According to military historian and security analyst Sébastien Roblin, if Vladimir Putin's goal in invading Ukraine was an attempt to intimidate other European countries from joining NATO, it could not have gone worse as he exposed weaknesses his government has been hiding from the world.
Writing for The Week, Roblin explained that the inability of the Russian army to crush Ukraine quickly and decisively exposed an ill-equipped, poorly-trained armed forces unprepared to invade and conquer which has undermined the country's reputation for military might.
As the analyst points out, the secret is out and "the damage is done."
Beginning, "Russia's war in Ukraine is ostensibly all about deterring NATO from its sphere of influence, but the irony is the fight so far has gravely degraded Russia's military position in Europe — and above all its ability to compel with threats of force that fall under the nuclear threshold," he added, "While the Kremlin's increasingly de-platformed media is unsurprisingly weaving a narrative of brilliant success for its domestic audience and fawning overseas admirers, the shortcomings and blunders of its forces are clear to all who can see the imagery pouring out of Ukraine."
Pointing to reports of Russian military fuel and food shortages, botched assaults, battlefield communication failures and "A shocking number of high-ranking generals and colonels killed on the battlefield," Roblin claims the Ukraine invasion has exposed "the soft white underbelly" of Russia's armed forces.
Admitting that a direct war with NATO would have been planned differently, the analyst claimed that, nonetheless, "in terms of conventional deterrence, the damage is done: The limitations of Russia's military, and the deluded judgments informing its employment, have left an indelible impression, making the threat of Russian conventional military power less convincing than before, even while the perceived need to defend against it has increased."
Conceding that Russia likely didn't bring its "A game" to the Ukraine invasion, Roblin also claimed the world's response to the incursion exposed more weaknesses in Russia, including what may prove to be a long occupation that further erodes the armed forces.
"Such an occupation will brutalize both occupier and occupied and incur onerous costs on the Kremlin. Rubles that could have gone to finding ways to defeat NATO stealth fighters and Aegis warships will have to be poured into sustaining tens or even hundreds of thousands of occupation troops and their ambush-protected vehicles as they thanklessly prop whatever hated puppet regime is imposed by Moscow," he explained. "Indeed, had Russia not invaded Ukraine in 2022, Germany would have maintained its anemic military spending and begun piping gas from Nord Stream 2. And the Biden administration would have likely sought to shift more of the U.S. military out of Europe and the Middle East and into the Asia-Pacific."
"Instead, Putin's criminal invasion has made Russia weaker, and encouraged the states it views as threats to grow more united," he concluded.
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