Before Putin declared a military operation in Ukraine, everyone knew that if Russia attacked Ukraine, then everything was over and it will be easy for Russia to take the capital city of Kyiv but I don’t know why Putin and his military planners made mistakes come with high cost. Or maybe those mistakes were committed by field generals.
Fighting a war where you want to be accepted as a savior is different from that war where are you defending yourself, any military planner should know that if you wish to take over a country without much blood shade, information is key because if you lose the narrative control on why your military is in a foreign land then that’s the beginning of catastrophe or tragedy that your soldiers will face since the environment is hostile towards them.
Western countries led by the US have come to realize this as one of the most important steps towards winning a war in foreign countries and they have been using it since the 1991 gulf war.
The worst thing a general could encounter during an operation is a hostile population since they are critical not only for intelligence gathering but also should make sure they aren’t hiding any enemy to ambush your soldiers because if they do that then the casualties will be high, your soldiers will lack supplies and your troops will be facing more enemies than you expected.
To wage a war outside your country, you need effective control over information flow which means you have to be able to control media and I think Putin understands this since he has been investing a lot in state media to make them have a global reach but the problem is that their global influence and reach relays on tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter which are all controlled by the US or on host country media of which most of those countries are US friends and allies.
Before countries go to war in the 21st century, they have to first fight information war because it is critical as it has the power to determine the outcome of the war before you even fight and this is where Putin did underestimate the capabilities employed by Ukraine under the leadership and guidance of US and UK which have been fighting wars for decades.
Those two countries know what information can cause emotions among civilians irrespective of their background and they know which information can rally the population or turn a friendly population into a hostile one as we have seen in Ukraine where people stand in front of a moving tank.
That was Putin’s first mistake of underestimating Ukraine’s and allies’ ability to control the war narrative and turn a population that was friendly to Russia into a hostile one.
The second mistake Putin did was to show his unwillingness to cause large-scale destruction in Ukraine which is not wrong because it doesn’t help Putin to have a neighboring country that looks like Libya, Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan.
The US and UK knew that Putin didn’t want to destroy Ukraine so they used this to their advantage by instead of supplying Ukraine with weapons like fighter jets which can be destroyed easily on the grand, they supplied Ukraine with weapons like anti-tank missiles and other small portable air defense systems since they understand what it takes to control the situation on the ground.
The US and UK knew that Russia can’t remove the government in Kyiv without troops on the ground and those troops are usually accompanied by tanks, transport vehicles, and supply support vehicles so they made sure Ukraine gets hundreds of thousands of weapons that can destroy them like anti-tank missiles and other small portable air defense systems and it has worked because, in some videos seen on social media, you could see many destroyed Russia’s military vehicles.
The third mistake Putin did was to assume that because in 2014 the people of Crimea didn’t put any resistance, the people of Ukraine will do the same including their soldiers. I think this is a mistake that has cost Russia’s military very much because for sure you could see in videos posted on social media that the Russian military expected to be welcomed as heroes without resistance but to their shock, the population was not only hostile but they had been prepared to fight them once they enter into cities in Ukraine.
The way Russia’s vehicles drove through the streets of the cities they entered, you could see that they never expected any resistance but to be welcomed and so they were caught by surprise hence this mistake has imposed a high cost on Russia’s military in Ukraine.
The fourth mistake Putin might have made is underestimating Ukrainian soldier’s ability to fight. I don’t think Putin ever expected the fighting to take place once Russia’s troops were in Ukraine but the level of resistance was I think not expected.
The whole world had been watching including Putin himself how NATO specialists led by the US, UK, and Canada had spent more than 5 years training Ukraine’s army and equipping them with the very best weapons and if you add the information war warfare waged against Russia’s military, then even those Ukraine soldiers who had been worried about Russia’s military started gaining some hope of winning and defending the country.
I think if anybody tells you that you are not scared to face Russia’s military, then that person may not know what he is talking about because Russia’s military is most of the most feared military on earth. They are well equipped, patriotic, and well trained that few people can attempt to go against them in the world but even the strongest army can be wiped out due to minor mistakes by their leaders.
The fifth mistake Putin did was that he never expected Ukraine to get much support from Western countries and I think it looked like that at the beginning but when with the help of international media and social media president Zelensky of Ukraine shamed them, they couldn’t take it anymore and had to come out and show the world that they are the most powerful countries out there and nobody should mess with them because what most Western leaders and politicians fear the most is name-calling and shaming on International media.
And you could see every leader and politician in Western countries trying very hard to be seen as a person who is strong and cares very much for the people of Ukraine.
With many of them facing elections, they can’t afford to be seen as weak and so they went ballistic with sanctions followed by many legislations against Russia including expelling Russia from the SWIFT banking system, International sports tournaments, and their airspace.
Of course, things will cool down once the war is pro-longed but I think although Russia didn’t lose in the first round, it didn’t win either and the most contributing fact to this defeat in the first round was the inability of Russia to control information flow around the world.
They lost the war narrative and lost the first round because there is nothing much they could have done about it but I don’t think anybody should be mistaken that Russia will do the same mistakes again with exception of information control.
Russia’s infantry troops usually travel will short-range portable defense systems like Tor mobile defense system or Pantsir mobile air defense systems which can shoot down drones and short-range missiles being used in Ukraine but to my surprise, those troops which we have seen in videos on social media don’t have any air cover.
Of course, there are other reasons for high casualties associated with the Russian military I haven’t talked about like the inability of Russia’s space force to control the air space over Ukraine. Ukraine is a very big country and you need a lot of resources and high sophistication to be able to have full control over its airspace while at the same time watch US and NATO activities to avoid a surprise attack.
It’s not an easy job.
I think the second time Russia attacks, its military will be well prepared than the first attack and the result will not be the same.