Over 53 days now, here’s how a ‘non-serious’ Ukraine managed to stall Russian advancement

Although Zelenskyy had categorically rejected the projection that the capital city of Kyiv will fall within less than a week, people from outside were in serious doubt.

Photograph shared by @Podolyak_M on Twitter

New Delhi: In his address on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the people of the country that they should be proud of having survived 50 days under the Russian attack when the invaders “gave them a maximum of five” days. Zelenskyy’s statement hit the headlines in world media as hardly anyone had expected the same before the war began.


In the last week of February, when the Russian Army began its invasion in Ukraine, media platforms from across the world were pouring out anticipations, speculations and even heightened concerns that how can a “non-serious” country hold back the Russian military might. Under those circumstances, neither the United States of America nor the European Union had sent assistance in terms of armed forces, equipment and logistic support to Ukraine.

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Although Zelenskyy had categorically rejected the projection that the capital city of Kyiv will fall within less than a week, people from outside were in serious doubt. Now, after 53 days of the attack and counter attack, Ukrainian forces have successfully stopped Russian forces from taking over strategic locations.

Ukrainian strategy appears more effective on ground

In the beginning, Russian forces started their invasion from the north and northeast side with the help of their close ally Belarus. Russian forces aimed to capture Kyiv. The strategy behind capturing Kyiv was to take strategic as well as psychological lead over the enemy country. The Russian Army also invaded the Donbas province and entered from Crimea. The strategy behind entering from the east into Donbas was to free the region with the help of separatists active against Ukraine. Moscow had intended to open too many fronts to scatter and weaken Kyiv’s defence before forcing them to bow down.

Photograph shared by @KyivIndependent on Twitter

Ukrainian forces, however, focused to neutralise the impact of the Russian attack and safeguard their military resources. With the strategy to never give up, Ukrainian forces stopped Russian forces from entering inside Kyiv and even after facing attacks from heavy weapons supported by a strong air force, they halted Russia from gaining an early lead. With the strategy to limit Vladimir Putin’s Army, the Ukrainian Army used anti-tank devices, mainly javelins and their plan worked well. They not only halted the speed of their rivals up to a certain extent but managed to get enough time to regroup their personnel and to gauge the preparations of Russian forces.

Photograph shared by @KyivIndependent on Twitter

Underestimation of Ukrainian defence on ground zero

Russian invasion started with an estimation to sweep the ground in a short period of time but their strategy backfired when they faced the toughest-ever resistance. Ukrainian forces, through a strong defence posture, succeeded to disrupt assault on almost every front. It is evident that Ukraine has less military power, tanks, artilleries, aviation support and naval forces in comparison to Russia which has the world’s largest military power with advanced weaponry support on ground, air and sea but timely planning and its proper implementation on ground worked well. Their strategy to keep engaging Russian forces on all fronts, attacking the Russian firepower by consolidating their own positions, destroying outdated weapons deployed by Moscow in the battleground to take physiological lead went into their favour – the reason Kyiv managed to destroy a large number of Russian tanks and disrupt their movements even on multiple fronts. Ukraine’s strategists also allowed the destruction of the bridges and other infrastructure and as a result, the Russian forces could not gain momentum on the expected lines.

 Zelensky’s never give up approach

Zelenskyy, from the very beginning, was firm on his stand to never give up, never bow down and never surrender before the outside forces. His fight is with Vladimir Putin, the world’s toughest leader who has emerged as the most powerful president in the history of Russia. But Zelenskyy vowed to face Putin’s forces while the majority of world leaders refrained from siding with him.

Photograph shared by @KyivIndependent on Twitter

Even the role of NATO and the US supporting Ukraine was not visible on ground. Leaders from across the world had started murmuring that Zelenskyy had been made a scapegoat by the US and the European Union as they are all scared of the severe consequences if they came out openly against Vladimir Putin. Zelenskyy even faced non-cooperation from close allies but his consistent efforts through regular appeals and dialogues forced many countries to realise the needs of the war-torn country.

Photograph shared by @Podolyak_M on Twitter

The Ukrainian President, on another front, kept alleging atrocities by the Russian Army on the civilians. Not only the President but his close aides have been briefing the media on a regular basis with claims that Russia has caused the biggest ever humanitarian crisis in their country and foreign forces must provide weaponry support to them. The approach adopted by Zelenskyy has undoubtedly turned him into a tall leader who is ready to fight for his country even when the opponent is a superpower.

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Anup Verma is a journalist with more than 12 years of experience. He has worked with The Pioneer and Millennium Post in the past. He also worked as a Media Advisor with the MCD. Currently, he is the editor of The Theorist.