Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

The Ukraine War and Materiel

by Peter Zeihan on May 16, 2022

The Ukrainian military has been punching well above their weight, something I touched upon in an earlier video. The assessment of the Ukrainians and their success comes partly from Russia’s inability to achieve key objectives, such as seizing Kyiv or achieving air superiority over Ukraine. It also comes from tracking the sheer number of tanks and armored vehicles that the Russians have lost–often several of each for every single Ukrainian example that is lost.

While this ratio may seem impressive–and it absolutely is–there is a key piece of context that is lost. The Russians have so, so, so many tanks and armored vehicles to continue to toss at Ukraine, whereas Kyiv is reliant on the goodwill of the United States and its European partners to keep them afloat.

Wars of atrition might not be new to the Russians, but that doesn’t mean it’s a comfortable place for Moscow to fight from. Russia has to remain very sensitive to the number of soldiers it is losing in the war. Beyond the staggering number of Russian military commanders the Ukrainians have been able to eliminate, Russian conscripts are also falling at an alarming rate. Moscow has to balance against public sentiment shifting quickly against the Ukraine war, but also minding the reality that it only has a finite number of young men at any time to operate its tanks and armored vehicles. The Ukraine War is going to be a drawn out endurance game, between the Ukrainian military and its vital foreign suppliers, and a Russian military sitting atop vast (albeit aging) stores of materiel.


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