Russia vs Ukraine: The Stalemate Scenario and Its Implications
It is nearly impossible to obtain reliable information on the progress of the war or the situation in Ukraine. This conflict is not only a shooting war but also a propaganda war. My impression, however, is that the Russian military might not be faring as poorly as our press reports. They appear to be improving their disruption of Ukrainian military supply depots and chains. Moreover, it seems that the Ukrainians are depleting their ammunition stocks faster than the West can or is willing to replenish them. Both sides are incurring significant costs in their attacks, and US attention is shifting towards the Middle East.
Absent successful ground offensives, how do the Ukrainians push the Russians back? That suggests to me that the Russians will be content with a protracted stalemate, waiting for western enthusiasm for funding the war to fade., and the Ukrainians will be unable to dislodge the Russians if they go on the defensive.
It’s doubtful that either side will continue with WW1-style attacks for much longer without successful ground offensives. The Ukrainians may find it challenging to push the Russians back in the absence of such offensives, potentially leading to a protracted stalemate. The Russians might be content with such a situation, waiting for Western enthusiasm for funding the war to wane, while the Ukrainians may be unable to dislodge the Russians if they adopt a defensive posture.
Sanctions often lose their effectiveness over time as ways to circumvent them are discovered, and new trading patterns emerge. It appears improbable that Russia will be forced to withdraw due to economic pressures, particularly while Putin remains in control. Accepting a peace deal that results in the lifting of sanctions might endanger his regime.
There are also concerns about Ukrainian enthusiasm. Both military and civilian casualties have been high, and the grain farming industry is suffering. With significant foreign money and hardware influx, corruption opportunities are considerable. Many may feel that they bear the brunt of casualties and economic losses while others benefit from the war.
If US willingness to fund the war wanes, financial support for Ukraine may dwindle. Times could become even more financially challenging in Ukraine if the war ends or winds down. It’s challenging to envision a settlement acceptable to all parties, and a decisive victory by either side seems unlikely. A resolution might become possible if the USA and China can agree on a ‘solution,’ as both the Russians and Ukrainians rely on their main sponsors. However, the prospects of the USA and China reaching an agreement currently seem remote, making the situation rather disheartening.
In the evolving conflict in Ukraine, a protracted stalemate appears increasingly likely due to the challenges facing both sides. While the Russian military’s capabilities may be underreported, successful ground offensives remain elusive, and Ukraine’s resources are stretched. Economic sanctions may not force Russia’s withdrawal, and a diplomatic solution is elusive. Sustaining international support, addressing public disillusionment and corruption, and exploring potential geopolitical shifts are vital for Ukraine’s long-term stability and the prospect of a peaceful resolution to the conflict.