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War In Ukraine In 2023 Could Follow Five Scenarios - BBC

War In Ukraine In 2023 Could Follow Five Scenarios - BBC

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The conflict in Ukraine is about to enter its second calendar year. The BBC asked military analysts how they thought events in Ukraine would unfold in 2023.

"Russia's spring offensive will be key"

Michael Clarke, associate director of the Strategic Studies Institute, Exeter, UK, believes that the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has planned a spring offensive on Ukraine for 2023, as he admitted that about 50,000 new-mobilized troops are already at the front, and the remaining 250,000 of those who have just mobilized are training for the next year.

While these troops are available, the war will not stop. A brief and volatile ceasefire is the only other prospect, Clarkу reported. He noted that both sides need a pause, but Ukrainians are better equipped and motivated, will maintain pressure, at least in the Donbas.

Around Kreminna and Svatove in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine's troops are very close to a major breakthrough that will drive back Russian forces near where their invasion actually began in February.

"Ukraine will win back its land"

Andrei Piontkovsky, scientist and analyst based in Washington DC, is convinced that Ukraine will win by completely restoring its territorial integrity no later than spring 2023, because two factors are shaping this conclusion.

“One is the motivation, determination and courage of the Ukrainian military and Ukrainian nation as a whole, which is unprecedented in modern war history. The other is the fact that, after years of appeasement of a Russian dictator, the West has finally grown up to realise the magnitude of historical challenge it faces,” the publication quoted Piontkovsky as saying.

The exact timing of Ukraine's inevitable victory will be determined by the speed at which NATO can deliver a new package of military weapons that will change the game (tanks, planes, long-range missiles), the expert said.

Piontkovsky expects Melitopol to be a key point of battle in the coming months (possibly weeks). Having captured Melitopol, Ukrainians will easily move to the Sea of ​ ​ Azov, effectively closing supply and communication lines to the Crimea.

Russia's surrender will be formally agreed upon in technical talks following Ukraine's devastating advance on the battlefield. The victorious states - Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States - will form a new architecture of international security, predicts Piontkovsky.

"There is no end in sight"

Barbara Zanchetta, Department of War Studies, King's College London, believes that Putin expected Ukraine's passive acceptance of the conditions of its more powerful neighbor, without attracting assistance from other countries, so this serious miscalculation led to a protracted conflict.

Winter will be difficult, as Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure will try to break the morale and endurance of the population, and the prospects for negotiations are gloomy, the BBC quotes an expert. For a potential peace deal, it is necessary to change the basic requirements of at least one side, but there are no prerequisites for this.

“The costs of the war, both material and human, might break the level of commitment of the Russian political elite. The key will be inside Russia,” Zanchetta said.

However, this can only happen if the West firmly supports Ukraine, in the face of increased internal pressure associated with the costs of war. Sadly, this will continue to be a long-protracted political, economic and military battle of resolve. And by the end of 2023 it will most probably still be ongoing.

"No other outcome except Russian defeat"

Ben Hodges, former commanding general, United States Army Europe, said Ukraine would win the war as early as 2023.

In winter, the situation will move more slowly, but by January Ukraine may begin the final phase of the campaign to liberate Crimea.

"The Russian pull-out from Kherson has partly led me to this conclusion. Firstly as a psychological boost for the Ukrainian people, secondly as a profound embarrassment for the Kremlin and thirdly by handing Ukraine's forces a key operational advantage - all approaches into Crimea are now within range of Ukrainian weapon systems,” Hodges said.

At the end of 2023, Crimea will completely return to Ukrainian control and sovereignty, the expert said.

"Expect more of the same"

David Gendelman, military expert based in Israel, considers a continuation of current tactics more probable - a slow grinding of Ukrainian forces on narrow directions and a slow advance, like in Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas, with possible same tactics in Svatove-Kreminna area.

As Ukrainian News Agency earlier reported, the Russian army threw the largest number of its forces, military equipment and weapons at the Bakhmut direction.

From February 24 to December 27, the total losses of personnel of Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine made approximately 103,220 people.

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