ISSN 2330-717X

Massive Russian Invasion Could Defeat Ukrainian Army But Fail To Occupy Ukraine – OpEd


If Vladimir Putin orders the Russian army to move more deeply into Ukraine, that Russian force would likely defeat the Ukrainian army and annex the Donbass but it couldn’t occupy Ukraine, possibly the most anti-Russian country on earth, or improve Russia’s position there or elsewhere, Mikhail Pogrebinsky says.


Indeed, such an expanded invasion, the Ukrainian foreign policy commentator says, could easily leave Moscow in a far worse place with its forces confronted by massive resistance rising to the level of partisan war in areas it occupied and Ukraine instantly becoming a better candidate for membership in NATO (

Obviously, increasing preparations to defend against a further Russian invasion are entirely appropriate, he suggests. Being able to inflict as much pain as possible in and of itself is valuable given that it will have an impact on the thinking of military and civilian leaders in the Russian Federation.

But a far more compelling argument against any Russian adventurism is this, Pogrebinsky says. “A major military operation is not a solution to the problem of Ukraine as the anti-Russia.” Ukraine would remain hostile to Russia, and Ukrainians would make any attempted occupation costly in the extreme.

And if Putin stops at annexing the Donbass, as he well might, that too won’t work in his favor, the analyst says. More thoughtful Ukrainians already recognize that the Donbass is a burden that they are better off without. “If the Donbass goes, this will be something wonderful because it will be easier to get into NATO.”


Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.