Possible scenarios for the Russian-Ukrainian conflict

While the biggest war in Europe since 1945 is still raging fiercely and has no clear end, experts have come up with several possible scenarios for the Russian conflict- Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine has entered its second year, is still fierce, and has no clear end. 

According to estimates, tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded, many cities were reduced to rubble, and millions became refugees or were forced to live in severe poverty. all aspects.

While the biggest war in Europe since 1945 seems to have entered the attrition phase, there are several possible scenarios as predicted below.


According to the director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Seth Jones, if the war is deadlocked, there may be some sort of temporary truce between Russia and Ukraine.

“However, that may not mark the end but rather that the state of war is actively declining, at least temporarily, and it’s becoming something akin to a freeze on life.” conflict and it can heat up or cool down depending on many factors,” he said.

The expert also gave the example of two Chechen wars that took place in the 1990s.

Russia negotiated a ceasefire in 1994, ending the first war, but then restarted another in 1997 and ramped up its offensive.

With this scenario, Russia can hope that the US and other Western countries will no longer care about the conflict and also support Ukraine.

That, he said, would ultimately shift the balance of power in Russia’s favor and allow it to control the territories targeted when it launched a special military operation in Ukraine.

A peace agreement

A much-talked-about scenario is that the war will end in a peace agreement, although it is highly unlikely since both sides have different goals and areas that both consider as territory.

According to him, Russia right now cannot “withdraw” from this military campaign without achieving clear successes.

This expert also said that, although it is not clear what the “success” that Moscow sets here, it is possible that Russia will accept control of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson regions.

The more complicated question is what Ukraine would be willing to give up in order to reach a peace agreement. Because, according to Mr. Jones, accepting concessions to control any territory in Ukraine would be a “political suicide” for any leader in Kyiv.

Russia can win

At the beginning of the special military operation, Russia’s goal was to “demilitarize” Ukraine and protect the people in the Donbas.

So far, according to Jones, it is important to note that Ukraine has achieved a significant victory in preventing Russia from achieving its original goal.

“Arguably, at least until February 2022, the second strongest army in the world is Russia. So it’s a success that Kyiv stopped a flash Russian operation,” he said.

At present, it is unlikely that Russia will be able to turn the tide of the war completely and achieve its original goals, but it can accept a “victory” in the form of a peace agreement in which it has control of more territory.

Russia withdraws troops

According to expert Jones, this is the most unlikely scenario.

“Despite being subjected to a strong wave of Western sanctions, and increasing military losses and casualties that have forced Moscow to mobilize part of its reserve forces, Russia does not seem to show any signs of backing down,” he admitted. determined.

The war dragged on

Not all wars end with a clear victory for one side.

So another scenario is that the fighting continues to be fierce without any ceasefire or settlement and this could go on for many years, according to Jones.

This scenario could involve direct combat special forces, Ukrainian guerrilla operations in Russian-controlled territories, and Moscow’s ability to bombard Ukraine with the long-range territory.

In its current stage, the conflict seems to have turned into a war of attrition. Instead of controlling more territories, Russia’s goal in the current war seems to be to weaken Ukraine’s resources, economy, and military.

It is unclear which side can hold out longer, although both have suffered significant losses in terms of soldiers and weapons.

According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, newly appointed Russian general Serge Surovikin plans to build a solid defense in the controlled territories and effectively freeze war over the winter.

The think tank said that Russia will not launch any new large-scale attacks on Ukrainian territory at this time and will take time to rebuild its combat capabilities.

Risk of nuclear war or NATO intervention

President Putin has repeatedly warned of nuclear threats since the outbreak of the conflict and stated that it was “not a joke”.

Meanwhile, Western countries and experts are divided over the reality of this threat.

According to Jones, there are indeed great risks associated with the use of nuclear weapons. There is also a risk of nuclear fallout on Russian territory due to its proximity.

If Russian forces were to face an all-out military attack from many directions, Moscow could use nuclear weapons on the battlefield, but according to Jones, the risks of using nuclear weapons are: very unpredictable.

“There are a lot of risks associated with that nuclear taboo, politically, diplomatically, and will likely outweigh any benefits,” he said. 

According to this expert, it is still unclear whether NATO will participate in that scenario. A senior military alliance official once claimed that a Russian nuclear attack could trigger a “physical response” from NATO itself.

However, Mr. Jones said that this is a scenario that “everyone wants to avoid” because NATO’s declaration of war on Russia could trigger a large-scale war and could involve other countries like China.

Instead, NATO will likely continue to implement measures to strengthen sanctions on Russia and provide arms to Ukraine.

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