Expert: Stiff Ukrainian resistance does not mean Russia has lost initiative

Igor Kopõtin appearing on
Igor Kopõtin appearing on "Ukraina stuudio". Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Though Ukrainian forces provided heroic resistance and have managed to paralyze the invading Russian forces' rapid penetration of major Ukrainian cities, this should not be taken to mean that the Russian military have lost the initiative, military historian Igor Kopõtin, a , on the events of the fourth day.

Speaking to ETV special broadcast "Ukraina stuudio" Sunday, Kopõtin said the military initiative is still in the hands of the Russians.

The Russian army is still determining the time and place of the fighting, unfortunately, he said.

For Ukraine to move forward, the Russian advance needs to be halted, the situation stabilized and a counterattack has to begin, he added, noting that Ukrainian resistance has proved stiffer than forecast.

"According to their doctrine, the first task was to achieve air power, which they did not succeed in. The next was the deployment of airborne forces and reconnaissance groups, and this did not go well," Kopõtin continued.

"If we look at the big picture, the Ukrainians have been very brave, they have take out equipment, they have caused losses to the enemy," Kopõtin said, citing Ukrainian Defense Ministry figures of Russian military losses of 4,300.

This did not mean the advance of Russian forces would be halted, however, and it is not possible to talk about the formation of fronts at present. Instead, Russian forces have various axes of direction along which they are trying to move forward.

For historical and political reasons, Ukraine has become an obsession with Putin, Kopõtin said, an obsession which he is willing to take any risks in pursuing and one which he will not ever give up on.

In essence, Putin has gone all-in with Ukraine, Kopõtin added, and as yet it is not clear if there is any dividing line, such as that which emerged in the 1961 Cuban missile crisis, beyond which the Russian leader would not step.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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