Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Kyiv Must Seize this Moment. Otherwise, Stalemate Might be Inevitable.

| June 26, 2023

The extraordinary coup attempt by a Russian mercenary leader provides Ukraine with an unexpected opportunity to press whatever advantages it has in its war with Moscow. If it does not seize this chance and break the stasis that governs the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, we will enter a very different chapter in this conflict.

When President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Russian troops captured more than 1,000 square miles of Ukrainian territory per week. This was followed by a second phase of the war, in which Ukraine’s counteroffensive pushed Russian forces back, recovering hundreds of square miles weekly.

But then last November, the war entered a third phase: For the past eight months, though the casualty rate on both sides remains high, neither army has managed to gain 100 square miles of territory in a single week.

By this yardstick — and as we enter the fourth week of Ukraine’s counteroffensive — the inescapable fact is that the prognosis is more of the same. So far, Ukrainian attackers have been able to take back fewer than 50 square miles each week. On both sides of the divide, each dug trenches, planted mines and built defenses making it difficult for the other to mobilize the 3-to-1 advantage offensive forces usually need to force a breakthrough.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Allison, Graham.“Kyiv Must Seize this Moment. Otherwise, Stalemate Might be Inevitable..” The Washington Post, June 26, 2023.