Financial TimesFinancial Times

‘Big war is back’: 5 lessons from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

By John Paul Rathbone

26 Dec 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

In this insightful article, the FT tells us what we can learn from the conflict in Ukraine. As a veteran Russia expert explains, modern warfare is changing, but so too is the nature of peace.

It was in the dead of winter when Moscow airdropped several hundred paratroopers into the neighbouring country’s main airfield with orders to capture the capital, kill the president and install a client regime. As tanks also crossed the border, the Kremlin expected the country would quickly fall.

That was Moscow’s plan — for the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Four decades later, Russian president Vladimir Putin used the same overconfident blueprint for his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, where he similarly imagined a swift capture of Kyiv followed by national capitulation.

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