Phase 3

February 24, 2023

The winter attrition (October, 2022-present)

Even after ten months into its invasion, the Kremlin had struggled to make much progress towards capturing Ukraine as a whole. As to Russia’s surprise and disappointment, Ukraine showed incredible resistance and resilience towards its invaders, leaving the war in a frustrating stalemate. 

And so, in the winter of 2022, Putin changed tactics, instead opting for the age-old tactic of attrition.  This tactic had an impact much broader than the battlefield, as it also included targeting most of Ukraine’s electrical grids with the intention of eliminating heat for most of the civilian population during a brutally cold winter. This included attacking Ukraine with barrages of cruise missiles along with Iranian-made drones, which hit targets hundred of kilometers away from the active fighting, essentially bringing all Ukrainians into the conflict. 

An Instagram post from Volodymyr Zelensky, who recently met President Biden in Kyiv.

At the same time, Russia, which had drafted 300,000 conscripts, started introducing its new soldiers into the battlefield on the Donbas, which included many frontal attacks on Ukrainian positions with high casualties on both sides.

The following months were incredibly difficult for the Ukrainian population. Without electricity, water and heat became much more burtal during the harsh and cold winter. The message was clear: the Kremlin hoped much of the Ukrainian population would freeze and starve, an outcome that would oblige Zelensky to call it quits. 

Yet as of the present, much of the Ukrainian population has managed to cling on, hoping that Putin may abandon attrition altogether.



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