Thirteen hours. Many, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, would have been necessary for Russia’s army to conquer Kiev. This was revealed by the New York Times speaking of the Russian president’s optimistic prospects regarding the invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24th. He had also already arranged for the distribution of uniforms for the victory parade, while the National Security Council believed that Russian troops were strong enough to resist even American soldiers. Yet, writes the New York Times, Russians have often found themselves handling weapons from the 1940s, deciphering information downloaded from the Internet on how to use a sniper rifle, old maps and approximate information.
According to Putin’s plans, the 26th Tank Regiment was supposed to cross the border into Ukraine and cross the Dnipro River within 24 hours, despite having no equipment or reinforcements. Instead, reality saw the Ukrainian military bring the Russian aggressors to their knees. And overall, ten months into the invasion, tens of thousands of Russian soldiers were killed and hundreds of thousands of people fled Ukraine.
In the two years of the pandemic, writes the newspaper, Putin would have lived in his residence in total isolation in Moscow “obsessed with Ukraine”. So much so that he ignored the assessments of military experts and retired generals. The Kremlin had predicted a quick victory and assumed that his forces would march largely unopposed on Kiev, despite a lack of military supplies and equipment for the conflict.