Russian President Vladimir Putin’s confidence appears to have grown as the war in Ukraine drags on for a sixth month. What could be some reasons for this change after the initial military failures of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
Russian military forces, after retreating from the north and consolidating in the eastern part of Ukraine, have made incremental gains in the Donbass region. In addition, through the use of the Wagner Group - Putin’s mercenary army — Moscow was able to bolster its troops with experienced and ruthless soldiers who have left atrocities in their wake in Syria, Africa, and now in Ukraine. In the southern Russian occupied region of Kherson, Putin is planning to hold illegal “annexation referendums” to solidify his gains.