After 100 days of war in Ukraine has defied any prediction, says expert – World News
Professor Rory Cormac, Associate Lecturer in Intelligence and Security at the University of Warwick, gives us his perspective on the first 100 days after Russia invaded Ukraine
Image: SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
At first they said it just wasn’t going to happen. Then they said it would be over in a week.
Now, a little over 100 days later, with Russia ravaging cities in the Donbass, holding much territory and seizing strategic ports, it is clear that this war will not be over any time soon.
Understanding a senseless war is never easy, especially when it’s taking place amid contrasting narratives swirling around social media.
But one thing is for sure – the brave Ukrainian resistance has exceeded all expectations. This is a true David and Goliath story.
From the very first days of the war, Washington pundits debated what would happen after the fall of Kiev.
Could the US be secretly funneling weapons to an underground resistance? Will there be a sequel to the famous film Charlie Wilson’s War – where the US armed Afghan fighters against the Soviet Union?
Even after 100 days, these questions seem like they are from another life.
Press Service of the President of Ukraine)
In early March, most analysts were shocked by the sloppiness of Russia’s war machine and Ukraine’s impressive resilience.
The huge Russian convoy that was stuck in the mud outside Kyiv for weeks became an early symbol of Moscow’s mistakes.
Surprise soon turned to optimism that Ukraine would win against all odds and push Russia out of the country. Optimism then turned to concern: would a string of defeats humiliate Putin and push him into a nuclear-armed corner?
Up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers die every day. Nobody can predict exactly what will happen next.
This is all the more true as reports suggest that Putin may be ill, perhaps seriously.
His fleeting appearances of late have certainly undermined the shirtless, macho image he’s cultivated over the years.
His health and resulting role in the Kremlin’s decision-making machinery make the next 100 days even more unpredictable. Whatever happens, it is highly unlikely that the US and the West will be dragged into open conflict with Russia.
AFP via Getty Images)
Support for Ukraine has limits, and the stubborn security case for intervention is only so strong. However, the Americans have admitted to targeting Russia with cyberattacks.
We do not know what these entail, nor how effective they were, but US intelligence clearly does not expect them to provoke Russia to escalate. Let’s hope they are correct.
There’s a lot going on beneath the surface. Amid ongoing and bloody fighting, the next 100 days will see more intelligence operations, more cyberattacks, and more sabotage from both sides.
And not only in Ukraine. Russia is still trying to undermine and destabilize other countries, especially in the Balkans.
While his army is fighting, Putin will not be quick to launch a land invasion elsewhere. He doesn’t have the firepower – or men with the willpower – for more wars in Europe.
Covert operations performed by hidden hands show the way forward.
Putin is the loser here. Gone are the Russian leader’s blue-eyed delusions as some kind of dark omnipotent genius playing 4D chess across Europe. Even Putin’s famous propagandists seem blunt and unimaginative.
In contrast, Ukraine’s intelligence operations were very successful, particularly the legendary – yet mythical – fighter pilot known as the Ghost of Kyiv, who boosted morale early in the war.
President Zelensky, too, has risen to the challenge of being a wartime leader and winning over much of the world to his cause.
AFP via Getty Images)
Closer to home, Western governments made the unprecedented decision to declassify and release intelligence information on an almost daily basis.
They exposed Russian lies, coup plots and war crimes.
It was a risky move, but it seems to have paid off. We can expect a lot more.
Meanwhile, the invasion continues to affect us all. The dramatic fall in wheat exports and sunflower oil is driving up prices, with food security implications far beyond the Black Sea.
Likewise, Putin’s war will have similar effects on energy supplies. Amid a livelihood crisis, Russian propagandists are promoting lines linking Western support for Ukraine to rising prices. They will try to take advantage of our divisions and difficulties to put pressure on our leaders to relax.
The first 100 days taught us not to derive too much from individual fights and reminded us of the importance of the broader fight over narratives.
Rory Cormac is a professor of international relations and the author of How To Stage A Coup and Ten Other Lessons From the World of Secret Statecraft, now out with Atlantic.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/after-100-days-war-ukraine-27148431 After 100 days of war in Ukraine has defied any prediction, says expert - World News