Among the possible scenarios for war in Ukraine, five expert predictions continue to appear, but these are marked by uncertainties.
Ukraine was occupied by RussiaPhoto: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense
This is the scene that Westerners dream of. After hitting Russia hard by imposing massive sanctions, they want to weaken Vladimir Putin and bring him down.
The military may decide not to follow him, the people revolt in the face of the great economic crisis, and the oligarchs leave him after seizing property. But the outlook remains confusing, the AFP notes.
“The scene of a reformist-liberal heir apologizing for Putin’s sins would be nice, but winning the lottery would be great,” RAND researcher Samuel Sarab joked on his Twitter account.
The same warning from Andrei Kolsnikov of the Carnegie Center, Putin notes, according to independent analysis, is popular in his country. Moreover, “for the time being, unprecedented Western financial pressure” has turned the Russian political class and oligarchy into “serious supporters” of their leader.
Subject to Ukraine
This is Putin’s script. The Russian army is superior and this will lead to the subjugation of Ukraine. But the problems seem insurmountable to many.
“This is a war that Vladimir Putin could not win, no matter how long and how brutal the methods,” said Lawrence Friedman, a British historian at King’s College London. “Entering a city is not the same as owning it.”
Bruno Tertris, deputy director of the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS), offers a number of alternatives.
Total link? “This is unlikely to happen,” he said. Ukraine partition like Korea or Germany in 1945? Not credible after him. “Russia succeeds in defeating Ukrainian forces and establishing a puppet regime in Kiev.”
The Ukrainians surprised the Russians, the West, perhaps even themselves, with total mobilization, even though the destruction and losses were large.
“The government, the military, the administration have not fallen,” said one Western diplomat. “Unlike Putin’s speech, the people did not accept the Russians as liberators,” he added.
Former Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who surprised the world with his bravery, continues to protest.
With the support of Western intelligence services and arms supplies, Ukrainian forces could lead their adversary into a devastating urban conflict in which knowledge of the terrain is important. Experience shows that guerrillas are rarely defeated.
The conflict is spreading
Ukraine shares its borders with four former NATO members, for whom Putin has not hidden his longing. After controlling Belarus and occupying Ukraine, can Russia even see the small state of Moldova or Georgia, which is blocked between Ukraine and Romania on the east coast of the Black Sea?
According to Bruno Tertris, Moscow could try to upset the balance between European and Atlantic security by “causing incidents on Europe’s borders” or especially cyber attacks.
But if a member is attacked, will Russia dare to challenge NATO to respond to NATO and the 5th Amendment? “It is not possible for either side to avoid this,” said Pascal Azzur, a former admiral and director of the Mediterranean Foundation for Strategic Studies (FMES).
However, he told the AFP that “the return of Russian troops to NATO Lithuania, for example, could lead to the annexation of Kaliningrad (Belarus).” “A misunderstanding or fight is possible on the borders of Ukraine or in the Black Sea, where many warplanes and warships are parked in a narrow space and in an electric environment.”
Putin put his nuclear forces on “high alert” last Sunday. Is nuclear war possible?
“Exceeding the nuclear limit does not mean (…) an immediate global nuclear war, but it will be the most dangerous turning point in world history,” said Christopher Chiwis of the Carnegie Center.
Gustav Gressel of the European Council for International Relations (ECFR) delivers a peaceful message.
He added that there was no preparation from Russia for a nuclear attack. Putin’s announcements are “practically aimed at intimidating Western people.” (Source: AFP)
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