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The more time that goes by - and this Friday, February 24th, will mark a year - comparisons with previous war situations become more evident when discussing Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The military stroll to victory that many analysts predicted for Vladimir Putin, due to the differences between the military might of Moscow and that of Kyiv, and the prognoses for a war lasting a few days that had been plotted out in the offices of the Kremlin, has ended up being an authentic ordeal for the Russian president. Kyiv has not fallen and has been fortified by Western military support, which has helped immensely in enabling it to resist and keep hope alive that Ukraine could actually win this war.

But there is something in this conflict that is essential in understanding how it has evolved and how the Ukrainians have resisted. It is not about their military power, or even about the preparedness of their army. It has to do with the fact that every citizen has ended up becoming a soldier. The defence of the homeland has been a collective work and the Ukrainians have had a leader and a narrative of resistance, even in the worst moments. Zelenski has travelled all over the world, received help from all Western governments and provided a discourse that is as clear as it is unbeatable: they were the ones invaded and the Russians were the invaders. They were fighting for their freedom, an unattainable cause when enemy troops are superior and doubts about the future are important.

In fact, this situation is taking its toll on Putin and his military staff, who he has had to countermand on more than one occasion. The Russian president thought that the invasion of Ukraine would be like Crimea, and he has found himself in a similar situation to that of the Americans in Vietnam more than 60 years later. In that Asian war, the Americans left a part of the prestige of the era, and their dishonourable retreat marked an entire generation. Then and now there are similar responses: the protests of the population over going to war, the political imposition to send soldiers to the battlefield and keep alive a military conflict that is devoid of all logic and the burden that defeat always ends leaves behind.

Even if, this coming Friday, when the conflict passes the one year mark, the tenth package of sanctions against Russia is to be approved, the situation will not change substantially. Moscow's international isolation is very high, but the reality is that the consequences take a long time to take effect. No one dares to predict the evolution of the conflict. Those who predicted that it would be over quickly are now talking about a much longer war, and meanwhile Europe seems to have got used to it. There is no known diplomatic initiative underway and no leader with enough authority to enter the terrain of peacemaking.

The death toll for Putin is in the tens of thousands: and according to the UK ministry of defence, Russian troop injuries are between 175,000 and 200,000 since the start of the war. Among those, and according to the latest intelligence report, between 40,000 and 60,000 dead. How much longer can the Russian president continue like this if public unrest persists or increases?