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Friday, May 27, 2022

Scenarios of the development of the war in Ukraine.

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On the conduct of Russian military operations in Ukraine, British “Financial Times” correspondents Henry Foy in Brussels and Dmitriy Sevastopoulos in Washington wrote that Western intelligence officials expected a Russian victory in Ukraine in less than a week. But more than 15 days later, Moscow and Kiev are still locked in a bloody battle for control of the territory.

In an article by Putin last year on the history of Ukraine and its relations with Russia, many saw the historical justification for the invasion, alluding to the division of the country between the Russian-speaking East and the European-centric West.

Ukraine seemed stronger than Western countries supporting it with arms expected, and at the same time, the Russian campaign suffered from strategic errors, logistical and intelligence shortcomings that greatly reduced Russia’s capabilities, while diplomatic efforts did not they have managed to stop the fighting so far.

With Russia failing to secure a quick victory and President Vladimir Putin’s ultimate goals ambiguous, Western capitals are debating a variety of scenarios for the conflict to play out.

Although Moscow failed in its plan, most Western officials and analysts believe, on a preliminary assessment, that Russia will achieve a comprehensive victory, based on its superior military might.

But Putin will pay a higher price than he had calculated, in terms of military losses and the reputation of his armed forces, according to analysts.

The civilian death toll will also be high due to Russia’s shift towards indiscriminate bombing and the deployment of weapons such as cluster and vacuum bombs.

pro-Moscow government
Most analysts predict that after taking control of the country, Russia will replace the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky with a pro-Moscow administration. This could lead to the formation of a Western-backed Ukrainian government in exile and prolong resistance at home.

And US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said last week: “If the goal is to impose some kind of puppet government, it is very clear that the Ukrainian people will never accept it, and if Putin tries to impose that puppet regime By keeping Russian forces in Ukraine, long-term bloodshed will ensue and Russia will continue to suffer because of it.”

President Zelensky previously rejected proposals by Western powers to evacuate him from Kiev, repeatedly saying he wanted “ammunition, not a flight.”

But many military intelligence officials say that a possible Ukrainian withdrawal to the west of the country, where Russia has not tried to seize territory, is one of the possibilities to end the war.

They argued that Lviv, near the Polish border, could be a potential temporary capital for Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion strategy, which has so far focused its firepower on Kiev, northern and eastern Ukraine and its southern regions, suggests the Kremlin might view such a possibility as an acceptable outcome to end the war.

And in an article by Putin last year on the history of Ukraine and its relations with Russia, many saw the historical justification for the invasion, alluding to the country’s division between the Russian-speaking East and the European-centric West.

Compared to the difficulties Russia faces in the north and east, its forces that departed from Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, in the south have made significant gains along the Black Sea coast.

And if Russia were to attack and capture Odessa, Ukraine’s third largest city, Russian forces would cut off Ukraine from the sea and cripple the sea export route.

But few believe that Putin will relent over his failure to take Kiev or topple the Zelensky government, given his stated goal of “disarming” the country and preventing it from joining the European Union and NATO.

Zelensky’s deputy, Igor Zhovkva, said last week that Kiev was “ready for a diplomatic solution” if Russia withdraws its forces.

But while Ukrainian officials hint at the possibility of accepting a deal on the status of Crimea and the two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, they reject Russian demands to neutralize Ukraine and disarm its military capabilities.

But some sort of compromise may tempt both sides if the war turns into a quagmire in which they suffer mounting losses.

The question is whether a ceasefire will stabilize Russia in its current positions or whether Putin will withdraw his forces to a specific area.

Kiev is likely to continue avoiding Russian efforts to control major cities, especially if Western arms shipments continue to enhance the capabilities of the Ukrainian military, according to some observers.

This stalemate, and the significant impact of Western sanctions on Russia, has led Western officials to speculate that Putin himself could be a victim of the failed invasion. They say the Russian president, who has ruled for more than 22 years, could be ousted by Kremlin elites, military or security officials angry at the way he conducted the war, or after protests by angry citizens. due to the deterioration of their living conditions.

Finally, some officials speculate that the conflict in Ukraine will not be contained, saying arms shipments to Kyiv from NATO members and crippling sanctions imposed on Moscow have increased the risk of the conflict spilling over into neighboring countries. in a move that may draw the Atlantic into direct conflict with Russia.

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