Retired army general assesses Russia’s military strategy

Image of Vladimir Putin. Credit: Harold Escalona/shutterstock.com

Four months after Russia initially invaded Ukraine, as authorised by the president of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, retired Australian army general Mick Ryan assesses Russia’s military strategy. 

Ryan tweeted that the purpose of his assessment is to “provide insights into how Putin has evolved his ‘theory of victory’ in #Ukraine.” He suggests that Putin is in search of “the absolute subjugation of the Ukrainian people, and the extinguishment of their sovereignty.” 

Putin himself has stated that he is “leading a war of imperial conquest”, rather than defending Russia “against NATO aggression.” The Russian president has shown willing to continue this conflict down to “the last Ukrainian left standing”

Ryan points out the ways in which Putin’s original plan of invasion and conquest has evolved since 24 February 2022. What was supposed to be the removal of a democratically elected government in Ukraine, replaced by Quislings under the orders of Putin and Russian oligarchs has turned into an ongoing war in which Russia have had to change their military strategy. 

This change in operation has involved a re-shifting of priorities to place the main focus on military operations rather than concurrent, multi-front offensives”. By focussing instead on eastern offensive and southern defensive campaigns, Russians have been able to husband military forces from the original invasion.” From this economic move, Russia has forced the Ukrainians into a war of attrition which they were able to avoid during the battles of Kyiv and Kharkiv. Essentially, this strategy involves destroying “the Ukrainian Army faster than it can be rebuilt”

Russia’s strategy is then to deprive Ukraine economically by holding its military forces in the South in which time and longevity have become part of Putin’s ‘theory of victory’. Putin is also assuming, due to inflation and general weariness,  others countries’ support for Ukraine will dwindle, whilst Russia continues to use “energy exports to generate revenue to support it’s war in Ukraine” as, from an economic perspective, Russia is one of the world’s super powers. 

Putin’s strategy has certainly had success in varying capacity throughout the war in Ukraine so far, however, “many nations, and NATO, have made political and strategic commitment to support Ukraine ‘to the end'”.  Ryan believes Ukraine may be able to win the war, despite Russia’s brutal attack and economic use of resources, “but it requires patience and ongoing commitment of military, intelligence, economic and humanitarian aid to #Ukraine.


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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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