What will happen to Ukraine?

March 13, 2022 • 11:00 am

Most of us, including me, aren’t political pundits, but I’m providing a space for people to prognosticate about the Ukraine. This is not a poll, just a place to tell others what you’re thinking.

I’ll give my own view of Ukraine’s future:

1.) Ukraine will lose the “special military operation” to Russia. This seems to me a foregone conclusion, even though some are still hoping that Ukraine will push out the Russian Army. I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance of hell in that.

2.) Russia will continue its scorched-earth policy, and Ukrainians will fight on courageously, until Zelensky realizes the inevitable and surrenders. I predict that the Russians will want an unconditional surrender.

3.) Many more will die on both sides, and far too many civilians since they appear to be deliberately targeted by Russia. Not one person had to die; it is Putin’s decision to launch this killing spree.

4.) The big question: what will be the political fate of Ukraine? I predict that it will either become Russian territory or a Russian puppet state, ruled by a Russian-picked stooge. It will be like the Eastern Bloc countries before 1989. And it will be depopulated (2.7 million of its inhabitants have already become refugees).

5.) Zelensky will most likely be captured unless he manages to escape. If he is captured, the Russians will surely imprison him and may kill him. (If they do get Zelensky, I predict he won’t want to be taken alive.)

6.) Russia will continue to be a pariah state, economically punished and its people suffering from the sanctions.

7.) The second big question: does Putin have ambitions to take over more territory beyond Ukraine? This I don’t know. The obvious targets are the Baltic states, and even Poland has been mentioned, but those are members of NATO and that alliance is obliged by treaty to defend them if they’re invaded.

What I’d want, of course, would be for Ukraine to win and Putin and others be tried for war crimes. But both of these are off the table. (I keep hoping that Mossad would somehow kidnap Putin the bring him to the Hague for trial.)

Of course my opinion isn’t worth more than anyone else’s, much less those who do have greater insight into the situation. But weigh in below.

93 thoughts on “What will happen to Ukraine?

  1. “does Putin have ambitions to take over more territory beyond Ukraine?”

    Yes. This much is clear, I think. The only question is whether or not he’ll be able to act out his ambitions.

      1. I agree. It seems pretty clear now that Russia does not have the economic capability to maintain the military operations it would take to do so. I also think that by invading Ukraine Putin has started the clock ticking on the end of his rule. Maybe next week, or next year, but I don’t think he can avoid it.

  2. You have missed one, quite probable, option: that the war descends into an insurgency. The problem for the Russians is that it will take hundreds of thousands of troops to control Ukraine – something that Russia cannot afford. It will be a proxy war between Nato and Russia with light weapons (NLAW is a good choice) being smuggled across the border.

    1. In time, at a great cost, Russia may defeat Ukraine’s conventional forces. But, I agree with you that the “victory” will by Pyrrhic at best. There will be an insurgency that could go on for decades. Russia will be bled dry as was the case in its occupation of Afghanistan. This, in combination with crippling sanctions, will result in the collapse of the Russian economy and society. What will result from these ruins is unpredictable. In the meantime, the world will be in a state of continual tension as the specter of World War III will loom. China will attempt to take advantage of the situation, perhaps attacking Taiwan. The result of all this is that Russia’s attack on Ukraine will be viewed as a seminal event of the 21st century, resulting in catastrophes we can only barely imagine.

      1. Yes. As many military experts and scholars have noted regarding “low intensity” warfare, committed guerilla troops that are supplied by actors outside the area of conflict can maintain an insurgency against a state military nearly indefinitely, or at least as long as those supplying them continue to do so. It seems pretty clear that both of those conditions are met here. Ukrainians, and many others on their behalf, seem to be very committed to fighting against Russia, and not just one but many other countries are clearly very committed to supplying the Ukrainian forces.

        Either one of those can of course change over time, but right now it looks like even if Russia manages to take control of Ukraine to the extent that it is able to install a puppet government, the only thing Russia is going to get out of Ukraine is a steady loss of resources and blood. And throughout this Russia won’t just be facing this quagmire, they’ll be facing it with an economy that is failing because nearly the entire rest of the world has stopped doing business with them. And the further they go down this road the more likely it becomes that Putin dies at the hands of his own people.

