Ukraine Is Getting Stronger: What If It Could Take on Russia?

Mark Episkopos

Key point: Ukraine doesn't have nuclear weapons and probably won't ever be as strong as Russia. But Kyiv has become much, much more formidable than Moscow ever anticipated or wanted.

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Ukraine and the Russian-backed, separatist forces of Donetsk and Luhansk remain locked in a shooting war that, since 2014, has claimed around thirteen thousand Ukrainian lives and displaced over two million more.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces entered the Donbass conflict in a decrepit state; in the words of Ukrainian General Viktor Muzhenko, as “an army in ruins.” Kiev was confronted with two principal challenges: Ukraine sold or decommissioned a great swathe of its vast, but aging, Soviet military inheritance over the 1990s and 2000s; and the Ukrainian army suffered from poor training, rampant corruption, and flagging morale.

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