Will the war in Ukraine drag on for years ― and what should the West do if yes. The worldʼs leading media about the war on January 9

Anton Semyzhenko


The Washington Post tries to predict how events in the war will develop in 2023. The beginning of the year rather added optimism to Ukraine: the successful attack on the Russian military base in Makiivka, temporarily occupied by the Russians, proved that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are capable of effectively destroying the enemy deep in its rear, and most importantly, that the Russian army still cannot be called an intelligent enemy. In Russia, the cause of the devastating attack, due to which the occupiers lost at least 80 soldiers dead, is called the mobilized, who, due to inexperience, used mobile phones and thus showed the location of the deployment. But the information that ammunition was stored in the same building next to the manpower shows that the problem is not only in the "mobs", but also in their leadership. Another news that inspires Ukrainians is that the Ukrainian Armed Forces shot down all 45 drones that the Russians used to attack Ukraine in the first days of the new year, trying to spoil the holidays. This means that the Ukrainians are becoming more and more skilled in anti-aircraft combat. The good news is that the West has started supplying light tanks to Ukraine. And the decision of the USA to allocate more than $40 billion to Kyiv will give the country the opportunity to hold out for the whole of 2023. The ex-commander of the US forces in Europe, General Ben Hodges, whose opinion was asked by the publication, is optimistic: he believes that by the end of winter the Russian reserves of manpower and ammunition will be exhausted and Ukraine will be able to actively advance again ― for example, by recapturing Crimea. Instead, an American of Russian descent, head of the Washington-based think tank Silverado Policy Accelerator Dmitri Alperovich, believes that by mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people, the Russians will be able to retain significant territories - but the fate of the war may be decided by riots in the Kremlin or riots among Russian soldiers who are thrown to their deaths without preparation. But if Ukraine fails to achieve decisive success this year, things may get worse, writes WP. Russia is determined for a long-term war: the Kremlin can afford it at the moment, but it is not a fact that Ukraine, with its virtually frozen economy and millions of refugees, and especially the West, are ready to make the same sacrifices. Instead, Moscow knows very well how to turn conflicts into sluggish ones and live with them for years: the territories around Russia are full of such. And the situation with the occupied part of Donbas before the start of a large-scale war was like this. If Ukrainians donʼt end the war now, the West may switch to other problems, and Russia will continue to destroy Ukrainian society and the state ― and, perhaps, in time, it will succeed in this better than last year. "In 2023, I would bet on Ukraine: Zelensky has widespread support [in the world]," says analyst Elizabeth Shackleford from Chicago Council of Global Affairs. "However, after this year, bets will have to be made again."

Putin assures that he is ready for a scenario in which the war will last for years. Ukraine, having no other way out, will fight in these conditions as well. And how should the West act in the conditions of a possible long-term confrontation? Ivo Daalder, head of the Chicago Council on International Policy, and James Goldgeier, a researcher at Stanford University and the Brookings Institution, try to give an answer to this question in an essay for Foreign Affairs. They take as an example not the case of South and North Koreas, when the two countries have lived for decades without concluding peace, but Israel, which, for example, still has not concluded a peace treaty with Syria. The so-called Yom Kipur War in 1973 ended not even with an armistice, but with a so-called de-escalation decision ― and this has been the basis of Israelʼs coexistence with Syria for more than half a century. What did Tel Avivʼs allies do during this time? They helped Israel with weapons to the extent that the surrounding enemies had no chance to conquer it. Sanctions were introduced against the aggressors, isolating them economically and diplomatically. And, in the end, they integrated Israel into the Western economic system. The West should do the same in the case of Ukraine. The US and NATO should provide Kyiv with enough weapons so that it can defend itself against possible new escalations. Also, Washington, despite its increasing concentration on the confrontation with China, should strengthen its European military presence. And the EU should work on the integration of Ukraine into its political and economic systems. Instead, the isolation of Russia should only increase. Yes, Putin can stay in power for a long time, the authors suggest. It is also likely that an even crazier ruler will take his place. But this was already the case with the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century. The West pressured him for forty years ― and even during the time of Ronald Reagan, the most ardent opponent of the USSR among the American presidents, he did not deviate from the diplomatic method of pressure, not resorting to a war of destruction. After all, during this time the state machine of the Soviet Union softened so much that it collapsed. And although during these years, is managed to cause a lot of suffering to others ― despite the threats, it did not destroy the whole world. In the same way, the authors of the essay say, it may come out this time too.