Five predictions for the next six months in the war in Ukraine | Ukraine

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1. The war is likely to last at least a year, but has essentially stalled and its intensity is waning

Six months of war may be over, but neither Ukraine nor Russia are willing to stop fighting, despite the losses they have suffered. Ukraine wants its occupied territories back and Russia wants to continue hurting not only its opponent, but also the West by proxy. The Kremlin believes winter will play in its favor.

There have been no negotiations between the two sides since evidence emerged of the massacres in Bucha, Irpin and elsewhere in Russian-occupied areas north of Kiev. But since the fall of Lysychansk at the end of June, movement on the front lines has been minimal. Both sides struggle for momentum and seem increasingly exhausted in the battle.

2. Ukraine has no effective conventional counterattack, while guerrilla attacks are an optimistic way to hasten a Russian collapse

Ukraine would like to retake Kherson, west of the Dnieper River, but a senior government leader admitted privately that “we don’t have enough capacity to push them back”. Kiev has shifted its strategy towards deploying long-range missiles and daring special forces attacks on Russian bases deep behind the front lines.

Chief presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said the aim was to “create chaos within the Russian armed forces”, but while this will weaken the invader’s effectiveness, it is not likely to cause invaders to collapse on their own and Kherson to volunteer. admit it, as some Ukrainian officials have hoped.

Russian soldiers patrol an area of ​​the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal, in Mariupol, in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region. Photo: AP

3. Russia still wants to pound its way forward, but its focus is likely to shift to holding on to its gains and annexing Ukrainian territory

Russia has no new offensive plan other than to destroy mass artillery, towns and villages and push its way forward. It does this partly because it is effective, and partly to minimize casualties, as it has lost 15,000 deaths so far by some Western estimates. It continues to follow this strategy around Bakhmut in the Donbas, but progress has been slow, in part because it has had to rearrange a number of forces to bolster Kherson.

The Kremlin may not have achieved what it hoped for at the start of the war, but Russia now owns large swaths of Ukrainian territory to the east and south, and is actively talking about holding annexation referendums. With the colder weather fast approaching, it will likely focus on consolidating what it has.

4. Winter will create another refugee crisis and create an opportunity for those who can prepare best

Winter is at the top of strategic thinking for both parties. Ukraine is already concerned about humanitarian issues over the lack of gas heating for apartment buildings in Donetsk province and other frontline areas. A humanitarian official predicted another wave of migration would come in the winter, with perhaps 2 million people crossing the border into Poland.

The Russians see winter as an opportunity. Ukraine fears that Russia will target its energy grid, exacerbating its heating dilemma, and could simply shut down the massive Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. Moscow also wants to prolong the West’s pain over energy costs and has every reason to increase the pressure.

However, spring may be the time for a renewed attack – each side will want to restock and prepare for what will likely be another battle season.

Nila Zelinska holds a doll of her granddaughter in front of her ruined home in Potashnya, outside Kiev, Ukraine, in May.
Nila Zelinska holds a doll of her granddaughter in front of her ruined home in Potashnya, outside Kiev, Ukraine, in May. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko/AP

5. The the west must decide whether it wants Ukraine to win or just hang on – and it must align humanitarian aid with the huge need

Ukraine would have been defeated without Western military aid. But until now, the West has never supplied enough artillery or other weapons, such as fighter jets, that would enable Kiev to repel the invaders. Politicians talk about the need to force Russia to its pre-war borders, but do not provide enough equipment to do so.

At the same time, Ukraine’s humanitarian needs are growing. For example, there is not nearly enough money for reconstruction – and many houses northeast and northwest of Kiev remain destroyed five months after the Russians left, often with desperate residents living in garages or temporary structures on the property.

People who are internally displaced often have to live in schools or kindergartens, temporary housing where it is difficult for people to stay for long periods of time. Ukraine has a budget deficit of $5 billion a month as a result of the war; aid and reconstruction will cost many times more.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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