Saturday, March 19, 2022

Russia's Failed Invasion of Ukraine


Russia believed that it could just march into Ukraine with very little resistance. However what was meant to be a quick war has quickly turned into a slow attritional battle for territory. The poor planning, logistics and tactics of the Russian army has met with fierce resistance from the Ukrainian people and Russia's invasion has clearly not gone to Moscow's plan.

The Financial Times has released a new story map which attempts to explain how Russia's attempts at regime change has faltered on Ukrainian ground. In How Russia’s mistakes and Ukrainian resistance altered Putin’s war the FT uses an interactive map to show how Russia's war in Ukraine has not gone to plan and has forced the Russian army to change its plans.

The Russian invasion has floundered because of brave Ukrainian resistance and the shortcomings of the Russian army. As you scroll through the FT's story map it explains how Russia is now relying more and more on the terrorist activities its army developed in Chechnya & Syria, relying more and more on the indiscriminate bombing of heavily populated civilian areas. 

What was meant to be a quick regime change has turned into a direct attack on the Ukrainian people. The FT map shows how in the early stages of the invasion Russia believed it could quickly take control of major Ukrainian towns and cities. However the invasion army units quickly outran their supply lines and forward units quickly ran out of fuel and ammunition. Russia's failure to secure supply lines to support its invading forward units prove that it expected to meet with very little resistance and hadn't planned for a war that world last more than a few days.

Conversely the Ukrainian resistance has been effective in disrupting the Russian advance. Using light infantry units the Ukrainian army has been able to pick off Russian units which have been cut-off from their supply lines. The Ukrainian army has been helped by an international supply of weapons which are particularly useful against isolated advancing units, such as NLAW and Javelin anti-tank missiles. Ukraine has also been able to slow the Russian advance by destroying key bridges and dams.

The failure of a quick Russian invasion of Ukraine is leading Russia to switch to the terrorist activities developed in Chechnya and Syria. They are now indiscriminately bombing civilian targets and trying to batter and starve cities into surrender. Unfortunately, because Russian is led by a megalomaniacal psychopath many people believe Russia's tactics in Ukraine may soon get a lot uglier.

Story Maps are an excellent way to not only visualize geographical data but to pick out the stories and patterns in your mapped data. The Financial Times Ukraine map uses Mapbox's Scrollytelling Template. The features of the Mapbox Scxrollytelling library can also be explored on this Mapbox demo map. The demo map not only introduces the Scrollytelling Template it shows you what you can do with the Mapbox story map library.

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