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How weapons have defined the war

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin

One year on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the conflict has triggered profound changes in Europe.

The war’s death toll has already reached staggering numbers. Casualties are in the tens of thousands and continue to rise.

Millions of Ukrainians have become refugees. Numerous war crimes have been committed. Russia is now targeting critical civilian infrastructure, itself a war crime.

While total victory for Russia is unlikely, the precise outcome of the conflict is still highly contingent.

Alexander Graef, an expert on global peace, explains – in four scenarios – what an endgame could look like.

Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv’s “victory is inevitable” if all of Ukraine’s partners “do their homework”.

In the year since Russia launched its full scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, both sides have defied expectations about how they would perform. From the outset, Russian forces – purportedly from the second most powerful military globally – failed to achieve their goals, mired in a morass of poor planning, inept leadership, equipment failure and at times drunkenness. Ukrainian forces meanwhile mounted a heroic defence against what initially seemed like insurmountable odds, revealing in the process how far a Nato-backed reform programme had upgraded a military that just eight years earlier had been in ruins. Campbell MacDiarmid writes that from the beginning, one factor stood out as having the power to define the outcome of the war – foreign military support to Ukraine. Fighting a better armed enemy with massive stockpiles, a well-developed defence industry, and virtually inexhaustible manpower, Ukraine needed support from its allies to survive. Recognition of this has led Kyiv’s allies to commit ever greater quantities of heavier and more complex weapons, a flow that now reaches billions of dollars every month. While Western weapons like NLAWs and Himars kept Ukraine in the fight, Russian weapons have proved the old adage attributed to Stalin that “quantity has a quality all its own”. Click here to find out more about the five weapons that are shaping the war in Ukraine.

Yesterday, Poland delivered the first Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine – you can follow the latest news on our Ukraine live blog. Meanwhile, the King has said it is “heartening” that the UK is doing all it can to support Ukraine. In a personal statement released to mark the first anniversary of the conflict, the King hailed the “global outpouring of support” and said the West stands “united” against the “unnecessary suffering” inflicted by Russia. Over the last year, many Britons have aided Ukrainians in their hour of need – in a remarkable story, one Russian Telegraph reader offered her home to Ukrainians after they saved her husband’s life. Here are some other ways in which Telegraph readers are aiding the Ukrainian war effort.

President Volodymyr Zelensky honouring servicemen at the event 'February, Year, Invincibility' on Sofiivska Square in Kyiv

Zelensky marks anniversary with speech

Every Ukrainian knows someone who no longer picks up the phone, Volodymyr Zelensky has said in a speech to mark the anniversary of the invasion. Exactly 12 months after Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops across the border, the Ukrainian president commemorated Kyiv’s war dead. “Every Ukrainian has lost someone during this year: a father, a son, a brother, a mother, a daughter or a sister,” Mr Zelensky said in a heartfelt video message. “Almost everyone has at least one contact in their phone book who will never pick up the phone and will never reply to ‘How are you?’” The Ukrainian president said February 24, 2022 marked “the longest day of our lives”. He added: “It’s the hardest day in modern history. We woke up early and we haven’t fallen asleep since.”

How the war could end

At a press conference in Kyiv yesterday, Mr Zelensky said “victory is inevitable” if all of Ukraine’s partners “do their homework”. Meanwhile, China is considering sending 100 kamikaze drones to Russia, as it published a peace plan to mark the anniversary of the invasion. Sophia Yan reports that the 12-point statement, which called for a ceasefire and peace talks, is at odds with a report in the German magazine, Der Spiegel, which revealed a Chinese manufacturer is in talks to sell 100 drones capable of carrying 50kg worth of warheads to the Russian military. Alexander Graef writes that a full Russian victory – the total seizure of Ukrainian territory and regime change in Kyiv – is now almost certainly out of reach. He argues that there are at least three reasons for this – which you can find out here.

One year on from the invasion

‘The chances of Ukrainian soldiers returning to normal life are ruined – many are technically blind’ | Telegraph reader Tom Ogilvie-Graham shares his experience of travelling to Ukraine to personally deliver eye-surgery equipment and supplies.


Four unmissable stories

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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