What happened to Putin’s army? 19 September 2022 by admin The war in Ukraine is now Putin’s headache. This month, the Ukrainian army liberated 1,200 square miles of captured territory, 30 villages and two major towns. This success prompted Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Lansbergis to declare: “Putin’s genocidal plan to wipe Ukraine off the map is a failure… no more negotiations with the terrorists. Those who doubted Ukraine’s strength should apologize. Ukraine stood up for all of us, even when some didn’t think they could succeed. There are few times in history when an awesome Goliath has been defeated by a David. In February 2022, the Russian population was 140,000,000 people. Their standing army up to 900,000 men. The population of Ukraine was 44,000,000 (reduced from 10,000,000 when the war came) and 250,000 soldiers. Worse, they were armed with old Soviet weaponry and relied on makeshift weapons like Molotov cocktails. There are other statistics, but I’m sure you understand the power disparity between Ukraine and Russia. On February 24, Putin invaded with 250,000 of his best fighters, 3,000 tanks, thousands of other vehicles, a huge modern air force, and rockets galore. The largest nuclear force in the world, 6,000 atomic missiles, is put on alert. Western experts agreed that Russia would take Kyiv in a week and all of Ukraine in a short time. The invincible Russian army is bogged down 50 miles from its starting line and can only bombard Kyiv with rockets and artillery. Within two months, the Russians were fleeing western Ukraine. Why? Russia suffered from failed logistics, troop morale, incompetent leadership and faced a determined Ukrainian people. Therein lies the key to defeat. Instead of limited war, Putin opted for total war – terrorizing civilians with death. Destroy homes, schools, hospitals, infrastructure. He waged a war against people – a big mistake. Early war analysts downplayed the value of the moral effect of success on the battlefield. Centuries ago, a great general, Napoleon Bonaparte, said that “morality (justice) is to the physical what three is to one”. A war analyst cannot just look at tanks, jets and manpower. The desire for freedom is the greatest motivation of Ukrainians. A command society can order its mercenaries to suppress, but it cannot give them the desire to do so effectively. Morale is to the physical as three is to one. I believe the Ukrainians changed that number to six to one. They know they are threatened with extinction and will fight to preserve their freedom. Putin fled Kyiv and said he would attack in Donbass, an area where Russia had supporters. The change of force and the bombardment tactic gave the Russian forces a slow and laborious success. The victories were won by obliterating military and civilian targets. Meanwhile, America has poured $14 billion in military aid into Ukraine. The Russian army depends on the railways for its supplies. With the help of rail transport, the painstaking approach prompted Putin to declare victory in the Donbass in August. But the weapons supplied by America, like the HIMARS artillery that could strike targets 50 miles behind the front lines with incredible accuracy, made the difference. The Ukrainian army has announced a counter-offensive in the south, targeting Crimea. From the northeast, the Russians sent a large number of troops south. Instead, the Ukrainian army struck in the north and devastated the enemy. Ukrainian Lieutenant General Moishuk said: “Russian troops are not fighting back. They run away as fast as they can. What happened to Putin’s army? ••• William J. Fernandez is a retired judge and resident of Kapa’a.