Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Donate
Topics

Yale historian Snyder: Ukraine most likely will win the war

“The Ukrainians have to demonstrate resolution of every kind. All [Americans] have to do to see things as they are, show some patience, and support the democracy that is under attack — with the right attitude, and the right weapons.”

A rescuer walks among debris at a site of a residential area destroyed by a Russian military strike in the town of Toretsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine.
A rescuer walks among debris at a site of a residential area destroyed by a Russian military strike in the town of Toretsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine.
Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

I’ve long been an admirer of Yale historian Timothy Snyder (since I read his short book titled “On Tyranny,” which I still highly recommend). His latest short essay, an overview of the current status and possible future of the Russian war on Ukraine, made me admire him all the more and help me continue to hope/believe that Ukraine might survive Vladimir Putin’s despicable unprovoked attack. 

I’ll only pass along a few excerpts, but feel free to skip the rest of this post and go straight to the full piece from this link right here

If you’re still here, the upshot of his analysis is that Ukraine is winning, sort of, which, in my view, would be a minor miracle given the relative sizes of Russia and Ukraine, but which I very much hope is correct. The boldface in the excerpt below is from me, indicating key points.

“Russia tried these last two months to encircle a section of the Ukrainian army in Donbas, and largely failed. It did take some territory in the region (Luhansk and Donbas oblasts), but not much. Luhansk oblast is now totally or almost totally under Russian control, but about half of Donetsk oblast is not. Most of the territory that Russia has occupied during this war was won in the first four weeks — indeed, if you start the clock from the end of March, Ukraine has taken back more territory than it has lost (most of it north of Kyiv, but some around Kharkiv and Kherson, plus Snake Island) …”

Article continues after advertisement

“The Russian plan at this point seems to be to destroy the Ukrainian economy, to terrorize civilians with missile attacks on cities, to cut energy supplies to Europeans, and to starve Africans and Asians by blockading food exports, and hope that somehow all of the suffering lines up in Russia’s favor. In other words, much of the Russian strategy for the war in Ukraine is to mount a one-country blockade of the world.

“The Ukrainian plan, as far as I can surmise, seems to be to protect the physical and social existence of Ukraine, an effort that has been successful, and to counter-attack in order to win back the fertile land and strategic territory of the south (Kherson oblast), which would also break Russian supply lines and any residual image of Russian invincibility in the Russian mind.

“I think that strategy matters less than the other factors, and less than people generally think, but that more coherent goals provide a certain advantage. At this point, Ukraine’s goals are more coherent…”

“…The war has shown that the Ukrainian state (or really Ukrainian civil society) is far more resilient and functional than almost anyone would have thought. Ukraine is, in my view at least, in a position to win this war.”

And, finally:

“Our job [meaning the job of America and its allies] is incomparably easier than the Ukrainians’. The Ukrainians have to demonstrate resolution of every kind. All we have to do to see things as they are, show some patience, and support the democracy that is under attack — with the right attitude, and the right weapons. The outcome of the war might well depend upon our capacity to do that. I hope this post has helped.”

Here’s another link that will get you the full piece.