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2 years since the invasion of Ukraine, what calculations Putin made wrong

2 years since the invasion of Ukraine, what calculations Putin made wrong

By Matthew Chance/ Two years ago, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, I was among the many forward-thinking observers who thought the Kremlin had miscalculated.

Few could understand why Vladimir Putin, Russia's calculating leader, would embark on such a dangerous military adventure, especially when the mere threat of a Russian invasion was already paying off.

In June of last year, as Russian forces massed near Ukraine, US President Joe Biden met with Putin in a superpower-style summit, describing the US and Russia as "two great powers" who exalted the leader Russian as previous US administrations had sought to downplay Russia.

In the days leading up to the 2022 invasion, Washington offered a "pragmatic assessment" of Moscow's security concerns, signaling openness to compromise.

Raising Russian forces against one of the largest armies in the region seemed reckless and, therefore, impossible.

However, there were others who rightly saw the invasion as inevitable, better reading the Kremlin's intentions and confidently predicting a quick Russian victory at the hands of Moscow's vastly superior forces.

What Moscow still euphemistically calls Special Military Operation has been a bloodbath of catastrophic proportions not seen in Europe for generations. Even conservative estimates put the number of dead and wounded in the hundreds of thousands on each side. Small gains, like Avdiivka's recent win, have come at a high cost.

Russia's once venerable military has proven unprepared and vulnerable to modern weaponry in the hands of a determined Ukrainian resistance. Even if the war ends tomorrow, it will likely take many years for its strength and numbers to recover.

And the last two years of brutal war have distorted Russia from within as well.

Hundreds of thousands of its citizens have fled the country to avoid conscription. Frustrations with the way the war was being waged provoked an armed uprising in which Wagner's armed mercenaries marched on Moscow, presenting an unprecedented challenge to the Kremlin's authority.

International disregard has made Russia the most sanctioned country in the world. Even President Putin has been indicted for war crimes in The Hague.

And now Putin's most vocal critic – Alexey Navalny – is dead. This place is further plunged into isolation and darkness.

*Mathew Chance, editor-in-chief at CNN