Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

An almost empty Red Square in Moscow is seen at dawn on January 30. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Two years ago, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, I was among the many longtime observers of the Kremlin who got it wrong.

Few could fathom why President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s calculating leader, would embark on such a risky military adventure, especially when the mere threat of a Russian invasion was already yielding results.

There were others, though, who rightly saw the invasion as inevitable, better reading the Kremlin’s intentions and confidently predicting a swift Russian victory at the hands of Moscow’s vastly superior forces.

Two years on, I like to think that those of us who doubted the Kremlin’s resolve were wrong for the right reasons.

What Moscow still euphemistically calls a “special military operation” has been a bloodbath of catastrophic proportions, unseen in Europe for generations. Even conservative estimates put the number of dead and injured at hundreds of thousands of people on each side. Small gains, such as the recent capture of the town of Avdiivka, have come at enormous cost.

Russia’s once revered military has shown itself painfully unprepared and vulnerable to modern weapons in the hands of a determined Ukrainian resistance. Even if the war ends tomorrow, it is likely to take many years for its strength and numbers to recover.

And the past two years of brutal war have twisted and distorted Russia internally too.

Read more of Chance’s view from Moscow.

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