Putin, it seems, not only misjudged Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, but also how hard the international community would take on Russia in the event of an invasion.
For years, the Russian president received little repression from the West for his illegal annexation of Ukrainian Crimea, his brutal support for the Syrian regime and his acts of aggression in other countries.
Despite all their strong words of condemnation of Putin and his regime, Western countries have still bought gas from Russia, offered safe haven to Russian oligarchs, and maintained relatively normal diplomatic relations with Moscow.
But this time around – despite some early struggles that saw Western nations accused of not hitting Russia hard enough – Putin faced an unusually united Western alliance.
From unprecedented sanctions already hurting Russia’s economy to international sport slowly turning against Moscow, Russia’s international pariah status is growing more acute by the hour.
These same citizens may soon wonder why Putin is risking so much for a war that did not need to be fought.
Of course, things are very fluid on the pitch and could change very quickly.
There is little hope that Monday’s talks will result in a de-escalation, and no one expects this war to end in the immediate future, either by force or by agreement. But it is likely that Putin, having made it this far, will launch more on Ukraine in the coming days.
However, as the invasion enters its second week, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Putin’s best-laid plans have met stiffer resistance than he – and many of his opponents – ever had. conceived.