As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells it, when Russia invaded 100 days ago, no one expected his country to survive. World leaders advised him to flee.
“But they didn’t know us,” he said in a late-night video address in April when the war hit its 50th day. “And they didn’t know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom.”
He could have been speaking about himself. No one knew how a 44-year-old man who had catapulted himself from the world of entertainment into the presidency would respond to an invasion by Russia’s giant army.
His response has been forceful — and compellingly public. Zelenskyy has led his country in mounting an unexpectedly fierce resistance. Every night, he rallies Ukrainians to the fight with a video address on social media. There have been 100 so far – one for each day of the war — in nightly reminders that he has not fled, that Ukraine has indeed survived.
His actor-trained voice can be soothing, a deep, confidential almost-whisper as he looks directly into the camera. Or forceful, rising in moral outrage as he condemns the most recent Russian atrocities and insists that those responsible will be punished.
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As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Ukraine is losing 60 to 100 soldiers each day in combat.
Just short of 50 American soldiers died per day on average in 1968, during the Vietnam War’s deadliest year for U.S. forces. Concentrations of Russian artillery are causing many of the casualties in the eastern regions that Moscow has focused on since its invading troops failed to take Kyiv early in the war.
Retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges described the Russian strategy as a “medieval attrition approach” and said “these kinds of casualties are going to continue” until Ukraine gets promised deliveries of U.S., British and other weapons to destroy and disrupt Russian batteries.
Russia may be in Ukraine to stay after 100 days of war
When Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in late February, the Russian president vowed his forces would not occupy the country. But as the invasion reached its 100th day Friday, Moscow seemed increasingly unwilling to relinquish the territory it has taken in the war.
The ruble is now an official currency in the southern Kherson region, alongside the Ukrainian hryvnia. Residents there and in Russia-controlled parts of the Zaporizhzhia region are being offered expedited Russian passports. The Kremlin-installed administrations in both regions have talked about plans to become part of Russia.
The Moscow-backed leaders of separatist areas in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, which is mostly Russian-speaking, have expressed similar intentions. Putin recognized the separatists’ self-proclaimed republics as independent two days before launching the invasion, and fierce fighting has been underway in the east for weeks as Russia seeks to “liberate” all of the Donbas.
The Kremlin has largely kept mum about its plans for the cities, towns and villages it has bombarded, encircled and finally captured.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this week that enemy forces now control almost 20% of the country’s territory. Before the war, Russia controlled 7%, including the Crimea Peninsula and parts of the Donbas.
Deadly secret: Electronic warfare shapes Russia-Ukraine war
On Ukraine’s battlefields, the simple act of powering up a cellphone can beckon a rain of deathly skyfall. Artillery radar and remote controls for unmanned aerial vehicles may also invite fiery shrapnel showers.
This is electronic warfare, a critical but largely invisible aspect of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Military commanders largely shun discussing it, fearing they’ll jeopardize operations by revealing secrets.
Electronic warfare technology targets communications, navigation and guidance systems to locate, blind and deceive the enemy and direct lethal blows. It is used against artillery, fighter jets, cruise missiles, drones and more. Militaries also use it to protect their forces.
It’s an area where Russia was thought to have a clear advantage going into the war. Yet, for reasons not entirely clear, its much-touted electronic warfare prowess was barely seen in the war’s early stages in the chaotic failure to seize the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
It has become far more of a factor in fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine, where shorter, easier-to-defend supply lines let Russia move electronic warfare gear closer to the battlefield.