March 27, 2022

Ukraine can defeat Russia — but the West must help

Originally published in The Hill

Ukraine can win this war against Russia. Ukrainian forces may be able to drive Russian troops back from Ukraine’s cities toward the Russian borders. They may be able to establish ground and air defenses strong enough to preclude renewed Russian attacks for a long time. They may be able to show the Russian military, if not Russian President Vladimir Putin, that Russia’s military conquest of Ukraine is off the table.

There can be no better outcome of this war for the U.S., NATO and free peoples everywhere than such a Ukrainian victory. But the West must do what’s needed, short of intervening in the fight directly, to help Ukraine win.

The idea that Ukraine’s military might defeat Russia’s invasion would have seemed preposterous to Western analysts only two weeks ago. And it might still be wrong: The Russian military is theoretically large enough to make good its losses and wear down the Ukrainians. Putin might be able to destroy Ukrainian cities with conventional weapons; he might use weapons of mass destruction to break Ukraine’s will to fight. But the Ukrainians have fought so well that those have become the most plausible ways Putin could achieve his aims by force in coming months, if the West continues to give Ukraine the money, materiel and support it needs.

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