In the midst of the war fog it can be hard to see the way forward. News from war zones, diplomatic noise, the plight of refugees and displaced people … these are all exaggerated. But let’s step back for a moment and consider how the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could play out.
What are some possible scenarios that politicians and military leaders are exploring? Only a few can predict the future with certainty; However, here are some possible conclusions. Most are dark.
In this situation, Russia is intensifying its military operations. There are indiscriminate artillery and rocket attacks throughout Ukraine. The Russian Air Force, which has so far played a brilliant role, is conducting devastating aerial bombardment.
Massive cyber-attacks are spreading across Ukraine, targeting key national infrastructure. Electricity and communication networks are disconnected. Thousands of civilians are dying.
Despite the brave resistance, Kyiv fell within a few days. The government is being replaced by a pro-Moscow puppet regime. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky has been assassinated or is fleeing to establish a government deported to western Ukraine or abroad.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announces victory and withdraws some troops, leaving enough to maintain some control. Thousands of refugees continue to flee west. Ukraine joins Belarus as Moscow’s satellite state.
This result is by no means impossible, but it depends on many factors, including the optimal performance of the Russian forces, the further stabilization of the Russian forces and the fading of Ukraine’s unusual fighting spirit.
Putin could bring about regime change in Kiev and put an end to Ukraine’s Western integration. But Any pro-Russian government is illegal and vulnerable to insurgency.
That result will be more volatile and the chances of a renewed conflict erupting are high.
Maybe it will turn into a long war. Russian forces may be stumbled upon by low morale, poor logistics and incompetent leadership.
It may take longer for Russian forces to defend cities like Kiev, where guards are fighting on every street. A long siege ensues.
The conflict echoes Russia’s long and brutal struggle to seize and massacre the Chechen capital, Grozny, in the 1990s.
Even if Russian forces set foot in Ukrainian cities, they could still fight to maintain control.
Russia may not be able to provide enough troops for such a vast country.
Thus, Ukraine’s defense forces are turning into a useful, well – motivated insurgency backed by local people. The West continues to supply weapons and ammunition.
And Then, many years later, Can be with New leadership in Moscow, Russian troops finally leave Ukraine, bow and leave bloodyLike their predecessors, they fought a decade after fighting Islamic insurgents and left Afghanistan in 1989.
Can this war spread beyond the borders of Ukraine?
President Putin may try to recapture Russia’s former empire by sending troops to former Soviet republics such as Moldova and Georgia, which are not part of NATO.
Or there may be miscalculation and expansion. Putin may declare that the supply of Western weapons to Ukrainian forces is an act of aggression justifying retaliation.
He may threaten to send troops to set up a land route with the NATO-member Baltic states, such as the Kaliningrad region off the coast of Russia, such as Lithuania.
This is very dangerous and risks war with NATO. According to Article 5 of the Military Alliance, an attack on a member is an attack on everyone.
But Putin can take that risk if he thinks it is the only way to save his leadership.. Maybe if he faces defeat in Ukraine, he may be tempted to climb even higher.
We now know that the Russian leader is ready to break established international norms.
The same logic can be applied to the use of nuclear weapons. This week, Putin placed his nuclear forces on high alert.
Most researchers doubt whether its use means possible or immediate. But it was a reminder that Russian theory allows the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield.
After all, is there still a viable diplomatic solution?
“Weapons speak now, but the path of dialogue must always be open,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Of course, the conversation continues.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with President Putin on the phone.
Diplomats say they are testing Moscow. More surprisingly, Russian and Ukrainian officials have met twice for talks.
They may not have made much progress.
It was only on Thursday that they reached an agreement in principle to build humanitarian corridors and evacuate civilians from the most affected areas, but in any case, by allowing talks, Putin seems to have accepted the possibility of a negotiated ceasefire.
The key question is whether Western countries can provide what diplomats refer to as the “exit route”, which is the American term for a freeway exit.
Ambassadors say it is important for the Russian leader to know what it means to lift Western sanctions so that a face-saving deal is finally possible.
Let us consider this situation. The war is getting worse for Russia. Sanctions are beginning to calm Moscow. Resistance increases when body bags return home.
Putin wonders if he chewed too much. He argues that continuing the war and ending it may pose a greater threat to his leadership than shame.
China intervenes and pushes Moscow to compromise, warning that it will not buy until Russia cuts oil and gas. So Putin begins to look for a way out.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials saw the continuing devastation of their country and concluded that political compromise was better than such catastrophic casualties.
Then a deal is struck with the involvement of diplomats. Accepts Russian sovereignty over Ukraine, Crimea and parts of the Donbass. In turn, Putin acknowledges Ukraine’s independence and the right to deepen ties with Europe.
It may seem impossible. But such a scenario is not beyond the possibility of emerging from the rubble of a bloody conflict.
Putin was ousted
And Vladimir Putin himself? When he began his invasion, he declared: “We are ready for any end.”
But what if that decision causes him to lose power? This may seem unthinkable. However, the world has changed in recent times and now people are thinking about those things.
Lawrence Friedman, an Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London, wrote this week: “Regime change is now possible in Moscow, just like in Kiev.”.
Why can I say this? Well, Putin may be after a catastrophic war. Thousands of Russian soldiers die. Sanctions hit Russia. Putin lost popular support.
Perhaps the threat of a people’s revolution. He is using Russia’s homeland security forces to suppress the protests.
But this is being done very harshly, and Russia’s military, political and economic elite have turned against him.
The West is making it clear that if Putin leaves and is replaced by a moderate leader, Russia will remove some of the sanctions and restore normal diplomatic relations.
The palace plot is going on and Putin left.
Again, this may not seem possible at this point. But it would be unbelievable if people who benefited from Putin believed he could no longer defend their interests.
These scenarios are not exclusive to each other: some aspects of each can combine to produce different results.
But how this conflict plays out, the world has changed. Will not return Current status Previous
Russia’s relationship with the outside world will be different. European approaches to security will change.
The rules-based liberal international order may have rediscovered what it originally was for.
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