The Long Road

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Just over six months after the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War, Sébastien Roblin at NBC News was thinking that Ukraine’s current counteroffensive to liberate the city of Kherson might prove to be the decisive gambit to bring about the beginning of the end of the carnage.

Ukraine’s recent success against its much larger neighbor comes after the US and other Western countries sent more sophisticated weaponry, especially artillery, to the country, Newsweek reported. Ukrainian officials have also shown pluck. They’ve used decoys to trick Russia into firing expensive missiles at non-targets, the Washington Post wrote.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy even recently put destroyed Russian tanks on display for his nation’s Independence Day in the capital of Kyiv, noted Bloomberg.

But entrenched in eastern Ukraine after gaining ground in the region earlier this summer – see this Reuters infographic for a month-by-month status report of each side’s territorial gains and losses – Russia has not signaled any interest in peace negotiations.

The assassination of Darya Dugina, the 29-year-old daughter of Alexander Dugin, a political thinker and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who has written about why Russia has the right and responsibility to take over Ukraine, as well as news reports of drunk Russian units, have not deterred Putin.

In fact, Russia appears to be girding for a long fight. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov recently said the country’s military plans were proceeding apace, according to Al Jazeera. “All of our goals will be reached,” he said.

As the Associated Press wrote, Putin has ordered his country’s generals to acquire 137,000 more conscripts, starting next year. It’s not clear if that means he will be instituting a broader draft – Russian men already must serve a year in their armed forces – or other means of attracting troops.

Meanwhile, the resolve of the US and others to keep funneling weapons to Ukraine, and Europeans to withstand inflation and soaring energy costs have become other factors in whether one side prevails over the other, as the New York Times wrote.

The numbers tell the story of what will continue to happen until these many forces play out. Ukraine claims to have lost 9,000 military personnel and killed more than 45,000 Russian troops, National Public Radio reported. At least 5,600 civilians have died, an estimate that is likely to be low, according to the United Nations. Thirteen million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes. Half are in Europe, while the rest are somewhere else in Ukraine.

The toll won’t be going down much anytime soon.

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