Eighteen months since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine. US officials now report that the total number of troops from both sides killed or wounded since the war began is nearing half a million. A staggering toll, most of it paid by Russian troops, which outnumber Ukrainians almost three to one.
Boosted by billions of dollars of military aid and state-of-the-art weaponry from its Western allies, Ukrainians have embarked on a counteroffensive aiming at regaining control of occupied territories in the East. But hundreds of kilometres of mined terrain and fortified defence lines by the Russians have crushed hopes of a swift and decisive breakthrough.
And yet, beyond the frontlines, an extraordinary summer in Russia has unfolded, with a mutiny that saw Wagner troops marching towards Moscow – and Putin promising fire and fury on those he called "traitors."
So what is really happening in the trenches of Ukraine? And is Vladimir Putin’s leadership increasingly under threat?
In this episode, joining host Arnaud Siad in Oslo is Pavel Baev, a Research Professor at PRIO and a frequent contributor to Eurasia Daily Monitor and The Jamestown Foundation.
Joining from Moscow is Nina Kruscheva, a historian and professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York, and great granddaughter of the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.