Winning the War in Ukraine Will Take More Than Defeating Russia

Winning the War in Ukraine Will Take More Than Defeating Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy poses for a photo with soldiers after attending a national flag-raising ceremony in the liberated city of Izium, Ukraine, Sept. 14, 2022 (AP photo by Leo Correa).

One of the most important exercises in any war is also one of the most difficult: assessing its progress. The same “fog” that makes the conduct of war so hazardous also often obscures the criteria by which we may judge the fighting’s outcomes, especially when that judgment takes place while the hostilities continue.

Yet such an assessment is essential to determining whether initial objectives have been achieved, as well as identifying future goals and how to pursue them. It is also critical to determining whether mistakes have been made, and if so, how to correct them. Finally, assessing a war’s progress can help identify the risks that lie ahead and how to avoid them.

The war in Ukraine is no exception, and in the past month we have seen no shortage of interim assessments, many linked to a chronological milestone—the war’s six-month mark in late August—and others to the Ukrainian military’s recent successful counteroffensive around Kharkiv. If the first wave was based on an arbitrary benchmark, the second runs the risk of being overly exuberant. However, with Ukraine’s lightning gains having slowed somewhat and a lull having set in at the front, it seems like a good time to make a cautious attempt to take stock of where things stand.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review