The war between Ukraine and Russia has raged for a year, with both sides gaining and losing ground while casualties mount and no clear prospects for peace seem to emerge.
On the anniversary of this invasion, there are still many questions to be asked, and Augusta University Professor Craig Albert, PhD, is ready to provide answers about what's happening and what we can expect next.
How surprising is it that the Ukraine-Russian war is still ongoing?
“I think for Russia, it’s a huge surprise, and I think maybe for the rest of the world, it’s a bit of a surprise as well. What people often forget is that Ukraine has been fighting and training for 10 years. So Moscow was going on the understanding that the way and the ease in which they went into those parts of Ukraine in 2014, that they would have the same amount of ease this time. They didn’t calculate properly or they misperceived that Ukraine soldiers have been fighting them and rotating in and out of the east for 10 years and had much more experience and were prepared for this.”
How does the anniversary play a role in the war?
“Everyone knew Putin was going to increase the attacks leading up to the year anniversary. Both sides have been expecting a new counter offensive against each other coming for the spring. What we should note from this is that a couple of times over the past couple of weeks, the Russian death toll has been over 1,000 per day. Think of that as the United States lost something like 5,000 in Iraq, the entire 17-18 years the US was there. So that’s something we need to take into account. They are increasing their attacks but they’re meeting massive resistance and some are calling it a meat grinder, where the Russian side is just throwing troops into it and they are just being mowed down.”
While Ukraine has been preparing for some time, was their resolve still unexpected?
“I think their resolve is based upon the fact they’re getting so many munitions from the west. I think their resolve and morality would be much worse if they weren’t getting the type of equipment, the type of war material that the west is providing them. If it wasn’t for the west helping them, I think we’d be talking a much different scenario. If Russia is successful in the war and how they define success, and they occupy all of Ukraine, then that’s a likely scenario. If Ukraine continues a war of attrition with Moscow, the war of numbers suggest that Moscow is going to win. You’re looking at Russia ultimately winning just because of the law of numbers."
What do you make of President Biden’s visit to Ukraine?
“It’s a huge symbolic victory. I did not expect President Biden to visit Ukraine at all. I thought that was gutsy. I think both sides of the aisle thought that was pretty gutsy. That’s a pretty scary situation and presidents generally don’t visit a war-torn country, even when the United States is at war. I think it was a show of strength, a show of unity, maybe even a show of what’s to come with EU ascension or NATO ascension for President Biden to be on the ground in Kiev.”
How long do you see this continuing?
“It depends on how far Russia is willing to go. Russia isn’t fighting the war if it fought the United States. Russia has the capability to completely bombard and send in massive numbers of untrained soldiers by the hundreds and thousands and just overwhelm Ukraine. I think why they’re not doing that is that they still want to control and have a friendly Ukrainian population once they completely have all the territory of Ukraine. I think that’s Putin’s goal and that’s why he hasn’t done that so far. I think we’re looking at least another year. These types of huge wars, and this is a major, major war, it has the propensity to pull in outside parties. And when you’re talking about NATO being right there, we could be talking about something much bigger if this war doesn’t cease soon.”
Albert can explain what could happen next in Ukraine, as there are several possible scenarios and outcomes in the long and short term of this war. And if you’re a journalist looking to know more about what lies ahead as the war between Ukraine and Russia continues and how it may impact the United States, then let us help with your questions and coverage.
Albert is director of the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies at Augusta University. He is a leading expert on war, terrorism and American politics. This is an important national and international issue. Albert is available to speak with media – simply click on his name to arrange an interview today.
Craig Albert, PhD Professor of Political Science and Graduate Director of the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies
Dr. Craig Albert focuses on national security, cyberconflict, ethnic conflict, and political thought.