Putin vs. the United States: One Year In, Will the Battle Rage On or Reach a Ceasefire?

Putin and the Zelensky

Due to the lack of necessary conditions and factors, the war in Ukraine is not expected to end this year, as confirmed by successive political and military developments. These events are repeated day after day. How long will the war in Ukraine last? What are the possible developments in the war in the next few years?

The U.S. and Western support for Ukraine is not meant to pressure Russia to stop the war but to defeat the Russian military and force it to withdraw or force him to submit to U.S. terms and the rules-based world order.

Let’s read it one by one.

1. Signs of the continuation of the war

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, U.S. political and media circles have predicted that the war will continue for several years. The first year of the war has passed, and many political and military developments have broken the equation that was expected when the war began. 

By taking a quick look back at these developments in the first year of the war, we can rely on the following major indications that had a clear impact on the course of the war in the years to come:

1. The war began with a mass buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. The expectation at the time was that Russian forces would take control of Ukraine within a few days or, at most, a few weeks. But this did not happen until the end of the first year of the war, although the Russian command made many changes on the battlefield. But so far, conventional warfare has failed to achieve the Russian military’s goal of controlling Ukraine, or at least the eastern border provinces.

2. The Russian leadership seeks the help of Wagner Group troops and Chechen troops, which reveals the strength of the regular army led by the Russian Ministry of Defense and the current inability of the Russian regular army to achieve military strength commensurate with the size of Russia’s superiority. 

Russia did not expect Western countries headed by the United States to support the Ukrainian army to such an extent. This is not only close to realizing the traditional military balance between Russia and Ukraine, but Russia is unilaterally confronting the entire NATO army.

3. At a time when the United States was able to build a large global coalition to counter Russian special military operations, Russia failed to act to build an international coalition against it until it was largely isolated internationally.

 Only Iran, Syria, Nicaragua, Eritrea, Mali, North Korea, and Belarus support it, and apart from the last two, the remaining countries do not weigh Russia’s political, military, and economic struggles. 

As for Iran, despite Russia’s support in political forums, it cannot play the role of Russia’s official ally in this war because of concerns about trade relations with E.U. countries, lest it faces more economic sanctions and in resolving the nuclear issue. More obstacles are placed in the process.

4. China and Russia share a common position on the United States and the world order. However, China understands Russia’s motives for launching a war against Ukraine and its recent political initiative to stop the war. 

China will not establish a defense alliance with Russia. It is impossible to provide Russia with any Military and logistical support, and China is watching the development, phases, outcomes, and possible consequences of this war with extreme caution. China prefers to change the world order and strengthen its leadership in the world through dialogue rather than armed confrontation. China knows that its main concern is the Ukraine war’s outcome.

5. Clearly, the U.S. and Western countries are supporting Ukraine not to pressure Russia to stop the war but to defeat the Russian military and force it to withdraw, to overthrow the Putin regime, or to compel him to submit to U.S. terms and conditions A rules-based world order. Therefore, the United States does not support China’s initiative to stop the war and accuses China of being unrealistic.

Militarily, the United States is working to strengthen the military capabilities of the Ukrainian army with the support of both Democratic and Republican parties, with the participation of 33 Western countries led by Germany and the United Kingdom, and more than 10 non-European countries led by Japan and South Korea, to provide advanced weapons and equipment to the Ukrainian army.

At the same time, the United States is also committed to strengthening economic support with the participation of the World Bank, the European Union and the G7. This is reflected in the fact that E.U. countries host 4 million refugees, and Ukrainian refugees have the right to access the labor market, residency, education and healthcare. The E.U. spent around 67 billion euros in the first year of the war, with an additional 18 billion euros until March 2024 and, if necessary, ready to extend support until March 2025.

Conventional warfare is expected to continue in the next few years, but depending on the consequences of each possibility, it will have a much greater impact on infrastructure and loss of personnel than in the first year.

Putin vs. the United States: One Year In, Will the Battle Rage On or Reach a Ceasefire?

2. The coming war years

Based on the previous indications, we can draw the following conclusions:

The outcome of the war so far has not favored Russia, which means that it will find itself with very limited options to achieve a quick victory and avoid defeat and forced retreat. These expected options include:

1. To completely change the leadership of military operations under the leadership of the Department of Defense. This would strengthen the cohesion of the Russian military, allow quick partial victories, restore its prestige on the battlefield, and reduce the scale of casualties that could damage the regime.

2. Change the current military tactics. And that doesn’t seem to have been developed since the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan, as its ballistic missiles have.

3. Transition to the use of highly destructive strategic conventional weapons. This would cost the Ukrainian military dearly without resorting to chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological weapons of mass destruction.

4. Broader and more precise targeting of infrastructure in all Ukrainian cities. This will prompt the U.S., the West and the Ukrainian government to rethink their approach to the war and force them to rush for a lenient political solution before they are brought to the brink of eruption.

5. Conduct limited provocative skirmishes with European border countries other than Ukraine, use Belarus to open a new front on the northern border of Ukraine, or create crises with border countries such as Lithuania and Poland. These are meant to complicate the situation further and force the U.S. and Western countries to re-examine their policies and positions. 

In particular, after Finland’s accession, all European countries now bordering Russia and Belarus are members of NATO, which occasionally inappropriately reiterates that it is a solid and coherent defensive alliance that will not hesitate to defend itself if it’s any member.

It is understood that NATO, as an alliance, has no military role in the war and does not provide any military support to Ukraine. Considering that its role is limited to member states’ defense, support for Ukraine is limited to the political sphere. As for the Western military support Ukraine received, it was directly provided by Western countries to Ukraine.

Forming a Russian anti-NATO defense alliance similar to the former Warsaw Pact is unlikely. China is the only country that can significantly change the balance of power and the existing equation of war. But China’s relationship with the West does not currently allow China to form a defensive alliance with Russia. This means that Russia has no choice but to rely on itself in the face of the United States and Western countries, and Belarus is still Russia’s only ally that can provide limited support.

In order to shift the balance of power in Ukraine’s favor, the West may soon be forced to provide it with attack aircraft and long-range missiles. This would help Ukraine move from a defensive to an offensive position, shifting parts of the fighting to Russian territory and responding in kind to the destructive strategic missiles Russia may resort to in the coming weeks. 

Extending the scope of the war to Russian territory would open a new chapter in the U.S. war against Russia in Ukraine.

According to previous conclusions, conventional warfare is expected to continue in the next few years. Still, according to the consequences of each possibility, its impact on infrastructure and loss of personnel will be much greater than in the first year:

Russia achieved some or all of the victories, enabling it to impose its terms on the U.S. and the West. Russia has successfully expanded its political and military crisis circle beyond Ukraine. Ukrainian troops managed to shift the fighting to Russian territory.

Putin vs. the United States: One Year In, Will the Battle Rage On or Reach a Ceasefire?

epilogue

We have predicted multiple directions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict through the above discussion. But regardless of the final outcome, the possibility of ending the dispute in 2023 is slim. The reason: 2023 is the year of the election struggle between the Ming and Communist parties in the United States.

 Both parties will hold on to Zelensky in Ukraine in order to gain political chips. This year is also the election year for Putin in Russia. 

In addition, Zelensky, he can’t step down and can’t step down. Once he steps down, all he has to wait for is liquidation. War is always a continuation of politics, and multiple forces are stirring up the situation in Russia and Ukraine. No one can retreat; no one can stop.