Russians blunder in Ukraine


Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine

Destruction of Russian infantry combat vehicle by Ukrainian troops in Mariupol, per Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

The Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in February 2022, is likely the most impactful international conflict since World War Two, and is the closest we have been to World War Three since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This is not simply a small armed conflict between Russia and a former Soviet-state, but a huge political crisis, and a potential breaking point that risks tipping Europe into a continental war. 

Despite its significant advantage in both the size and ability of its military, Russia has made many strategic and logistic blunders that have caused it to lose previously gained advances in Ukraine.


One massive flaw that the Russians had going into the invasion was a complete lack of preparation for the war. Many logistic failures have made it clear that Putin rushed into the invasion.

One such blunder was a lack of investment into new communications technologies. Without the ability for forces to efficiently communicate where the enemy was, the Russian Army has, as a result, lost many high-ranking officers due to blindly walking into enemy territory.

This cease in communication does not only prevent effective tactics to be utilized, but goes as far to even disrupt supply chains, to the point where it becomes a struggle to simply give tanks enough fuel to reach their destination.

This alone has led to the destruction of nearly 500 Russian tanks, not even accounting for the extra 900 that have been destroyed by Ukrainian forces. 

The Financial Times Visual & Data Journalism team has created a visual guide to the war, including regularly updated maps.


Commonly dubbed “Putin’s War”, the name carries a lot of truth to it. The war is not truly a war of necessity, but simply to advance Putin’s political power.

Many speculate that Putin is dying (possibly from pancreatic cancer), and this war is meant to act as his last hurrah: hence why he may not care of the immense cost of the war.

This theory may have merit, as there would otherwise be little reason to sacrifice so much for so little. Chances are, Putin simply does not care that his country’s economy is in the trash, or that it has nearly exhausted its modern weaponry, and already need to tap into retired Soviet arms.

Putin simply needs a win, and he needs to get it fast. 

In terms of international scale, Putin has shot himself in the foot in several unnecessary ways. The sheer number of war crimes (bombing of hospitals, slaughter of civilians, etc.) has diminished Russia’s global reputation. The political isolation of the country has hurt both the economy and the ready supply of arms that a nation needs to stay steady in a war. 

Lastly, Putin has sacrificed many tactical decisions to maintain an imposing image, something that does not really hold up after such a massive failure.

For the sake of intimidation, Russian troops march in large clusters in an attempt to appear intimidating. While this does successfully create an illusion of power and size, it falters once the Ukrainians start firing mortars and rockets into the troops, an obvious flaw that was fixed by American revolutionaries in the 1700s.

On top of that, the Russians over rely on artillery strikes, which are not a great strategy for an annexation. Not only do artillery strikes kill many civilians in “collateral damage”, but they also render useless key points of interest.

Lastly, Putin simply does not know when to stop. Despite the fact that Putin has already established control in South Ukraine (giving him majority control in the Black Sea, primarily Odessa, a vital seaport for eastern Europe), he still maintains pursuit of invading the rest of the country.


Russia’s tactics are outdated and ineffective.

Russia’s primary military strategy is defensive in nature, often using the aforementioned artillery strikes to their (dis)advantage. Although this approach may be well fitted for defending a point, it quickly falters once the country goes on the offensive, which is obviously what they have done in Ukraine. 

And though Russia maintains fire superiority, it has failed to succeed in delivering modern, effective and precise fire.

Partially due to poor logistics, the country has depleted its modern arsenal and been forced to tap into outdated Cold War weapon systems. This has effectively placed Ukraine on technologically higher ground.

Not only has Ukraine been using Soviet weapons for years, but they now have NATO supplied armaments, such as Javelin and Stinger launchers, and modern, western firearms. 

A U.S. Marine fires a FIM-92A Stinger missile at an unmanned aerial target during a 2009 training at San Clemente Island. (Christopher O’Quin, U.S. Marine Corps)

On top of infantry and ground weaponry, a huge point of loss is Russia’s lack of a grasp on air supremacy.

Aircraft are a vital force during an invasion, as seen in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, where Americans were able to take complete air supremacy in just six weeks.

Not only are Russia’s planes extremely outdated, but they also have very low supply of both planes and pilots, and the country is losing planes faster than it is able to manufacture them. Pilots are poorly trained, and there are very few people who can replace those who are lost.

These inexperienced pilots prove particularly ineffective, as Ukrainian surface-to-air missile sites force them to fly low, where they are then shot down by shoulder mounted missile systems, unable to avoid them due to lack of training.

Another pertinent reason for Russia’s lack of success is its lack of naval power.

Despite having massive control in the Black Sea, Russia continues to fail when it comes to maintaining naval superiority. Losing control of the Black Sea jeopardizes its ability to hold Crimea. On the political side, forming a naval blockade could be used to maintain bombardments on Ukrainian ground-troops, as well as forcing Ukraine to accept peace concessions that would be more beneficial to Russia.

Altogether, the lack of naval superiority makes Russia’s ability to hold a defensive stance more difficult and puts its end-of-war goals in a vulnerable position.