The statement about the first few hours of the invasion is being taken out of context; it wasn’t that the Russians believed that Mariupol would fall quickly, they believed that all of Ukraine would just show its belly without a fight. This is a lot different from Crimea, where a much higher fraction of the residents identify as Russians. So much of this battle for Mariupol reminds me of Stalingrad. An industrial area has been reduced to rubble, which in turn denies the area to tanks and gives a steep advantage to the defenders. If Ukraine could reinforce the defenders, this could go on indefinitely.
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