Karolina Hird, Riley Bailey, George Barros, Madison Williams, Yekaterina Klepanchuk, and Frederick W. Kagan, Institute for the Study of War:
Russian President Vladimir Putin is setting conditions for a protracted war of conquest in Ukraine.During a meeting with the Russian Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC), Putin remarked that the “special operation” in Ukraine can be a “lengthy process” and that the acquisition of new territory is a significant result of this process for Russia. Putin compared himself favorably with Russian Tsar Peter the Great by noting that Russia now controls the Sea of Azov, which Peter the Great also fought for. This invocation of Russian imperial history explicitly frames Putin’s current goals in Ukraine as overtly imperialistic and still maximalist. Putin is conditioning Russian domestic audiences to expect a protracted, grinding war in Ukraine that continues to seek the conquest of additional Ukrainian territory.
Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 7 | Institute for the Study of War (understandingwar.org)