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Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

Let’s draw a line between how should and how will the war in Ukraine end.

If I was thinking about how it should end in an ideal world, I would be thinking about Germany’s capitulation in 1945 because Putin’s Russia is a comparable threat to the world.

Yes, Putin is, luckily, not Hitler. However, he also has some Messiah’s ideas, plus, Vlad’s got nukes (though I now really doubt he would use the nuclear weapons as it seems that some big guys have explained to him the reasons why he shouldn’t do it).

In the real world we’re all living in, I would speculate about how it will end.

I also understand that my first-hand guess in the RUSUK post published immediately after the war had started, was, again luckily, wrong. I made a prediction then that Ukraine would eventually lose. I think 99 percent of people in the world made the same mistake, including the US intelligence community. Putin convinced the world that he looks much stronger than he is: a typical thug way of dealing with people.

Pre war Russian control

Now I don’t think so, thanks to the Ukrainian people’s unprecedented courage, the Ukrainian army’s unparalleled bravery, and, last but not least, the West’s incomparable help. This triangle of power has destroyed Putin’s initial plans and now it is a war of attrition and a war of potential.

I think that by the end of summer, with various Western weapons delivered on the battlefield and the Ukrainian personnel trained properly to use them, Ukraine will try to make some kind of counter-offensive. It won’t, in my opinion, push the Russian army back to the pre-war positions but it would start the World War One-style hostilities with some more or less stable frontlines. I believe its outcome would be Ukraine improving its current status a bit.

I don’t think Ukraine will be able to win the war militarily though I’d wish it happen because it would mean the end of Putin’s regime. I think there would be some effort from the Russian side to sign a kind of Minsk-3 treaty that would legalise current Russian land advantages, especially in the south. It is only up to Ukraine not to sign any kind of such treaty and, slowly but surely, to work towards the ultimate goal: defeating Putin’s army. This is hard but the prize is great: the fall of Vladimir Putin.

Again, I’m not sure that it will happen in the foreseeable future (apart from his possible health problems), but this is how the war should end.


How should this war end?

Roger Bara

I would so love Ukraine to push back the Russian forces in the south and east, and to reclaim  the territory lost back in 2014. But that will take months, maybe years, with a great deal of good fortune being necessary along the way. 

Russia has more expendable human beings available for war, and the longer this goes on, the more they are likely to repress Ukrainian advances. Defending is slightly easier than attacking. Also, the invaded country can count on massive support from the majority of the rest of the world. But, how long will this moral lucidity last? All countries are being adversely affected by this war, and my worry is that patience will run thin if this carries on indefinitely.

So, how can we end this madness? We have to let Putin think he has won. Stop it now, let Russia have what it holds. It’s nowhere near what they wanted to start with, but it’s at least a sort of victory. Whatever happens in this war, a hostile and potentially disruptive Russia under Putin and his like will always be at the border, and will always be able to strike whenever it wants.

a rocket garden

So, my analysis says Ukraine will not, indeed cannot, win this war on the battlefield. But it can win future battles by the way it re-generates its future. A re-born country, who uses the finance from its many admirers around the world, not to buy more weapons for an interminable drawn-out war, but to rebuild its political and economic integration into Europe, heightening its security, and developing a democratic future.

It keeps its independence, which it has so incredibly maintained thus far, and eventually becomes a healthy and prosperous democracy. Yes, it will take time, a decade at least, but that will be victory for Ukraine, away from the battlefield, and another blow for Russia, which will have years of financial disruption to deal with, and a healthy, NATO protected neighbour next door. That would be what I call a massive victory.


How Should this War End?

Photograph of Dean Lewis

I don’t know how it will end and truth is, I’m not really sure how it should end. But there are things I do know, like how it should not end. The President of France and would-be Sun King, Macron appears to think Putin should not be embarrassed by his failed efforts. I assume this means that Putin should get a win or at least enough of a victory that he can claim to be a winner.

I’m not saying he needs to be humiliated, not at all, I’m saying that if he gets a win he will cut a slice off another country in six to eight years. Consider this:

  • 1990 Moldova (Putin not in power)
  • 2008 Georgia
  • 2014 Crimea 
  • 2022 Ukraine

Besides full-on invasions, Putin likes to send Peacekeepers to freeze a war in place:

  • 1992-1995 Croatia
  • 1994-2008 Abkhazia and South Ossetia
  • 1992 – present Transnistria
  • 1994-2000 Tajikistan
  • 1996-2003 Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 1999-2003 Kosovo
  • 2000-2005 Sierra Leone
  • 2005-2012 Sudan
  • 2008-2010 Chad and Central African Republic

We must be fair here: some of the above are in fact, real Peacekeeping missions with actual UN authority. Others are just thuggery. 

Oh, and speaking of thuggery, let us not fail to mention the enchanted Wagner Group, Putin’s private army:

  • 2014 Dombas
  • 2015 Syrian civil war
  • 2018 Battle of Khasham
  • 2018 Syrian civil war
  • 2018 Central African Republic Civil War
  • 2018 Sudanese Revolution
  • 2019 Insurgency in Cabo Delgado
  • 2019 Second Libyan Civil War
  • 2021 Mali War
  • 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

When someone with my accent says “Damn, these boys get around”, yeah, not a good sign. Even the Chinese are sending signals that this is a country too far. They have banned almost all Russian aircraft from their skies. Moreover, the Americans and the Chinese don’t just turn entire cities into rubble. Putin has, is, and will continue too until he is stopped.

Many Russians want you to know that Russia has never, ever once, invaded any other country. Russia only wants peace and only wants to help, never harm. Getting the evil Nazis out of Ukraine is something that was forced on Russia. Russia may well be the most peaceful nation on the planet and was left with no choice in this matter after Ukraine started bombing those little children in Elementary Schools. The Operation was forced on them and the world’s reaction only proves how right Putin is.

Putin

Having explained all the above doesn’t absolve Putin of barbarism in Aleppo and Mariupol. Two cities turned to brick piles: crimes committed on a vast scale for which he will never answer.

I cannot blame the Ukrainians for not wanting to negotiate. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants all Russians completely gone from every corner of Ukraine. For Macron to even suggest that Putin must not be humiliated will get an enraged phone call. The hate is real and it burns white-hot inside every Ukrainian. More than anything, that is why Russia will lose. 

I’m not Ukrainian and I don’t feel the hate. There will be some sort of negotiation to end this but I suspect it will not happen until the Ukrainians throw Russia out of most of Dombas (Dombass). 

Putin is wrong if he thinks a grinding war of attrition will end in a win for the Red Army. Even now he seems to not understand the real, burning hate. These guys are going to throw rocks if they run out of bullets. But they won’t run out of bullets, the UK and the US are not going to quietly slip into the 24-hour news cycle twilight.

The very best Russia can get will be to keep their 2014 lands. Even that will be a bitter pill for Ukraine but it may be necessary. In my opinion, a total win for Ukraine would look like keeping everything except for Crimea. This is the humiliation Macon fears. Like Trump, Putin will not acknowledge a loss and he will stew in his own rage. If he loses Dombas, he will wait a year or two and try again. The real question is: will the Russian people allow it?