"Putin is waiting for the 'Orange Jesus' and that is his only hope for victory"

Suddenly, it is no longer so clear that time is on Putin's side. If this war has taught us anything so far, it is that defense is easier than attack, said Carl Bild in his column

by Sededin Dedovic
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"Putin is waiting for the 'Orange Jesus' and that is his only hope for victory"
© Handout / Getty Images

The news from last week was undoubtedly met with relief in Kiev and sorrow in the Kremlin. The US Congress has finally broken a six-month deadlock and approved a new package of military aid to Ukraine (as well as to Israel and Taiwan).

Progress followed just days after EU leaders also committed to providing even greater support, in addition to the significant aid packages they recently approved, according to a column by Swedish diplomat Carl Bildt for Project Syndicate as reported by Kyiv Independent.

How this will play out remains to be seen, but Germany has already promised another Patriot air defense system - one of the key technologies that prevented Russia from gaining a decisive advantage - and has pressed other EU member states to help strengthen Ukraine's air defense.

Support is desperately needed. Ukraine has endured several tough months. After its long-awaited military counteroffensive last year yielded barely any results, America's failure to negotiate another aid package dealt a severe blow to morale.

Ukrainian ammunition has dwindled as the Kremlin intensified its missile attacks on the country's industrial and energy infrastructure. Not only are Russian ammunition factories buzzing, but Donald Trump also has a good chance of winning the US presidential elections and returning to the White House early next year.

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their sum© Chris McGrath / Getty Images

But let's not forget, Putin has had to significantly scale back his objectives since starting his aggressive war in February 2022.

He initially suggested that the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would be ousted within a matter of days and that all territory known as Ukraine would be returned to the Russian fold. Russian armies were supposed to enter Kiev, where they would be welcomed as liberators.

It was a strategic error with few historical precedents. The Russian offensive quickly stalled, and Russian forces had to retreat directly from key areas, such as those around Kiev. In the following months, they were also driven out of Kherson and Kharkiv.

Ukraine's unwavering resolve was not the only thing the Kremlin underestimated. It also evidently failed to anticipate that a broad coalition of Western countries would respond with comprehensive financial and military assistance.

By 2023, Russian forces had settled into a defensive position, and there were growing expectations that Ukrainians - armed with Western equipment - would repel the invaders. When that didn't happen, the conflict turned into a war of attrition.

As it seemed that Western resolve was waning, Putin grew more confident, concluding that time was on his side.

Polands Prime Minister, Donald Tusk (C), NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg (R) and Britains Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak (© Omar Marques / Getty Images

But now the calculus has changed again.

Defying Trump's isolationists and Putin's appeasers on his own side, Republicans in Congress, along with Democrats, have approved the support Ukrainians have been desperately awaiting. While it will take some time for new shipments of ammunition and equipment to reach the front lines - where Russian forces are advancing gradually, if marginally - the immediate political and psychological effect is significant.

The odds of Ukraine holding the line and surviving any new Russian onslaught this year have dramatically improved. Suddenly, it's not so clear that time is on Putin's side anymore. If this war has taught us anything so far, it's that defense is easier than offense.

In the medium to long term, artillery grenade production in Europe and the United States is likely to match, if not surpass, Russia's, which has had to rely on ammunition from North Korea. Continued development of Ukrainian long-range strike technologies will begin to yield significant results, and the latest Ukrainian mobilization of personnel will bolster some of its frontline combat forces and reserves.

Over time, the production capabilities of Western nations, coupled with advancements in Ukrainian military technology, will further tip the scales against Russian aggression. In short, Putin's hope of marching to victory this year will evaporate.

His war efforts will continue their downward trajectory. But one hope will remain. The Kremlin will desperately await its savior from Mar-a-Lago - whom one Republican allegedly dubbed the "Orange Jesus." Whether Trump's return to the Oval Office would indeed end the temptation Putin has created for himself is another story.

For now, Russia is once again headed for failure in Ukraine. In the interim, the Kremlin may cling to the hope of a Trump presidency as a potential game-changer. However, the uncertainty surrounding whether Trump's hypothetical return to the Oval Office would indeed alter the trajectory of the conflict remains a subject of intense speculation. For now, Russia finds itself once again confronting the daunting specter of failure in Ukraine.

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