Russian President Vladimir Putin told a gathering in Vladivostok last week that his country had “not lost anything and will not lose anything.” He may be less certain of decisive victory today.
An offensive by Ukraine’s armed forces has made spectacular progress, retaking more than 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles) of lost territory, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and reversing gains that took Russia months to achieve. Whatever happens next, there’s no question that the charge has been a major strategic and operational defeat for the Kremlin. Allied nations must help Ukraine make the most of it.
Much is still changing on the ground. But Ukraine’s victories in the northeast have stretched the Russian army thin and forced it back from key command points and supply depots, including the crucial logistics hub of Izyum. More troops will need to be pulled from other regions to replace exhausted local forces, leaving vulnerable spots that Ukraine is likely to exploit. The scale of the losses has prompted unusual dissent even among prominent pro-Kremlin voices. And then there’s the scramble to replace the huge amounts of weapons and equipment the retreating forces have left behind.