If Putin wanted to take Ukraine, it’s my professional opinion as a former SEAL, they could, and easily. Allow me to put it simply on the whiteboard for you.
“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” -Hemingway
Putin has the capability, put in simple terms below, to completely annihilate Ukraine if that’s what he really wanted. We’ll get to that in a minute. This is how Putin should have done it if his objective was to take Ukraine outright.
Identify key strategic infrastructures like communications, power, command and control leadership, and then destroy them completely. Then take out the Ukrainian President and his advisors with strategic airstrikes, or send in Special Ops teams to decapitate the government.
It’s one of the reasons we, snipers, look for who’s in charge, then take them out first, then the radio guy is next. Total chaos ensues while you pick the rest off.
Bomb the bridges, railroad tracks major roads, and airports to prevent Ukraine from moving reinforcements to the front quickly.
Isolate the battlefield by jamming their communications and hitting their supply lines constantly in the rear constantly.
Defense think tanks like RAND have done various war game scenarios over the past few years, and Russia wins in an invasion of Western Europe. NATO and the rest of Europe just can’t mobilize fast enough.
Why might Putin be engaging in this seemingly half-hearted invasion? Well, it could be that he wants big chips on the poker table to bully his way in negotiating for increased assurances that America, the EU, and the UK aren’t pushing up against the motherland. NATO off the table for Ukraine? Annex some Ukrainian territories that are loyal to Russia like Crimea was? There’s something here for sure.
First, very few nations throughout history win when you have the following recipe: The negative sentiment at home, nonmotivated troops doing the invading, and a native population moved to defend their homeland. Think about that and let it sink in. Afghanistan (America and the USSR) and our own Vietnam War are two examples.
Putin has all this against him, and the former KGB operative likely knows this and is looking for increased bargaining power even as he is probably looking for a way out.
So I think Ukraine will come out of this still mostly intact as a country, but the unfortunate consequence is those good Ukrainian people, and Russian conscripts in the thousands will pay in blood for Putin’s staged saber-rattling, many with their lives, until Putin decides the time is right to take another bite out of the apple.
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