Shortly before dawn on Feb. 24, in an address to the nation peppered with falsehoods and grievances, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to invade neighboring Ukraine for the second time. Moments later, Russian missiles began raining down on Ukrainian cities, marking the opening to the largest land war in Europe since World War II.
“I keep thinking of the Balkan wars and how during the Balkan wars we just felt that the fighting was never going to end,” said Jim Townsend, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO. “Until there was a stalemate, they weren’t going to go anywhere when each felt like they had the upper hand, when each felt that they needed to maneuver a little more to get more leverage.”
How would a war of attrition play out? “The honest answer is that it depends,” said Michael Kofman, an expert on the Russian military with the think tank CNA. “I’ve heard folks say it favors Russia because they have more manpower and materiel. I’ve heard people say it favors Ukraine because Ukraine has stronger resolve and Russia doesn’t have the manpower to occupy the country. Those are all factors.”
Read the full story and more from Foreign Policy.