Russia’s vaunted second offensive is a damp squib

Featured in The Economist

War in Ukraine


Russia has also held back four brigades of naval infantry around Mariupol, in Donetsk province, and seven brigades of vdv airborne forces in Luhansk province, says Jack Watling of the Royal United Services Institute.... “That’s not enough to do some massive offensive that breaks through and starts carving up everything.” Mr Watling says he is optimistic about Ukraine’s prospects. But he points to the risk that Russian assaults, if kept up for long enough, force Ukraine to commit these reserves merely to hold the line, which would result in a protracted conflict—one in which Russia could gradually rebuild and recapitalise its forces by turning to China and fixing its defence industrial base.