‘At war with the whole world’ — why Putin might be eyeing a long conflict in Ukraine

Featured in The Financial Times

War in Ukraine


To gain ground on the front lines, Russia needs a significant manpower boost to protect its higher-value equipment. This can only be done through retaining conscripts, calling up reserves or mobilising volunteers — all of which require the Kremlin to admit it is waging a full-on war, rather than a “special operation”, according to Jack Watling, a senior fellow for land warfare at the Royal United Services Institute think-tank. “If you’re going to go to war, then you need to explain to people what you’re doing and why the sacrifice is worth it,” Watling said. “Because it’s going badly and they’re taking very, very high levels of attrition, they’re going to have to explain to the Russian public why they’re taking casualties and what they’re taking the casualties for.”