The war in Ukraine is raging with no end in sight. Here are 6 ways that can be played.

The Ukrainian flag flutters in the village of Dolyna in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, following the withdrawal of Russian troops on September 24, 2022.

  • As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues, there seems to be no end in sight.
  • One military expert said Vladimir Putin was “too deep” and unlikely to back down without clear success.
  • Here are six ways conflict can happen and what winning for both sides looks like.
  • For more stories, visit

As Russia’s war in Ukraine approaches its first anniversary in February, there is still no clear end to the carnage in sight. Tens of thousands of soldiers were killed or maimed, entire cities were reduced to heaps of rubble, there were accusations of torture and atrocities by the Russian occupiers, and millions of people became refugees.

While Russia has occupied large swaths of territory in the south and east of the country, Ukraine has put up a stronger resistance than expected and frequently embarrassed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invading army which, on paper, should have overrun Ukraine in seconds. day.

The Ukrainian defenders not only repelled the total Russian conquest, but they also reclaimed parts of the country by launching well-organized and daring counteroffensives to the east and south.

However, despite losing on the battlefield, Russia still has a destructive military capability that can be relied upon. In recent weeks, they have launched missiles and drones that have bombarded Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Since Europe’s biggest war since 1945 appears to have entered a phase of attrition, the conflict could play out in a number of ways.

Stop shooting

If the fighting ends in a stalemate, there could be a negotiated temporary truce between Russia and Ukraine, according to Seth Jones, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS, International Security Program.

“It probably won’t end, however, it will be a de-escalated state of active war, at least temporarily, and it will be something closer to a frozen conflict that can heat up or cool down depending on a variety of factors,” he said. said.

Ukrainian soldier in a tank.

Jones was referring to the two Chechen wars that occurred in 1990. Russia negotiated an armistice in 1994, which ended the first war, but then reignited another three years later and intensified its offensive.

In this scenario, Russia may hope that the United States and other Western countries will lose interest in the conflict and support Ukraine.

“That will ultimately shift the balance of power in Russia’s favor and allow them to reclaim territory the way they wanted in February,” Jones said.

A peace treaty

It is possible the war will end in a peace treaty, although settlement will be difficult due to Russia’s and Ukraine’s differing goals and what they consider to be their legal territory.

“I think Vladimir Putin is too involved now. He has committed too much political and military capital now to withdraw from the war without any clear success,” Jones said.

Jones said while it was not clear what Putin would accept as “success”, he could be satisfied with Russia taking parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson oblasts, which he could then define as his goals.

A more complicated question is what Ukraine is willing to give up in any peace deal. Jones said it would be almost “political suicide” for any Kyiv leader to give up any part of Ukraine.

Russian victory

When it started its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s goal was to completely take over the country.

Jones said it is important to note that Ukraine has made significant gains in preventing Russia from achieving this goal.

The war in Ukraine is raging with no end in sight.  Here are 6 ways that can be played.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu greets soldiers and participants in a military parade in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2015.

“It can be said that, at least until February 2022, the third strongest military power in the world after the United States and China is Russia. So they have prevented the Russian offensive to take the capital, overthrow the government and integrate it into Russia or set up a puppet government,” he said.

It is unlikely now that Russia will be able to completely reverse the war and achieve its original goals, but can receive a “victory” in the form of a peace treaty in which it will take more territory than it did before the invasion began. .

Russian retreat, Ukrainian victory

As long as Putin is in charge, Russian forces are highly unlikely to fully withdraw, Jones said.

“In Russia, bad things happen to leaders who lose wars,” Mark Cancian, a retired US Navy colonel and senior adviser to CSIS, previously said. Started.

But despite the discontent of the Russian strongman at home over the rising casualties of the war, the partial mobilization of reserves and the sanctions-ravaged economy, he appears to be showing no signs of backing down.

While the chances of him being toppled in a coup may be higher than ever, experts have previously said the Russian leader had made his regime “coup proof” through cultural mistrust between Russian intelligence services.

However, a full Russian retreat is possible if Putin is deposed or dies. Rumors have also long circulated about his alleged health problems, although US intelligence and military experts have warned there is no credible evidence he is ill.

Ukrainians believe that outright victory is possible. Svitlana Morenets, a Ukrainian journalist who works for the UK newsmagazine The Spectator, spoke Friday in a panel discussion titled “Is it time to make peace in Ukraine.”

The plan is not for years of fighting but for a military defeat for Russia, he said. He highlighted Putin’s recent escalating stance in the “grain corridor” as an example of Russia’s growing weakness.

long war

Not all wars end in a clear victory for one side. Another possibility is that the fighting continues to rage without a truce or settlement, which Jones says could last for years.

This could involve special forces fighting back and forth in lines of contact, guerrilla action from Ukraine to Russian-controlled territory, and long-range bombing of Ukrainian territory from Russia or Belarus.

In its current phase, the conflict appears to have become a war of attrition. Rather than taking more territory, Russia’s aim at the current stage of the war appears to be weakening Ukraine’s resources, economy and military.

The war in Ukraine is raging with no end in sight.  Here are 6 ways that can be played.

A destroyed Russian armored personnel carrier (APC) is seen near the village of Nova Husarivka, Ukraine, September 15, 2022.

It is unclear which side can hold out longer, although the Russians have suffered significant losses in men and weapons.

According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, new Russian general Sergey Surovikin plans to establish a solid line of defense in the occupied territories and effectively freeze the war for the winter.

Russia will not seek to launch new large-scale attacks on Ukrainian territory now and will need time to build up its combat capabilities, the think tank said.

Nuclear war and/or NATO intervention

Putin has made repeated nuclear threats since he began his invasion of Ukraine and in September claimed they were “not a bluff.”

Western nations and experts are divided on how seriously to take the threat.

Jones said the use of nuclear weapons carried grave risks, especially if Putin detonated them on territory he claims is Russian territory. There will also be a risk of a nuclear fallout on Russian territory due to its proximity.

The war in Ukraine is raging with no end in sight.  Here are 6 ways that can be played.

Russian nuclear missiles glide along Red Square during a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis on June 24, 2020 in Moscow, Russia.

If Russian troops face a full-scale military defeat, Putin could use nuclear weapons on the battlefield, but Jones said the risks of using nuclear weapons would likely outweigh the benefits.

“There are a lot of risks in breaking this nuclear taboo, politically, diplomatically. What does this mean for Vladimir Putin’s regime? I think the United States has communicated quite strongly that all bets are off if Russia uses nuclear weapons.” she says.

It is not clear whether NATO will be involved in this scenario, said Jones. A senior official previously said a Russian nuclear strike could trigger a “physical response” from NATO itself.

However, Jones said a NATO declaration of war on Russia could create a major war that could attract other countries such as China, which the organization is more likely to want to avoid.

To avoid this scenario, NATO is likely to increase sanctions first and support Ukraine with arms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *