With the war now rapidly approaching four months since its start, Russia has seen mixed results from a so-called “special operation” that was supposed to last days, not months. Yet while the movement appears to be stalling in eastern Ukraine as Russian forces struggle to take full control of the Donbass region, the huge casualties suffered during the war appear to have put Putin on the ropes as the conflict continues.
Now, a former US general has suggested that the fluctuating nature of war is like a boxing match.
Mark Hertling said: “It’s a heavyweight boxing match.
“In two months of fighting, there has not yet been a knockout blow. That will come, as the Russian forces wear out.
The former serviceman said the fighting in the Donbass region was like a “fist-counter-blow” as heavy artillery is exchanged piecemeal between the two sides.
Continuing his assessment, Mr Hertling added: “The Donbass fight has been a fight for more than 2 months, so a wait would be a step forward for one side or the other.
“It didn’t happen.”
With hundreds of soldiers and civilians dying every day, Mr Hertling argued that Ukrainian forces have the “greatest will and morale” to defend their nation against a demoralized Russian army struggling to recover from heavy casualties. since the beginning of the conflict.
Part of the success has come from the steady supply of weapons to Ukraine from Western sources, with Britain’s N-LAW anti-tank missiles being a prime example of why Russia has lost nearly 1,500 tanks.
In addition, Ukraine has benefited from recent heavy artillery supplies from the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, and France.
Added to this is the recent acquisition of twelve MiG-29 fighter planes from Slovakia.
However, despite the continued supply of weapons and the idea that Putin should receive a knockout blow in Mr. Hertling’s boxing analogy, some believe the fight is likely to last much longer than 12 rounds.
Speaking of his concerns, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg believes the war could go on for years.
In an interview with German media Bild, Mr Stoltenberg said: “We have to be prepared for the fact that it could take years.
“We must not relax our support for Ukraine.
“Even if the costs are high, not only for military support but also because of rising energy and food prices.
“But: this is not comparable to the price that Ukrainians have to pay every day with many lives.”
Mr. Stoltenberg also mentioned that while the cost of war was financially demanding, allowing Putin to win would have a much more serious impact.
The NATO chief suggested that the only way to see Ukraine win the war was to continue to support Kyiv in terms of military equipment and financial aid.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested that Ukraine’s victory over Russia will be the biggest victory since World War II.
Mr Johnson said: “We know Putin wouldn’t stop at tearing Ukraine apart.
“Just last week he compared himself to Peter the Great and arrogated to Russia the eternal right to ‘retake’ any territory ever inhabited by ‘Slavs’, a doctrine that would allow the conquest of vast swathes of of Europe, including NATO allies.”
The latest report from the Donbas region shows that Russia is making “marginal gains” around the city of Severodonetsk as heavy shelling continues in the city, focusing in particular on the Azov chemical plant.
For more stories like this, follow Defense & Security Correspondent James Lee on Twitter: @JamesLee_DE
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