Could the war in Ukraine soon come to an end? Expert opinions on a possible defeat of Russia and President Putin differ.
Munich – Is the end of the Ukraine war in sight soon? If one is to believe Putin’s inner circle and Russia’s rulers themselves, the opposite is probably the case. Because in the past few weeks, the rhetoric that the dignitaries have let out from the Kremlin has intensified again. Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov or ex-President Medvedev openly and downright nonchalantly threaten retaliation, crossing the “red line” or possible nuclear strikes against Ukraine and the West. Now President Vladimir Putin himself is increasingly taking up this narrative, which means that a possible end to the war in Ukraine is probably a long way off.
In his recent speech commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad, Putin made an overt threat to the West. “Those who hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield fail to understand that a modern war against Russia will be very different. We don’t send our tanks to their borders – we have other answers…” the Kremlin chief raged in his speech, referring to the current situation in the Ukraine war and beyond.
End of the Ukraine war: Putin uses well-known narratives to distract from Russia’s failures
In order to unite his own population in the Ukraine war, the Kremlin chief uses old enemy images from World War II or the Cold War. Putin’s propaganda plan only partially backfires. In doing so, he covers up the sluggish and unsuccessful “special operation in Ukraine” and glorifies the Russia-Ukraine war as a war against the West. “We are at war with the West. We fight against NATO. Against the German tanks. Putin’s narrative is: the war against the Nazis and against Russia’s enemies never stopped,” explains Bulgarian philosopher and political scientist Ivan Krastev in an interview with Stern.de.
A strategy that has worked so far and currently calls into question an early end to the Ukraine war, but rather nourishes the ground for the feared spring offensive by Russia. Because Putin is not losing the support of a part of Russia’s population in particular and is willing to accept the losses in the Ukraine war. Because Russia’s war of aggression is causing social change in society. The war in the Ukraine creates new opportunities for advancement, above all for those who have failed or been excluded, while the former elite has to tremble before the “true Russians”, who are prepared to die for their fatherland in the war.
Russia-Ukraine war was a ‘huge mistake’ – ‘Defeat is only a matter of time’
But even if support for the Russia-Ukraine war still seems to be high within the country’s own population, there is no doubt in other circles that Putin will lose the Ukraine war. The well-known American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, for example, attests to Russia in an interview t-online.de made a “huge mistake” by invading Ukraine. “In fact, the Russian attack on Ukraine was the biggest strategic mistake I’ve witnessed in my life,” the Stanford University professor continued.
In addition, Fukuyama sees the end of the Ukraine war coming, which will result in a victory for the defenders. “Ukraine can defeat Russia, I have no doubt about that,” Fukuyama continued in the interview. “Putin’s defeat is at most a matter of time.” On the one hand, the political scientist states that Ukraine’s motivation is much higher than that of the Russian invaders, which, among other things, explains Putin’s plans to conquer Kyiv at the beginning of the war, has long since destroyed. And on the other hand, the West is now also supplying battle tanks such as the Leopard 1 or Abrams in the Ukraine war.
End of Ukraine war: “Serious negotiations” on peace between Russia and Ukraine possible
Therefore, in order to bring about an end to the Ukraine war, Fukuyama demanded continued support from Ukraine so that it could retake the territories occupied by Russia. “I don’t think it’s unlikely,” the well-known political scientist continues, “that the Ukrainian army will be able to completely liberate at least the southern part of the country by the summer.” Even an ex-US general is convinced that the “Crimea is the key” to the end of the Ukraine war.
If the current situation in the war in Ukraine shifts and the situation for Putin’s Russia on the illegally annexed Crimea peninsula becomes uncertain, Fukuyama does not even rule out “serious negotiations” between Kyiv and Moscow to end the Ukraine war.
End of the war in Ukraine: “Ukraine will run out of people”
According to Fukuyama, it is important for the end of the Ukraine war “that Ukraine receives very strong guarantees for its continued existence. And it is made very clear to Russia that it does not just have to wait a few years before it can start another war”. Wolfgang Merkel, on the other hand, paints a much darker picture of the fate of Ukraine in the Russian war of aggression during his guest appearance in ZDF. “Ukraine will not run out of weapons, Ukraine will run out of people,” is the prognosis of the political scientist for the Ukraine war in “Markus Lanz”.
The statement by Michael Kofman in the interview with follows a similar approach Mirror online on the current situation in the Ukraine war: “Ukraine does not have the luxury of choosing its battles.” The military expert’s statement is limited to the battle for Bakhmut, but it could change as part of Putin’s war strategy and the feared Russian revenge of a major offensive on the anniversary of the invasion to other fronts in Ukraine.
Ukraine war soon to be over: no peace negotiations or peace treaty – standoff modeled on North Korea
That’s why the political scientist Ivan Krastev also takes part in the interview stern.de no end to the Ukraine war in the conventional sense with peace negotiations and a final peace treaty between Ukraine and Russia. He doesn’t even say a word about Putin’s possible admission of defeat. In his view, perhaps the only key to ending Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is NATO’s admission to Kiev.
An independent, sovereign Ukraine that stands “one-to-one with Russia” is a hardly acceptable solution for Putin. “It would be easier for him with NATO. It’s easier to make a deal with the Americans than with the Ukrainians,” says the expert, formulating his approach to a possible end to the war in Ukraine. For its part, Ukraine will “demand concessions” – in the form of EU and NATO membership – if the West presses it into territorial compromises in order to end the war.
As a possible scenario for the end of the war in Ukraine, the Bulgarian Krastev considers a stalemate “like between the two Koreas” to be more likely than a peace treaty. Because Vladimir Putin would be able to save face despite the failure of his special operation, since an isolation similar to North Korea’s Russia would then not be imminent, since Russia, according to Krastev, “is isolated from the West”. “But not from the rest of the world.” What the show the lucrative deals that Putin has with states like China or India despite the Russia-Ukraine war cheerfully continues and flushes a lot of money into the Russian war chest. (mst)
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