How long can Ukraine resist Russian invasion?

Manifestação em apoio à Ucrânia em frente à embaixada do país em Copenhague, na Dinamarca
Demonstration in support of Ukraine in front of the country’s embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark| Photo: EFE/EPA/EMIL HELMS

After Russia started its invasion of Ukraine this Thursday (24), in a planned and denounced military action since last year, there remains a doubt: if Moscow decides to take the former Soviet republic (which seems to be the case, as the attacks are not limited to the Donbass region), will the Ukrainians be able to resist one of the largest military forces in the world for how long?

The difference in power is gigantic: according to figures from the military balance sheet of Global Firepower and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) ), the Russian Armed Forces have 720 1,000 active soldiers, against 200 one thousand from Ukraine (President Volodymyr Zelensky decreed the recruitment of reservists to assuage this disadvantage).

In infrastructure, it is also an unequal dispute: Russia has, for example, 1.380 attack aircraft, while the neighbor has only 98, and .214 tanks against 2.24213447 of Kiev.

For economist and entrepreneur Igor Lucena, a doctoral candidate in International Relations at the University of Lisbon, a member of Chatham House/The Royal Institute of International Affairs and of the Portuguese Association of Political Science, “Ukraine alone would not last until the end of the week.”

“We just see the taking of Chernobyl , and more troops are moving [ao país] not only through Donetsk and Lugansk, but also through Belarus. What will determine whether Ukraine will survive as an independent republic in the coming days is the support capacity of the Western powers, whether the next economic sanctions will be enough to bring Moscow back to the negotiating table and stop the military attacks,” he argued.

Lucena mentioned the possibility of Russia being shut down of the Swift international payment system (which connects transactions between banks around the world), a measure that would paralyze the entire Russian economy and is defended by Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The researcher believes that there will be no direct military participation by the West in support of Kiev.

“I don’t think there will be a NATO military incursion into the region, but military equipment, money will be allocated to Ukraine, and maybe [haverá] some kind of training”, he highlighted.

“But Ukraine is in a very complicated situation, if she gives in and signs the agreements that Moscow wants, that is, denying membership to NATO and the European Union, she basically hands over her domestic and foreign policy to Russia. If she resists, by the weekend the government may fall, due to the military advance to Kiev”, highlighted Lucena.

This Thursday, three senior US government officials told Newsweek magazine, on condition of anonymity, that they estimate Kiev will be taken by Russian forces by the end of the day. next Monday, and the government of Ukraine will fall even a week later.

A former US intelligence officer gave the magazine a similar deadline. “Once the air war and artillery war are over and the land war really starts, I think Kiev will fall in a few days,” he commented. “Military might last a little longer, but not long.”