What Alternatives does Ukraine Have to Harm Russia?

As a global power, Russia shows apparent superiority over Ukraine, so what options do the Ukrainians have to harm Russia and even the scales in the war?

Crimean bridge attacked

Photo: EFE

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Qué alternativas tiene Ucrania para hacer daño a Rusia?

It took a lot of work for Russia to fulfill its role as a global power in the war with Ukraine, which resisted the Russian advance and dealt some blows in response to the invasion. However, Ukraine's resistance is found in frontal combat and other strategies that affect Russia's mood. Putin already shows a certain paranoia accusing Ukraine of numerous attacks throughout the war, which he even describes as terrorists. Could Ukraine change the course of the war with this?

Frontal War Gives Russia Advantage

The war in Ukraine reached a fever pitch, with minimal progress on both sides, taking back and losing cities every week with no clear projection of the end of the catastrophe. On the one hand, the Russian army could not show the superiority that, as a global power, is expected of it. On the other hand, Ukraine, which looked weaker on paper, resisted the Russian advance. However, frontal combat leaves Ukraine at a clear disadvantage, whose technological and military capacity depends on international support, while Russia is still far from showing its natural combat capacity. So "guerrilla warfare" seems to be how to wear down the Russians. With Ukraine's limited resources, it might be the best option for managing them.

The guerrillas play a decisive role in the war between Ukraine and Russia; on the one hand, they scour the terrain for the Ukrainian army, and on the other, they deal blows to the morale of the Russians, who are already showing wear and tear. The knowledge of the guerrillas' territory allows them to move stealthily and attack fleetingly, representing a double front for Russia, which will be difficult to control. This has put pressure on Putin, who expected a rapid advance, but the guerrillas think differently; their ability to prolong conflicts and create resistance was demonstrated in Latin America, the Middle East, and Vietnam, with the well-known result for the Americans.

Effectiveness over Quantity

Ukraine received hundreds of missiles of all kinds in the development of the conflict. These have destroyed civil and military infrastructure throughout the country. So, if Ukraine has more limited resources, its blows must be strategic, which makes a difference and does not go unnoticed to generate noise and attrition. Some of them, although not recognized by Ukraine, could be the attack on the Crimean bridge with an explosive truck in October 2022 or the alleged attacks on Russian territory in March and May, the latter with drones that were intended to attack President Putin, at least from the Kremlin's point of view.

There are also car bombs targeting Russian officials in the annexed regions or the murder of Russian blogger Vladlen Tatarsky who was killed in such an attack in Saint Petersburg, one of the leading Russian cities. Ukraine does not accept responsibility for any of the attacks, as it would motivate the Kremlin to change its strategy to a more severe one, in addition to revealing intelligence operations to attack Russian territory, something that would give Putin the perfect reasons to apply all kinds of measures that the Ukrainians would not want to receive. If Russia cannot verify Ukrainian responsibility for the attacks, everything will remain in Kremlin speculation.

Ukrainian president Zelenski commented that his government's strategy is defensive, does not operate in Russia, and that the sabotage and attacks in areas controlled by Russia or Russian territory are alien to the Ukrainian army. For him, the alleged attacks are provoked by Russia to justify Putin's strategy on his country. At the same time, the Russian president affirms that Ukraine orchestrates the attacks with intelligence support from other powers, something that is possible but that is even further from being verified. With the Russian economy on edge due to sanctions, the lengthening of the war, and without significant advances by the Eurasian country, Ukraine has the possibility of coping with the invasion and negotiating the exit of the Russians from its territory without losing its territorial integrity for example, President Lula da Silva proposed.

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The Emotional Factor, more Pressure on Putin

Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine has used its role as an attacked country (I have invaded) as part of its strategy. He played on the emotional factor, not with the international community, but with the Russian people. The historical relationship between the two countries is not limited to the Soviet Union but to their common origin that goes back more than a thousand years. So for many Russians and Ukrainians, it is a fratricidal war; the media echoed this throughout the war, even with Russians fleeing the possibility of being enlisted in this context (although Ukraine also applied severe punishments for objectors). of conscience). Ukraine could worsen the image of Vladimir Putin, who has already been compared to figures like Stalin or Hitler, adding even more pressure on the Russian president.

Finally, this emotional factor also strengthens the position of Ukraine by generating a great sense of national unity, something that Putin did not achieve in his country. On the contrary, little by little, he will find opposition as the sanctions become more evident in the quality of life. Of the population.

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