Experts reveal what the winter will bring for the Ukraine war – and why Putin will be banking on Trump | EUROtoday

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The Ukraine war could stay a “stalemate” all through 2024, navy consultants have advised The Independentas hopes fade for a serious breakthrough on this 12 months’s counteroffensive towards Russia.

Delays in Western navy support handed Moscow time to construct closely fortified defences which have largely held up towards months of intense assaults – and constraints in ammunition and weaponry now imply each armies could battle to maintain the present tempo of the war, some analysts consider.

With the prospect of a Middle East battle prone to additional stretch Washington – Ukraine’s largest backer – forward of a US presidential election in November 2024, Vladimir Putin’s technique could now be to protect the present state of the entrance line and “wait it out”, Western consultants say.

Servicemen load a NSV machine gun throughout coaching manoeuvres in Kyiv

(EPA/Oleg Petrasyuk)

With simply weeks seemingly left earlier than seasonal climate modifications dampen offensive efforts in Ukraine, Dr Patrick Bury of the University of Bath stated: “There hasn’t been a breakthrough, there’s been tactical gains, low-level operational gains – but not strategic.”

“What this summer has shown is that [Ukraine] can fight at company level [of around 100 soldiers] but when you go the next level up to the battalion, they just don’t really have the coordinated experience to fight with all the moving parts”, stated Dr Bury, a former Nato analyst and British Army captain.

While the US is because of begin offering F-16 fighter jets subsequent 12 months, the sophistication of the Russian air power means Ukraine will nonetheless battle to realize air superiority, “and you need air superiority really to be able to free up the chance of large-scale manoeuvre”, he added.

Therefore “unless there’s significant widespread packages of training, new weapons and equipment”, Dr Bury stated, “it’s looking like 2024 is a bit of a stalemate” – with any important shifts as a substitute prone to happen off the battlefield.

Agreeing that “we’re [already] seeing a stalemate now”, Dr Frank Ledwidge – a former navy intelligence officer, now at the University of Portsmouth – questioned “whether any tactics would have worked against defenders who [Ukraine] didn’t outnumber three to one”.

A Ukrainian soldier in his place in Avdiivka, Donetsk

(AP Photo/Libkos)

“In the most basic military algorithms, you need an attack ratio of three [troops] to one, and the Ukrainians don’t have anything like that,” he stated. “So barring any significant change in that force ratio there’s no reason really now to assume that future operations will be any different.”

Warning that there are “no game changers”, together with F-16s, Dr Ledwidge likened the state of affairs to the Western Front in 1917, including: “Breakthroughs were made eventually in the First World War, but only when the Americans came in with two million soldiers.”

He added: “Unless somebody has the moral courage to say, ‘Ukraine is highly unlikely to retake all its land’, then this will go on.”

James Nixey, director of the Chatham House suppose tank’s Russia and Eurasia programme, stated: “It does seem as though we’re heading towards a battle for Crimea.”

While noting that Russia is “going all-in” by placing its economic system and society “on a near at total war footing”, which can assist handle ammunition shortages, Mr Nixey stated he agreed that important modifications to the state of affairs in Ukraine will now seemingly “happen off-field”.

“Putin is banking almost everything on a Trump return,” he stated, including that the battle rising in Gaza and Israel – and threatening to grow to be a wider Middle East battle drawing in Hezbollah and Iran – signifies that “attention, resources and funding will be diverted now” from Ukraine.

‘Putin is banking almost everything on a Trump return’


“While it’s true that the US army prepares for two simultaneous separate wars, the reality is that the pie is likely to be smaller – even if Ukraine funding is tagged onto an Israel assistance bid,” stated Mr Nixey.

US president Joe Biden, who lately suffered a setback in securing Congress’s approval for Ukraine support, rejected that prospect this week, telling CBS News: “We’re the United States of America, for God’s sake. The most powerful nation in the history of the world.

“We can take care of both of these and still maintain our overall international defence. We have the capacity to do this and we have an obligation … If we don’t, who does?”

But agreeing {that a} second battle has “certainly got the potential for stretching the US”, Dr Bury and Dr Ledwidge each consider a navy stalemate in Ukraine is subsequently “very satisfactory” to the Russian president.

Israel is getting ready to mount a floor offensive in Gaza after Hamas militants broke by means of the border and massacred a whole bunch of Israelis

(Ariel Schalit/AP)

“Putin’s strategy is just to wait it out,” stated Dr Bury. “Putin’s played a masterstroke here – he’s basically used a nuclear threat to slow down and salami-slice the aid to Ukraine. That’s the effect it’s had.”

“Those threats were enough to make the Biden administration and the Germans very wary” of supplying F-16s, tanks and long-range weaponry, he famous, including: “We got there in the end, but it took time.

“And that, it turned out, gave Russia time to build very good defensive lines and make their problem easier and the Ukrainians’ much harder.”