      2. It seems to me – and I hate saying this – is that it is expedient for Ukraine to surrender now and let the guerrilla war proceed to drain Russia. This to preserve the Ukraine infrastructure as best as one can against heavy weaponry used in this earlier stage of the war.

    2. Agreed. This is going to bog down the Russian army for years, with high casualties, unless and until someone takes out Putin.

    3. I agree with bonetired. In my ignorance of the details, it is unclear to me whether it will end like Chechnya or like Afghanistan. Russia cares about Ukraine much more than it did about Afghanistan, but the population of Ukraine is much larger than that of Afghanistan in the Russian occupation era. The close ties between Russians and Ukrainians may also make a scorched-earth policy harder to implement with Russian soldiers.

    4. None of the above chimes with history or with realpolitik as practised by the “great powers”; Putin won’t even try to absorb the Ukraine – instead look at what happened to France 1870:-
      – the German forces quickly defeated Napoleon III in the field (Napoleon III abdicated and we saw the Paris Commune struggle through until a peace treaty in 1871).
      – Putin wants something similar, a latter day version of the French 3rd Republic in effect effete + powerless + strategically irrelevant.

    1. After reading, I agree that it is a must-read. Scarry shit, to be sure, and easily understood. Yet, while writing such a thorough and intensive analysis of this new world war and how we got here, I was surprised he didn’t mention the Christian white-nationalists fomentation of Putin’s propaganda here in the US and Putin’s use of the Orthodox church for his own ideological ends. That could have been point 11, I suppose- Religion Poisons Everything.

      Either way, thanks for the link, I’ll be sharing it.

      1. I agree about the Christian nationalists, Mark. I noticed that some of the commenters to Abramson’s article made the same point you did.
        For more on the danger of Christian nationalists, here’s a recent video from Seth Andrews.
        https://youtu.be/eRiFsjEqGpA

      2. Speaking of people who have been pushing Putin’s propaganda, OANN and Tucker Carlson are reporting that Biden has somehow put illegal bio weapons labs in the Ukraine, which was the justification for invasion. China has jumped on this propaganda bandwagon, as well, apparently

        1. Fox News national security reporter Jennifer Griffin, who reports actual facts on occasion, had to disabuse the network’s learning-impaired evening-host Sean Hannity about this last week:

          https://twitter.com/i/status/1501744772188307460

          Ukraine contains Soviet-era bio and chemical weapons labs, which the US has been helping Ukraine (off and on, depending on whether the Ukrainian president is legitimately elected or a Putin puppet) safely dismantle in the years since the Soviet Union’s demise.

          The bullshit pushed by Carlson and others is Putin dezinformatsiya, pure and simple.

          1. Oh yeah I’ve seen this repeated on FB by the radicalized QAnon Christian death cultists (it’s all wrapped up together).

            1. “It’s all wrapped up together.” Indeed. How f’n crazy is that? People running around now, in the millions, who think they’re fighting the “real fight” have no clue what they’re fighting against, just what they’re fight for, and it’s a spiritual Armageddon. Many on high are already hedging for that outcome. It’s an impossible conundrum to crack afaik. I’ve lost hope that smarter people than me are in-charge. They are! But they don’t understand the radicalization you cite.

              1. I’ve come to accept that whenever I think smarter people are in charge, they aren’t. There are smarter people but they aren’t in charge; they are probably being ignored by the people in charge because the people in charge only care about what makes them personally look good & remain in charge.

    2. That’s an excellent piece — keen analysis, supported by well-established fact.

      Thanks for the link, Stephen.

    3. I am wondering why you admire the ideas of Seth Abramson. He seems to have a very poor track record. I don’t find him reliable.

      1. Fair question, Emily. I do not admire Abramson’s ideas wholesale. I am recommending this particular article of his because, out of the many by various authors I have been reading lately, this one, for me, clearly describes the many aspects of the current war in historical context, analyses them thoroughly, and reaches conclusions from these analyses that follow logically and sensibly. I’m not aware of his poor track record or unreliability in either his factfinding or predictions. Could you give me some examples?

        1. I wondered if he was someone you followed, so that you had reason to have good faith about his work in general. I don’t know anything about him other than what anyone with an internet connection can discover, so I regret making a sweeping statement about his reliability. When I looked at the link you provided, I concluded he is alarmist in the extreme. I would agree with his own assessment that his writing veers towards “the ludicrously paranoid.” I certainly hope it does. His view is too grim for me to embrace.

