Thoroughly bruised, painfully scolded for its haughtiness, Putin’s Russia gathered some 50,000 to 60,000 troops in southern and eastern Ukraine, according to Western estimates. In front of them stand around 40,000 highly-motivated, brave and increasingly well-equipped Ukrainian soldiers. Even if Moscow increased its troop commitment significantly, it still would not be a 3:1 ratio, considered the minimal force needed for an attack against an enemy who defends his own territory. However, of course, we do not know how this fight for everything will unfold. War is war.
The stakes are high. If Ukrainians win this fight or they at least don’t lose it, Russia will smell defeat not only in a military sense, but also of its state and system. Putin’s regime will lose its primary legitimization because it will prove to be grossly inefficient even in the military sphere. Also, it will not destroy Ukrainian nationhood, this “anti-Russia” entity, as Ukraine is referred to in the Kremlin.
Finally, sanctions will be enforced for a long time and maybe they will also include gas and oil. If this happens, Russia will have no way to make a living, because in the end, beside natural resources, it has nothing to offer to the world. Until recently it had weapons, but who will buy Russian tanks and aircraft now? We can see their worth versus Western tech.
In case of a defeat in Donbas and more widely in Ukraine, there will appear a chance for change in Russia — the hope for a new start to cut Moscow off from the Tsarist-Bolshevik stump. The stakes are thus very high — in fact, historical. The reason is because, in reality, Russia is a mutated communist, Bolshevik regime, the same that was being built by Lenin, Stalin, and Brezhnev. Even more terrifying, as it uses the world’s modern achievements in a more cunning way than communists used to do it under the signs of the hammer and anvil.
After the end of World War II when Nazi Germany fell, the perpetrator of crimes was revealed, which were brutal, vicious, cynical, and inhumane. But it was only the second of two aggressive totalitarian regimes sharing responsibility for the terrible war and even more terrible crimes (considering number of casualties). The second one not only did it not pay for its crimes, but it got half of Europe under its rule, it was even admitted to the club of the winning coalition countries. Later, it wanted to dominate the world, but it lost the rivalry with the United States.
It appeared to have definitively fallen in 1991 but it was just an illusion. It survived, metamorphosed, wore new clothes, just to resume its conquest of Europe and the world biding its time, sowing death, destruction, while creating and fuelling divisions.
Soviet Russia survived its own death and raised its hand against the free world. How many times is that now, counting from 1920? However, this time it is so close to its own defeat as it never was. We therefore stand before a historical chance of ending World War II for good. We can finally end it, leave it behind us. We can end what was not finished in 1945.
In this perspective, the Battle for Donbas, the war in Ukraine, is not the first clash in World War III, but the last battle of World War II.