The Ukrainian strategy to ‘break Putin’s teeth’
How Ukraine is holding on, and may yet defeat the Russians
Russian troops have not taken a single major city in Ukraine. The Ukrainians have killed at least 7 Russian generals, stood their ground, and still hold Kyiv. The Ukrainian air force still flies. For these facts, last week Russian President Vladimir Putin was forced to adjust his broken war plan and appointed a new top commander (whose nickname, the "butcher of Syria," suggests what’s to come).
How? How is it possible that Ukraine, with an economy one-tenth that of Russia’s, is winning on the battlefield against supposedly-superior Russian forces?
They’re breaking Putin’s teeth. That’s the common Ukrainian response when asked what they must do to fight off the Russians. It sounds like a line. It is not. It contains much strategic wisdom. Military theorist Carl von Clausewitz suggested the same two centuries ago, that “the aim of warfare is to disarm the enemy.” The Ukrainians are chipping and cracking and de-fanging the Russians, extracting tooth by bloody tooth, until Putin’s forces no longer have the ability to chew up more Ukrainian soil.
The Ukrainians are breaking Putin’s teeth, and they are doing it by beating Russia on the battlefield, fueled by a superior will to fight, and because they’ve become a “single fist” in the words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.