    4. I read that, thank-you. I think it’s very good especially the part about the US election and how this will determine the war in Ukraine. I’m sure Putin is thinking about how to sway that all to his favour.

  3. I think your assumption that Russia will win the war is off the mark. They will not win any kind of conventional ground war. Their armed forces have been shown to be utterly inadequate to the task.

    Ukraine is a huge country and Russia is just nibbling round the edges. They’ve committed practically all the armed forces they have in the area and every day whittles down their expensive equipment. They don’t have a hope in hell of conquering Ukraine.

    Of course they can resort to terror bombing, but the only time that has ever worked was in August 1945 and Japan was already on the brink anyway. The experience of the UK, Germany and Japan before the atom bombs suggests that the populace has a long way to go before it breaks.

    The only thing I feel very confident about predicting is that a lot more people are going to die. However, this is already a strategic loss for Russia which is exposed as the husk of the super power that was the USSR and I think it will go very badly for Putin on a personal level.

    1. The Russian invasion definitely does not go as planned (they obviously thought that the Ukrainian government would quickly collapse), but nevertheless, it is progressing. Ukraine already lost most of the coastal region and they are also loosing soldiers and equipment (not just the Russians). Their eastern troops are in the danger of being cut off and encircled. And Ukraine itself is a war zone, the Russians can attack both military and civil infrastructure, while the Ukrainians cannot hit back in that regard.

      1. The Ukrainians are being resupplied with Western weapons that work. The Ukrainians are fighting on their own land which means that they don’t have a logistical nightmare and, of course, they are much more highly motivated. At the start of the war, their army numbered about 200,000 with at least as many reservists, many of whom have combat experience.

        We’re three weeks in and Russia isn’t really more than 100 miles into Ukraine anywhere. Their armed forces are totally inept. They are in for a very long haul that’s going to suck them dry.

        1. 1. 2.5 weeks at the time when you wrote this, and it was originally not meant to be a large scale war, because they thought Ukraine would immediately fold. So they had to redo their plans. The real war started less than 2 weeks ago. That was not enough for Nazi Germany to finish Poland and they went in with full force and with the intent of full conquest from the let go.
          2. Ukraine is not a small country by any means, but not really huge either. 100 miles is a big depth. For example 100 miles intrusion both from north-east and the Azov Sea coast towards Dnipro means the country is pretty much split and the eastern part is de facto cut off.

          I hope the best for Ukraine and I think there is even some chance for some kind negotiated peace (I mean before the war runs its full course), but I also think you are overly optimistic about their odds in this war.

    2. My thoughts? Russia will win the military war. But it has already lost the political war and will also lose the economic war. Uprisings und partisan fights will add to it.

  4. One result of all this – the West has become more unified. If they maintain this attitude, and keep to the NATO agreement, and maintain strict sanctions, it may end Putin’s career. After that, Ukraine may arise from the ashes.

        1. I was initially strongly in favor of supplying Polish MiGs to Ukraine (as well as any other matériel Ukraine needs to defend itself), but it’s my understanding now that there’s a consensus among the NATO allies that the MiGs in question would be ineffective for Ukraine’s needs.

          So, to answer your question, given current information, I think he would not.

  5. I’m not an expert either, but being retired, I spend all too much time following events (and fighting off the resulting depression). But I think two conclusions are justifiable at this point:

    1. Russia will “win” militarily. But I use the quotation marks because
    2. It has already lost with respect to its place in the world. As Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare put it, Russia has gone from an authoritarian but nominally capitalist state to the equivalent of North Korea in one week.

    So two pieces that came out today that caught my attention. First, David Rothkopf, a Democratic Beltway insider, published a twitter thread in which he argues that at this point, Putin’s goal is simply the destruction of Ukraine, and given that nuclear sanity makes a military response by the US/Nato unlikely, we have to hunker down for prolonged economic and cultural isolation of Russia in response (https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1502983563020537857.html).

