Why Ukraine Can't Win an All-Out Military Victory—and Shouldn't Try

July 7, 2014 5:45 PM

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Suddenly, Ukraine’s army is winning. Over the weekend Kiev’s troops recaptured several cities in the eastern Donetsk region, sending pro-Russian rebels fleeing to strongholds further east. Now President Petro Poroshenko is planning a “complete blockade” of the region’s two other main cities, Donetsk and Luhansk, according to a Ukrainian television report that quoted the deputy head of the country’s National Defense and Security Council.

That’s a striking turnabout from just a few weeks ago, when Ukraine’s forces seemed ragtag and reluctant to fight. But it doesn’t mean a military victory is likely, or desirable.

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