The Kremlin leader insisted the invasion was necessary in order the “de-militarise” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine. On February 24, he urged Ukrainian soldiers to “immediately lay down your weapons and go home”.
Putin has now, 100 days later, been mocked for the fact that they didn’t, and Ukrainian resistance has received further praise.
Steve Rosenberg, Russia Editor at the BBC, said in a post on Twitter: “If the Kremlin was expecting a short ‘operation’ and swift victory, it was mistaken. We’re at 100 days and counting.”
It remains difficult to measure the success of Putin’s objectives given these remain widely unknown.
Despite this, the early stages of the war prompted countless reports of Russian failures and on the impossibility of Moscow winning at all, never mind in a hurry.
Ukrainian authorities have since declared that Russian forces have entered a new, more aggressive phase.
Following Russia’s Victory Day celebrations, when the country looks back on the end of World War Two, Channel One Russia television host Vladimir Solovyov said the parades and civilian turnouts demonstrated there was a “such a mandate” for Putin to take military efforts a step further.
The idea of the “special military operation” could, he stressed, be shifted to that of a “turbo military operation”.
Liz Truss today said it was the UK’s commitment to help ensure that “Putin fails”.
“This war has huge ramifications for global peace, prosperity and food security. It matters to us all.”
Ms Truss added: “Today is a moment to pay our respects to the thousands of innocent civilians murdered since the invasion, and reaffirm our steadfast support for Ukraine’s heroic defence, to ensure they succeed and Putin fails.”
Reports emerging from Russia suggest officials close to Putin are becoming more and more concerned by the implications of the war.
Some Kremlin insiders told Bloomberg, on the promise of anonymity, they were particularly worried about Russia’s place in the world in the long-term, noting they believed the country would remain increasingly isolated on the world stage.
But they added they could not confront Putin directly about their concerns because they were sure there was “no chance” of him changing his mind.
Russian state TV, however, becomes evermore radical, with some commentators drawing strong religious messages into the war, claiming it is being fought against “pagans” and “satanists”, and others suggesting it should extend beyond the borders of Ukraine.