    Second, from a geopolitical standpoint, right now the big question is China, upon whose support Russia is likely to be increasingly dependent. In today’s New York Times, Wnag Huiyao, president of a China-based think tank, suggests that China is not thrilled about the war and would benefit from some sort of military disengagement (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/13/opinion/china-russia-ukraine.html).

    Finally, I do recommend following Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman, both of whom have published extensively in the past few weeks. I heard Vindman on a Lawfare podcast broadcast the day the war started, and at the time I thought he was too pessimistic about probable outcomes. Unfortunately, is now appears that he wasn’t.

    1. Nicholas II was dead at 50.
      Lenin at 53.
      Stalin at 74.
      Brezhnev at 75.
      (Andropov dropped off at 70, after just 15 months in office.)

      Khrushchev was ousted at 74, and Gorby at 60, the same age at which Yeltsin resigned.

      Russian leaders aren’t famous for their longevity.

  6. “This seems to me a foregone conclusion, even though some are still hoping that Ukraine will push out the Russian Army. I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance of hell in that.” – I agree, the chances of the Russians being kicked out militarily are zero.

    But Russia won’t be able to control Ukraine, either. Professor Michael Clarke, who specialises in defence studies and is a former Director of the Royal United Services Institute, estimated on BBC Radio 4 this morning that Putin would need a minimum of 600,000 troops in Ukraine – scaling up to match the Russian behaviour in Chechnya would require six million! Clarke foresees a gruesome war of attrition that could potentially end when President Xi tells Vlad enough is enough.

    You can hear the discussion here, starting at 13:03 minutes in (the view of the situation from the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence begins before it, at 07:50): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00159x8

    1. Sadly, Israel seems to be trying to sit on the fence. They scarcely even condemned the Russian destruction of the Babi Yar holocaust memorial. And they have allowed all too many of Putin’s cronies, including Abramovich, to take refuge in Israeli passports.

      1. The only question any Israeli government should ever ask in an international crisis is, “What is best for the Jews?” The world does not like Jews and the government would be negligent, possibly fatally so, if they went at a problem like this in any other way. If Israel has to sit on the fence, it’s what the government believes is best for the Jews. That is a moral position; it also just is.

        The goal of a post-1945 Zionist state is to provide a refuge for Jews against another Shoah. No other country is constituted under that obligation. All countries have interests. But none quite like Israel’s.

        I don’t want this to veer off into a long dispute about the Middle East. I just wanted to say that Israel has good reasons, particular to it, for keeping its head down. It has made compromises that it has to live with, and will. We can’t expect its assassins to take out Putin just because it would be a huge favour to us.

        1. The only question any Israeli government should ever ask in an international crisis is, “What is best for the Jews?”

          I well-understand the special concerns at issue in these instances. But the blanket statement above seems to me a bit too close for comfort to “America First” — the approach championed by Father Coughlin, Charles Lindbergh, and others that led the US to turn away the MS St. Louis in 1939.

          To me, “never again” means “never again anywhere” — a sentiment, I believe, with which many Jews would agree.

          1. “One is too many,” was the sentiment that caused our government to turn away that ship when it came our turn.
            I meant not, “What’s best for Israel?” but “What’s best for the Jews, anywhere?” Got to be a hard question to answer in practice. I can’t speak for what Jews agree on but if that’s the position the Israeli state adopts in their name, I’m with it.

    2. One brave Russian hero who can get access to Putin is al you need: sacrificing his life for his country for peace. But, thinking like a movie director wanting an action movie with a great twist: Israel going along with Russia quietly, hanging low, giving the right noises, ….and then assassinating Putin. Mossad has done some pretty risky stuff….and won. Admittedly Putin is paranoid about everyone so this might be a long shot. But one can hope.It definitely will make a great movie.

  7. Oops, I meant to add that my preferred option is that the Russian troops in Ukraine realise the futility and abhorrence of fighting their Ukrainian brothers, become aware of the poverty that the pointless war is causing their relatives at home, and “vote with their feet” like their forebears did on the Eastern front in 1917. Impossible? Perhaps – but then that’s what the Tsar thought 105 years ago…

  8. I think Putin will find a way to “declare” victory and retreat back to Russia with the agreement that the West remove sanctions. No doubt leaving with the threat of returning anytime he wishes. A threat that will make Ukraine fearful of every joining NATO.

