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‘No Dumb Questions’: Why has the war in Ukraine lasted so long?

From Moscow to Washington, many believed Vladimir Putin’s war would be over in nine days. More than nine months later, it shows no signs of ending.

It was an early assumption about Russia’s war on Ukraine — in the days just prior to the invasion and then its immediate aftermath: This would be a short war. One of the world’s largest armies was moving on a European nation that lacked the overt backing of NATO and had nowhere near the armed forces or weaponry of the aggressor. The Russian case for war suggested another advantage: The Kremlin argued that Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine wanted the soldiers to come and would welcome the invaders and help in their cause.

That didn’t happen. And today, more than nine months later, the war still rages.

The Transcript

When Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, you know, a lot of the Ukrainian resistance just kind of collapsed. And it’s been in a kind of low grade state of conflict between 2014 and this year. And I think in that time, Ukrainians acquired a lot of combat experience, acquired a lot of assistance, both in terms of training and weaponry from the West. And they were preparing for this. You know, that was something a lot of analysts missed in these predictions of a of a sort of quick Russian victory early on.

While Ukraine has clearly had the upper hand over the last few months, I don’t think people should be under any illusions that that means that this war will end soon. You know, barring some kind of dramatic, complete military collapse or a sort of political change back in Moscow.

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