March 30, 2023

Ukraine’s continued progress is by no means certain.

There is no sign of a large-scale Russian withdrawal, and Russian forces have been attacking Ukrainian positions and pounding Ukrainian towns and villages. Where Ukraine has the advantage, the Russian military can find a way to dig in, hold the front and wait out the winter, when the ground is frozen and progress is difficult. After a period of rapid maneuvering, the war could slow down and return to war, with Russia willing to push Ukraine back and destroy populated areas with artillery.

But recent successes in Ukraine have reshaped the war as well as the politics of the battlefield. It now seems unlikely that Western countries will withdraw military support for Ukraine, which has proven essential. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is facing unusual criticism at home for recent losses in the military — and concerns from China’s leader, Xi Jinping, Russia’s most powerful partner.

In this climate, Russia’s central problem – the lack of trained, motivated fighters – cannot be easily solved. Mr Putin’s announcement on Wednesday of a “partial mobilization” of people with military experience that would call up some 300,000 troops could help supplement Russian forces. But the quality of new recruits is unclear, and it can take time to organize and deploy them, limiting their immediate impact on the battlefield.

Although it is still considered unlikely, it is now possible to imagine that continued Ukrainian successes could lead to a decline in Russian morale and fighting ability, said Mr Mujica, an analyst at Rochan Consulting. Wrote on Monday.

“It is no longer science fiction that war will end in weeks, months, years,” Mr Musica wrote.

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