What is Putin thinking? Where the Russia-Ukraine war stands nine months after invasion

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Washington will soon debate sending billions more to Ukraine to assist its war effort. Lawmakers may want to first conduct a reality check on where Russia stands in this nine-month war and on Putin’s decision calculus. This suggests that U.S. funding will not produce quick results, may not produce any results or may also produce very bad results for America and Ukraine.

This is how, when wishful thinking is set aside, things actually look:

The Battlefield

Multiple areas across Ukraine are still under Russian assault, even as Ukrainian forces are gaining momentum with an effective counter-offensive, pushing to reclaim territories captured by Russia. On Friday, special units of Ukraine’s armed forces entered the strategic city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, following the retreat of the Russian troops as directed by the Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. As Ukraine’s president Zelenskyy was championing another victory, the Kremlin warned that Kherson’s status didn’t change, despite the retreat, claiming that the city was still ‘part of Russia.’

The Russians are unlikely to permanently abandon Kherson or any of the three regions that Moscow recently “annexed.” The Russian ground forces who assumed defensive positions on the left bank of the Dniepr River,

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