The conflict in Ukraine has escalated to a new level, as any seasoned operator can attest. In the lead-up to the Ukrainian military’s highly anticipated counterstrike, a wave of assaults in Moscow and the Belgorod Region along the Ukrainian border signaled the most substantial breaches into Russian territory since the onset of full-scale hostilities. Within Belgorod, combat-ready units seized villages and captured hostages. Meanwhile, in Moscow, UAVs were neutralized near the Kremlin this May. Then, eight more drones impacted residential areas on the city’s periphery. Since then, drone sightings have been reported in both Kursk (just about 24 hours ago) and Voronezh regions. However, contrary to other media’s portrayal, these incursions deep into Russian soil are unlikely to erode support for the ongoing conflict.

According to Jade McGlynn’s new book Russia’s War,” most Russians still support the war. Through the book’s punchy yet well-researched writing style, McGlynn helps readers gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of this war. This book is essential for anyone wishing to understand the past, present, and future difficulties we face in dealing with Russia.

Russia’s War

Russian culture has a long history of valuing strong leaders and a powerful state. This is reflected in the current overwhelming support for President Putin and his government’s actions in Ukraine. Many Russians see Ukraine as an integral part of Russia’s historical and cultural sphere and thus view the conflict as defending their own interests.

Vladimir Putin
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin during the address “On the conduct of a special military operation” (Source: Presidential Executive Office of Russia/Wikimedia Commons)

Additionally, the Kremlin has done an effective job of controlling the media narrative and shaping public opinion. State-owned media outlets have consistently portrayed the conflict as an act of aggression by Ukraine and its Western allies while downplaying Russia’s own involvement. This has created a sense of nationalistic fervor among many Russians, who feel that their country is being unfairly attacked and must be defended at all costs.

It’s also worth noting that Russia’s military-industrial complex benefits greatly from the conflict as the government pours resources into military and defense spending. This creates jobs and stimulates economic growth, which is viewed as a positive by many Russians.

What Can We Expect This Year?

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine stems from a complex mix of historical, political, and cultural factors. The 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and the subsequent support for separatist movements in eastern Ukraine have resulted in a protracted and bloody conflict that has claimed over 13,000 lives thus far. The Minsk agreements brokered in 2014 and 2015, have failed to bring lasting peace to the region, as both sides continue to engage in sporadic hostilities along the contact line.

From a military standpoint, Russia maintains a sizable force near the Ukrainian border, including battle-hardened units with experience in Syria and other conflicts. This force projection serves multiple purposes: deterring further NATO expansion, maintaining pressure on the Ukrainian government, and providing support to pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.