Can Ukraine keep winning?

THE NEW YORK TIMES:

Can Ukraine keep winning?

Ukraine has defeated Russia in the first phase of their war, and a second phase has begun.

Having failed to topple Ukraine’s government, Russia has narrowed its ambitions and is concentrating on the eastern part of Ukraine known as the Donbas region. Vladimir Putin’s new goal appears to be severing Donbas from the rest of Ukraine and creating puppet republics there.
The New York Times

This new phase brings some big advantages that Russia did not have when it was attempting to conquer all of Ukraine. But Putin and his military also face some of the same challenges — including low morale — as before. The outcome remains highly uncertain.

(Here’s a Times overview of the coming battle.)

Today’s newsletter explains the battle for Donbas, with help from Times reporters around the world. We will start by looking at Russia’s new advantages and then consider Ukraine’s continuing advantages.
Russia’s edge …

When I was talking with Eric Schmitt — a Times senior writer who has been covering military issues for most of the past three decades — he offered a useful analogy for thinking about the war’s new phase.

Until now, much of the fighting has occurred in parts of Ukraine that roughly resemble an American suburb, Eric explained. There are houses, office buildings and side streets where Ukrainian forces can hide and then attack Russian soldiers. This physical geography leaves civilians vulnerable — but benefits troops that are using guerrilla warfare to defend territory against an advancing army.

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