Putin still believes he can outlast Ukraine and NATO


Russian President Vladimir Putin still believes his country has the resources and personnel necessary to wait out both Ukraine and the Western support it has enjoyed over the course of the war, according to a senior NATO official.

Russia’s troops initially sought to conquer Kyiv and were expected to do so in a matter of weeks, but they have adjusted their targets in the short term to focus on conquering land in the eastern part of Ukraine, where the fighting has been primarily for much of the conflict. The conflict has dragged on for two and a half years, and it could go on for several more years to ensure Russia doesn’t succeed.

“I think something that we all understand very well, and as we’ve said for quite some time, that this is not a conflict likely to be over anytime soon, that this is something that’s going to take years of dedicated effort to ensure that Russia does not prevail here,” a senior NATO official told reporters.


Russia, for its part, has relied on authoritarian allies such as China, North Korea, and Iran to help its war efforts.

North Korea and Iran have directly provided Russia with lethal aid, which it has proceeded to use in Ukraine, whereas Beijing has provided more indirect support. North Korea has provided Russia with artillery munitions and ballistic missiles, while Iran has provided them with hundreds of attack drones.

“Right now, we still don’t see China providing directly providing lethal arms to Russia, but we continue to see China providing critical enabling pieces that are important, not just for drones, for missiles, but also critical pieces for Russia’s defense industry impacts not just the current conflict, but then has a longer-term impact on Russia’s timeline for recapitalizing military factors,” the official said.

That support could help Russia sustain its war-time economy for the “next three to four years,” the official added, though noting there will be “significant” impacts on the economy in the longer term.

Russia is also recruiting about 30,000 recruits a month, allowing Russian military leaders to absorb high numbers of casualties.

Their ability to support Putin’s military objectives in Ukraine will test the NATO alliance, which has remained firm in its support for Ukraine.

It’s not all “rosy” for Russian forces, however, the official added, noting they still lack the munitions needed to launch a successful major offensive.


Ukraine is in desperate need of continued allied military support, especially air defense systems, as Russia has continuously targeted the country’s infrastructure with rockets and missiles. The official warned that Russia could carry out additional devastating attacks to juxtapose itself with the NATO summit taking place in Washington, D.C., this week after Monday’s overwhelming attack that left dozens dead in several Ukrainian cities.

The NATO official also noted that Ukraine is unlikely to launch a successful counteroffensive that would result in it taking back a substantial amount of territory in the near future.

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