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Ukraine’s Tactics Are Showing Smaller Countries How to Fight Back

The basic lesson: Make yourself too prickly for a superpower to swallow.

Ukrainian servicemen assist comrades near the front line in the embattled Donbas on May 21.

Ukrainian servicemen assist comrades near the front line in the embattled Donbas on May 21.

Source: AFP/Getty Images

Before Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, top US military and intelligence officials were nearly unanimous in judging that Russian forces would overrun Kyiv in weeks, if not days. More than three months in, Kyiv is still standing, and Ukrainian forces have killed more Russian soldiers than died during the USSR’s nine-year war in Afghanistan.

Now, countries across the world—many smaller and weaker than Ukraine—are watching the conflict and seeing ways to humble a superpower.