Pessimistic and optimistic forecasts of the further course of hostilities. The worldʼs leading media about the war on February 14

Anton Semyzhenko


The Defense News profile publication collected the opinions of experts on how events in the Russian-Ukrainian war will unfold. The vast majority of them (mainly experts from the West were interviewed) claim that hostilities will continue for years. Also, this war will be expensive — both in terms of money, and in terms of the number of weapons and human casualties. European and American taxpayers will pay a lot to support Ukraine, but Russia, which is threatened with economic collapse as a result of the war, may spend even more. According to Defense News interlocutors, the main thing that will depend on whether Ukraine wins the war is the American Congress. Only he can provide Kyiv with more weapons here and now, or block the flow of aid. Ukraineʼs most powerful European allies are operating in the US fairway, so they will all be aligned with Washington. His behavior will largely depend on how the Armed Forces will show themselves in the coming months. However, if the Ukrainian army is accompanied by success, this will not mean that the worst of the war is behind us, Benjamin Jensen from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (USA) warns, in particular. When one of the parties loses outright, it resorts to desperate measures. "In wars in the Middle East, even relatively developed and wealthy states, due to combat failures, ended up resorting to indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, the use of chemical weapons, or flooding the battlefield with waves of poorly trained and poorly armed soldiers," says Jensen. — Therefore, if Russia loses, it can use or simply demonstratively test nuclear weapons. If Ukraine loses, Kyiv may resort to contract killings of someone in the highest echelons of the Russian government." Most experts agree that Putin will wage this war as long as he can, because his political and perhaps even physical existence depends on its success. And he will be able to, as long as the majority of Russians tolerate a decrease in their standard of living. Until now, the Russian authorities managed to prevent discontent among the broad masses of the people, but the economy was still relatively "floating". Economists expect significant problems that will hit the middle class and the poorest during the year. The first bell of big troubles in the state will be problems with the payment of pensions. However, until this happens, Ukraine may suffer from a more serious problem: the world simply will not have enough weapons that Kyiv needs. Europe and the USA are deploying their production facilities, but according to some positions, even a several-fold increase in production will not cover the current needs of the Armed Forces. As Mark Kanchyan, an adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, put it, "[the Ukrainian army] is expending ammunition at a phenomenal rate, while the American caches with it are relatively small."

The American publication The Atlantic published a positive forecast for Ukraine regarding the war. Jill Bardnolar, a senior researcher at the Defense Priorities research center, assures that the increase in the number of troops by the Russians will not decide the fate of the war. Now the number of people is not so important: the infantry no longer gathers in crowds, but is forced to hide from accurate shells, drones or snipers. Trained Ukrainian fighters with high-quality equipment will quickly defeat the existing "mobs" — and Putin will have to mobilize again. And in the era of the Internet and social networks, it will become obvious that this is happening because of the failures of the Russian army — so who knows who the new wave of mobilization will create more problems for, Kyiv or the Kremlin. Bardnolar recalls the events of more than a century ago, namely the role of Russia in the First World War. Then the Russian troops also went on the offensive poorly prepared. Then, as now, they lacked guns. A small German army defeated the Russians in the Battle of Tannenberg — and the empire readjusted for a long war. But this alone caused her so many problems that in the end Russia was the first to leave this war. The point of no return had already been passed, and the Russians plunged into further chaos, which led to a change in the state system. Russia has already repeated some of the mistakes of that time.