Russia’s military advance was held up by various forms of Ukrainian resistance. Analysts say that the Russian military leadership has been taken by surprise by the lack of impact its aerial campaign is having. “The Russian forces have a hard time suppressing the air defense and aerospace forces of Ukraine and Ukrainian forces,” Mathieu Boulegue, a research fellow with the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House, a London-based think tank, told DW.
The Pentagon believes that Russia has currently moved at least 50% of its forces into Ukraine out of an estimated 150,000 troops amassed at the border.
It’s not just the regular army making inroads against the Russian forces but also volunteers who have formed militias and are arming themselves with homemade Molotov cocktails, setting up roadblocks, and removing road signs to confuse Russian troops.
Most analysts predict that the current war phase is just the first stage of a multi-pronged tactic and that the Russian military will now broaden the campaign.
“They began with a kind of hybrid warfare that everyone was expecting. I mean Special Forces, paratroopers penetrating, which are not really classical things that the Russian military is good at. It’s not the way we’re fighting in Syria, where they liberated Syrian cities by turning them into piles of rubble. Now, most likely, they’ll take things more seriously, more Russian-style, and be more aggressive in using heavy weaponry,” Felgenhauer said.