Ukraine’s Path to Victory

It takes Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba quite a while to get to the actual plan but he does ultimately in this piece at Foreign Affairs. Here it is:

In the east, Ukraine can gain the upper hand with more advanced heavy weapons, allowing us to gradually stall Moscow’s crumbling invasion in the Donbas. (The Kremlin’s gains in this region may make headlines, but it is important to remember that they are limited and have resulted in extremely high Russian casualties.) The pivotal moment will come when our armed forces use Western-provided multiple launch rocket systems to destroy Russia’s artillery, turning the tide in Ukraine’s favor along the entire frontline. Afterward, our troops will aim to take back pieces of land, forcing Russians to retreat here and there.

On the battlefront in the south, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are already carrying out counterattacks, and we will use advanced weapons to further cut through enemy defenses. We will aim to put the Russians on the edge of needing to abandon Kherson—a city that is key to the strategic stability of Ukraine. If we advance in both the south and the east, we can force Putin to choose between abandoning southern cities, including Kherson and Melitopol, in order to cling onto the Donbas, and abandoning newly occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk so he can hold the south.

That’s pretty much it. They think that will bring Putin to the bargaining table. Much of the piece is devoted to encouraging the U. S. and other G7 supporters not to lose heart. The ratio of propaganda to intelligence in the reporting on Ukraine is so enormous I have no way of assessing the likelihood of success of the plan.

4 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    What’s to bargain over? Ukraine is a sovereign country that Russia has invaded. Ukraine has to give up a chunk of its own country to get Russia to stop? Not much of a deal. On the other side Russia cant concede anything that looks like less than a total win. They need to end up with a big chunk of Eastern Ukraine, at least.


  • Mr. Kuleba apparently thinks there are things about which to negotiate:

    When we reach this moment, Putin will likely become more serious about cease-fire negotiations. Our goal will still be to get Russian forces out of Ukraine, and keeping up the pressure may push Putin to accept a negotiated solution that entails Russian troops withdrawing from all occupied territories.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    How is Putins health anyway?
    Is that only part of the propaganda?
    Autocrats can get reckless if they feel time is short.

  • bob sykes Link

    The plan has zero probability of success. Ukraine is losing about one battalion a day, dead plus wounded, and it continuously losing territory.

    Russia is consolidating its hold on the captured territories and incorporating them into Russia. People in the captured oblasts are being offered Russian passports, and many are accepting them. At some point there will be a number of referenda confirming the annexations.

    How much of Ukraine will be incorporated by Russia is uncertain, but at least the arc from Kharkov to Odessa. There are enough ethnic Russians in those oblast to make the annexations work. Note that in the runoff elections in 2010 Viktor Yanukovych beat Iulia Timoshenko in all the oblasts east of the Dnieper and the Crimea by margins of 60 to 90%. Timoshenko won all the oblast west of the Dnieper by similar margins.

    The Dnieper is also an historical border, and a cultural (Catholic/Orthodox) border. And Kiev is the home of the founding Rus population.

    So the River looks like a natural future border.

    Also bear in mind that Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania all have territorial claims in wester Ukraine dating from the border adjustments imposed by Stalin. It is possible Ukraine will simply disappear.

    Finally, the regime in Kiev is a full blown fascist (nazi) police state. All opposition parties have been suppressed, their leaders arrested and imprisoned, their publications, TV, radio and internet organs shut down. The Russian language is banned even in private. All Russian cultural items like books and music are banned, and books are being burned. Iulia Timoshenko, widely admired in the West, has called for the actual extermination of all ethnic Russian living in Ukraine, and the confiscation of their property.

    If you are dubious about the power of the Nazis in Ukraine, a week or so ago Moon of Alabama published links to a very large number of reports in the NYT that detailed and condemned the extent of Nazi political parties and heavily armed Nazi militias.

    It would benefit everyone, especially the American people, if a negotiated settlement could be reached soon. But instead of negotiation, the US pushes escalation, like the expansion of Lithuania’s railroad blockade to a highway blockade. At least in Europe, Russia has escalation dominance, and can match and exceed anything the US/NATO does.

    All the talk about America’s midterm elections or inflation or trade with China will look really silly if the Ukrainian war gets out of hand. And that is exactly what Kuleba is proposing.

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