the consensus reached by all of us.

The provision of arms to Ukraine and complete support for Kyiv’s efforts to defeat and expel Russia’s occupying force constitutes an investment in world peace.

That investment should have been made a long time ago, but we missed the finest opportunity. However, the best time available is right now.

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