Kyiv, Ukraine CNN  — 

Two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s “precision strikes” have become much less precise and its ground forces are laboring to seize territory.

On the eve of the offensive, some US officials predicted Kyiv would fall within 48 to 72 hours of hostilities beginning. Yet the blue-and-yellow flag of Ukraine still hangs from its buildings. There was glib talk of the Ukrainian state being “decapitated;” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky still proclaims defiance.

If, as Putin asserted, Ukraine was not a real country, it would surely have collapsed by now. But even with 150,000 Russian troops inside its borders, according to US assessments, they control at most about 10% of Ukraine.

Traveling around Ukraine in the three weeks before the invasion, it seemed many people were in denial. “We are certain there will be no war,” was the refrain – in Mariupol, Zaporizhzia and Kyiv. The Ukrainian government also played down the build-up of Russian forces, anxious not to panic its citizens and the markets.

Then, on February 24, it was as if a switch had been flicked. Overnight, denial became defiance.

Now the refrain is: “I’m going to war. It’s my land.”

Serious defenses and countless checkpoints have popped up around Kyiv. Ukrainian forces – to the surprise of many observers – have been nimble and effective against Russian armor that has struggled to make progress. Small, mobile units that know the territory have cut down Russian convoys. The anti-tank weapons acquired mainly from the US and UK have left smoking hulks on roads across the country. Turkish-made