Russia had expected to be victorious long before now. Its initial plan envisaged ground assaults across Ukraine in the first ten days and a rapid capitulation thereafter. But Kyiv did not fall – and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, refused to leave the capital, saying, “I need ammunition, not a ride,” as he rallied Ukrainians. Russian troops had withdrawn from northern Ukraine by April.

Moscow pursued a more limited operation in the second phase over the spring and early summer, expanding its occupation of part of southern Ukraine and seizing all of the Luhansk region and parts of neighbouring Donetsk in the east.

But the third phase from August through November has involved a Ukrainian fightback in the north-east and south, regaining most of the territory gained by the Russian military in the first few months.

A Putin victory is now hard to envisage. His “annexation” of four Ukrainian regions is in tatters. Now the question is how far and how fast Ukraine can regain the territory occupied in 2022, and put pressure on areas held by Russian proxies since 2014.