The war began with a thrust towards Kyiv, going straight for the throat of the regime, presumably with the aim of quickly overthrowing the government there. The West although supportive, were reluctant to give Ukraine the most advanced weapons only for them to fall straight into the hands of the Russian Army but from the beginning sent large numbers of basic arms, with which Ukraine put remarkably effective use. The Ukrainian Military on purposely targeted vehicles in key locations, blocking roads, as well as taking out the first and last vehicle in convoys trapping vehicles in between. They took out key logistic vehicles, such as fuel trucks and transport vehicles. This led to substantial difficulties with logistics in for the Russian forces in Ukraine and withheld from them the supplies required to take on a major city such as Kyiv. This was made more challenging by the fact the supplies had to come through Belarus before being able to even enter Ukraine. By April the Russian Army had decided to conduct a withdrawal from the north of the country, and rather focus on pushing the Ukrainians back on the east from Donbas and also from the south through Crimea. Over the summer the advance slowed and what began to look like a stalemate began to form.
As the survival of Zelensky’s Ukraine in some form began to seem more and more likely, The West began to become more and more confident sending increasingly sophisticated arms to the Ukrainian military in larger numbers. US made HIMARS, which is a highly mobile rocket system, capable of taking out Russian tanks up to 50 miles behind enemy lines were first sent in June with devastating effect. They have been used to take out ammunition depots, Russian command centres, and in particular bridges over the Dnipro River, leading to yet more supply issues which motivated the Russians just recently to pull back to the east side of the river, surrendering the city of Kherson to Ukrainian forces.
In September Ukraine used a thunder run to force the Russian army back in the north, taking over 3000 sq km in just six days.
As often in the war, counter arguments are made regarding losses of the opposing side. If Ukraine’s military is to be believed the Russian army has lost around a third of its standing army in killed, wounded and prisoners of war, they claim nearly 90% of Russia’s tanks have been either captured or destroyed, over 40% of their armoured combat vehicles and nearly a third of their artillery taken out. Now Ukraine’s official figures are very questionable and are likely to be exaggerated, but it is clear that Russia has suffered significant losses, not only in military equipment, but perhaps more importantly in military prestige. The Russian Army, which was once feared, is now being laughed at – which was the exact opposite of what Putin wanted to achieve.
Now we do not know how this will all end, but it seems unlikely that it will end with a complete Russian victory as may have been expected at the beginning of the war, neither will it end with the same, let alone more fear of the Russian Army existing around the world.
However, we know from Ezekiel 38 that there will be a time when Russia leads Europe as part of it’s confederacy down into the Middle East
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
And so we know that the east and west will come together at that time, but it is likely we will be called to judgment a good while before this invasion.
Comparisons have been made between this war in Ukraine and the USSR’s war in Finland in 1939, known as The Winter War, where the USSR attempted to invade Finland, only to be humiliated by the tiny Finnish army who proved particularly good at fighting in wintery conditions, while the Soviet Union did not. It was only 5 years later that the Soviet Union stood at the doors of Berlin, having swept all before it. The Russian’s are experiencing fighting against the some of the West’s most advanced military equipment, and we can be sure that lessons have been learned, and will continue to do so as the war progresses.
The West appear to believe that if the Russian army is forced out of Ukraine they will give up any idea rebuilding their empire. They seem to believe that Putin is the only person in Russia with this aim, but the reality is Putin has substantial support within Russia, and should Putin be toppled a change of tactics is likely to be the only consequence.
We are only 9 months into a war that could last some time. It would be politically hard for Putin to withdraw from Ukraine without losing his position, as would it be for Zelensky to accept Russian sovereignty over substantial amounts of territory. Accepting the loss of territory to Russia from military conquest would go against the doctrine of the world order since the end of the Second World War, and would surely be a difficult precedent going forward. And so this war will likely role on for some time until one side has no alternative but to accept the others terms.
According to rumours a split has begun to appear between the EU on one side and Britain and the United States on the other, with the EU apparently urging Zelensky to negotiate an end to the war – presumably as the war has a greater impact on the EU economy which is suffering record inflation due to the price of natural gas.
And so we must wait and see how these things conclude, Russia has far from lost this war, they could yet double down and perform the transformation they made in the early 1940s, and we are yet to see how it will all end. But however it does end we can be confident that the time will come when Russia does lead Europe, as the head of that confederacy down into the Middle East and against the land of Israel.
And so let us watch these things develop, because the kingdoms of men are controlled by our God in heaven, not the will of men. He is guiding things according to his plan, so that all the pieces come together at that time.
This has been Paul Barnes joining you for this weeks Bible in the News.