The core tenet of the Russian military has not changed very much since World War II: use savage tactics and throw hordes of soldiers into the meat grinder of battle. In the 1940s, that strategy eventually turned back a German army built on a similar philosophy, but in Ukraine in 2022, Russia’s near-medieval methods are failing.

Armed with modern weapons supplied by the United States and several European countries, the Ukrainians have proved to be nimble, smart and resilient in their resistance to Russia’s invasion of their country. Instead of a cakewalk, President Vladimir Putin’s quest to rebuild the Russian empire by conquest has turned into a debacle that has revealed the plodding, brutal stupidity of the Russian military organization.

With his troops demoralized and in retreat, Putin has instituted a draft to round up 300,00 men to throw into the fight. The response has been something other than patriotic zeal. Young men have been streaming to airports and border crossings to get out of the country before they can be turned into cannon fodder. Protests have erupted. Recruitment offices have been hit with Molotov cocktails.

Western military analysts say any fresh phalanx of reluctant Russian soldiers that eventually reaches the battlefield will very likely be poorly trained, inadequately equipped, and inclined to duck and run. While Ukrainian soldiers are fighting for their homes, their families and their freedom, Russian troops are fighting only for the ambition of the cruel autocrat in the Kremlin.

At least in their hearts, these pawns of Putin may soon become more inclined to march on Moscow than Kyiv.

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