the Ukrainian insurgency has not been as persistent or aggressive as anticipated at the outset of the conflict, but it has been quite successful in organizing the necessary number of partisans for its specific goals while avoiding Russian informant infiltration.
Many experts expected that Russian forces would run into a campaign of guerilla warfare, including attacks on Russian troops, when Vladimir Putin began his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Some observers predicted that the Ukrainian insurgency would take off within weeks, drawing comparisons to the threat faced by Moscow’s troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Chechnya in the 1990s. Such hopes were predicated on the idea that the Ukrainian military would fall quickly to Russian forces, leaving guerilla warfare as the only effective strategy for resistance. But so far, the Ukrainian army has been able to drive back Russian soldiers in the east and, to a lesser extent, the south, thanks in large part to strong Western support. Guerrilla resistance in the occupied sections of the country has played a somewhat different role than anticipated and gained very little attention due to Ukraine’s accomplishments in conventional conflict. The quantitative evaluations in this article are based on a dataset of insurgent attacks in the Russian-occupied portion of Ukraine that was gathered through a comparison of news reports, social media posts, and war-related research from think tanks, including War Translated and the Institute of War.attention.