Despite its lack of membership in the NATO, Ukraine has been able to resist Russian attacks on its borders. The conflict has been a bloody one, with fourteen thousand people killed in the Donbas region between 2014 and 2021.
Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, was a staunch proponent of NATO integration. However, the Kremlin-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovych, was driven out of power in 2014, after mass demonstrations over the Maidan Square protests.
In an effort to reduce the risk of war, the United States has increased its military presence in NATO countries bordering Russia. The Pentagon has ordered an armored brigade combat team to Germany to reassure skittish NATO allies in Eastern Europe.
Russia, meanwhile, has amassed tens of thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine. Putin has ordered a major mobilization of the Russian military, with the aim of gaining a foothold in the former Soviet republics. Russia has been deploying a large arsenal of missiles and rockets along the Ukrainian border.
A hybrid approach is being employed by Russia, combining regular Russian troops and irregular fighters. Ukraine’s armed forces have been able to retake large areas of territory. These include the Kharkiv and Kherson regions.
The Russian army has also been sending tens of thousands of troops to neighboring Belarus. These include troops, armored vehicles, and over 3000 aircraft. Russia’s ground attack tactics rely on visual identification and unguided munitions.
Analysts say Ukraine’s performance against a numerically superior enemy was fueled by national solidarity and good preparation.