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Hostilities in Ukraine could drag on until 2025: Under what condition

Hostilities in Ukraine could drag on until 2025: Under what condition Photo: Expert outlines condition under which hostilities in Ukraine may drag on until 2025 (Getty Images)

The forecast for the end of the Ukraine war directly depends on the positions that the Ukrainian forces can achieve this year and in 2024. If Ukrainian defenders remain in the same areas as they are now, combat operations may drag on until 2025.

Military expert Serhii Hrabskyi commented to RBC-Ukraine about the likely scenarios for the war and what they depend on.

Russia is unable to conduct large-scale offensive operations

We can say that strategically, Russia has proven incapable of conducting offensive operations. Everything it is currently doing is attempting to hold its positions on all active front lines. The enemy is unable to conduct large-scale offensive operations, even where they have numerical superiority in forces and resources. Evidence one can observe in the Kupiansk and Lyman directions, where the enemy, despite having the resources, has failed to take advantage of the situation. They have the manpower, but there are certain problems in providing them with weapons and equipment.

What is the forecast for 2024

We can discuss forecasts for 2024, depending on the positions we achieve in 2023. We can only make conclusions based on how events may develop today. If our advance and breakthrough to the south are successful, it will lead to the collapse of the enemy's front.

A scenario close to being fantastic includes our breakthrough to the coast of the Azov Sea, physically cutting off a land corridor. This basically leads to the collapse of the enemy's southern front. Therefore, our efforts will focus on clearing those territories and preparing for operations in the east.

But operations in the East will depend not only on how successful our actions are in the South but also on how, when, and with what we are supplied in terms of weapons and military equipment, either by our partners or ourselves.

It is important to understand that in the East, particularly in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, defense lines have been prepared for a long period of time. Secondly, these territories have a different level and philosophy of conducting war because, unlike the open steppes of the South, in the East, the enemy operates in conditions of dense urban building. We only need to look at our own experience. The enemy took 400 days to advance from the contact line to Bakhmut, covering just 45 kilometers. It is unrealistic to expect that this task for us will be like a leisurely walk.

That's why I emphasize that to talk about any offensive operations, we need to understand what we will have at the time when we are ready or have the desire and capability to conduct the operation.

If we achieve only some successes in the South by the end of the year, it will require the continuation and development of this advance. In that case, the operation in the East will be postponed, and we will engage in defensive battles to prevent a possible breakthrough by the enemy.

If we talk about the least optimistic scenario, it assumes that this year and the next one we will consolidate and stop at the areas where we are now. Accordingly, hostilities under such conditions are prolonged until 2025.

To summarize, 2024 is shaping up to be a year that will not mark the final victory for us.

In fact, we are already talking about a protracted war. It has been ongoing for over a year and a half, longer than all the active operations conducted in the 21st century. Thus, it's already a fact. It's important to understand that this confrontation is not just between Russia and Ukraine; it's a confrontation between Western civilization and the aggressor. Certain forces of other authoritarian regimes are rallying around this aggressor, and the world is mobilizing to resist. It is a long-term confrontation.

Everyone understands that no one was prepared for such a war. The world is only beginning to achieve industrial scales of military aid and creating conditions for self-arming. It is also evidence that this war has already taken on a protracted character and will continue for some time. We must be prepared for a long-term confrontation and be mobilized.