Ukraine is at war, but not ready

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Ukraine is at war, but not ready

There are many observations about Ukraine. On a recent road trip, one sticks out just how vast the country is.

Three weeks of driving from south to east in this sprawling country through front line villages, towns, past trenches and along hedgerows, this war's strategic equivalent of high ground, is an education, and one that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use.

The war he launched almost six months later isn't going well. Scenes reminiscent of World War I trench warfare are taking hold.

The nearly 1,000 mile long battle front opened by Putin has hardened, but the country behind is deep and for the most part uncathed.

Thirty miles from the front, city lawns are still being mowed, while many hundreds of miles away in the capital Kyiv, fancy restaurants are reopened, where fine wines and chilled champagnes are available, and fresh caught Mediterranean fish is on the menu.

This is a fat land, with fertile farms and proud crops rich from rain and sun. Ukraine has an untapped wealth available if strategic depth is what is behind the front lines.

The number of military age males across the country who are not yet committed to the fight is most striking. Ukraine is at war, but not yet it seems to have it. Some of Ukraine's potential fighting force are in bunkers buried in tree lines overlooking Russian forces.

Cobblers, authors, artists, teachers, businessmen, journalists, even a former McDonald's franchise CEO, are holding back Putin's push, but when the government needs it, there are many more who can be called on.

The big takeaway is that this is not a war that's going to be over fast, not even clear yet if the real defining fight has begun.