Putin Lost the Ukraine War on Day One

How Many Thousands will Die Before He Admits It?

Steve Jones


This is not the staff meeting of a winning war president. (Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/TASS/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin — Vlad the Destroyer — lost his war the minute he ordered the Russian Army to invade Ukraine. He overestimated his own army’s strength, and he underestimated the courage and determination of Ukraine’s defenders. He also misjudged the unity of NATO.

Vlad never counted on the charisma of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy and his ability to both rally Ukrainians to battle and awaken Europe to Putin’s threat.

Vlad thought his foray into Ukraine would be like the United States’ into Iraq in 1991 and 2003, with a ground war that was textbook quick. But by Day 2, his troops had already lost an airfield they had grabbed the day before, and Ukrainian defenders of Snake Island inspired the West by telling Russian warship to “go fuck yourself.”

Images of Ukrainians smashing Russian armor and downing Russian aircraft with American-made shoulder-fired rockets have appealed to Americans’ love of underdogs. Zelenskyy’s refusal to leave Kyiv — “I need ammunition, not a ride” — was custom made for the Western press.

Putin has never controlled the narrative of the war. Why did he invade exactly? “Denazification?” Really, come on.