  9. There is a fascinating political entity called the ‘Union State‘, currently a supranational organization binding Russia and Belarus (How is that for an imbalanced union). I would not be surprised to see a new leader of Ukraine opting in to the Union State. I fully expect Russia to attack further countries once it has consolidated power in Ukraine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_State

  10. In the Winter War of 1939-40, Finland’s ferocious defense inflicted a temporary bloody nose on the Red Army. As a result, Stalin settled for far less than complete dominance under the Soviet puppet Otto Kuusinen (whose fake regime the Soviet forces actually formed at the war’s outset) and allowed Finland to retain its independence. An outcome like this, with “Finlandization” for Ukraine, has been
    proposed by, among others, Anatol Lieven. Whether or not this could happen depends on whether Putin and the siloviki around him who conduct his dictatorship have as much humanity and/or pragmatism as Stalin had. That is, of course, hard to assess. Stalin grew up under the absolute rule of Tsar Nicholas II. Putin and his gang, in contrast, grew up under Marxism-Leninism: their mentalities were formed from this experience, that of the “New Soviet Man”.

  11. Unless Putin is assassinated or overthrown before it can happen, which is unlikely, he will “win” in Ukraine. However, to do so he will have to take some horrific actions. It’s going to be very, very ugly. Ukraine has done a good job fighting so far and will do even better with the influx of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and with more practice using them. Pretty soon Putin will realize that his plans will take too long for his purposes with an invasion and the cost will be too high. He will therefore resort to long-range, very destructive weapons.

    Putin wants to take more than just Ukraine but won’t be able to any time soon. The price will be seen as too high. He’s destroyed his country’s economy and even though the West is known to have a short attention span, it won’t be that short. Other countries are already trying to join NATO and/or the EU in order to protect themselves. I can’t see them being denied by the West completely.

    China and India are big questions here. They were probably ok with the invasion if it was all over in a few days but will be much, much less ok with a complete destruction of another sovereign country. I look for them to start reconsidering their position on Russia and Ukraine real soon now.

  12. Two questions:
    Don’t you think it is a bad idea to kill Zelenski to make a hero out of him?
    Do you know any other way to stop extermination Russians of Donbas region other then what Putin have chosen?

    1. About Donbas, you’re kidding, aren’t you? I mean, seriously?

      Yes, if Zelensky dies, it will be during fighting or by his own hand. I suspect that if the Russians capture him alive, he’ll be put in prison for a long time. They’re not going to let him go free, as he’d cause a ton of trouble for the Russians.

    2. The pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region started it. And Ukrainian military actions against them are entirely within their rights in response to provocations from the separatists who were also reportedly being backed by Russian forces.
      I don’t have verification, but have read a claim that more than one attempt has been made at assassinating Zelinski. If true, then someone in Red Square thinks its a good idea.

  13. Also acting against Ukraine – they are only just over 1/3 fully COVID-vaccinated, and polio has emerged, too. But on the plus side, several people inside a tank seems a good breeding ground for COVID, too.

  14. I predict a continued Pyrrhic victory for Putin. He may shell Kyiv into oblivion (like Dresden) and then try to occupy what’s left with a long and costly battle with Ukrainian insurgents. He won’t stop until he is stopped. He will continue to crack down on the Russian population, causing the young and educated, who have not directly experienced the USSR but who have grown up with stories of these dark times from parents and older siblings, to flee until he prevents emigration. Already young males are fleeing their military obligations and who can blame them? The united free world will continue sanctioning Russia which will destroy the Russian economy, which will cause further civil unrest, which will cause further crack downs. None of this is sustainable for Russia, whose economy relies on fossil fuels that fewer countries will buy. Putin hasn’t updated his mindset or playbook and he’s doomed to relive it all again.

    1. What countries who are current customers of Russian oil, other than the United States, plan to stop buying it? The UK intends to phase it out by the end of this year and the EU hopes to stop by 2030….by which time all current government leaders will be out of office and the pledge can be forgotten, like the Budapest pledge to guarantee Ukrainian security. There are still scuzzy countries who will be happy to keep buying Russian oil at sky-high prices. Russia could develop those markets and stop supplying to the EU, in favour of those other customers, long before the EU wants to stop buying. On oil and gas, the EU needs Russia more than Russia needs the EU. It’s true that the rich countries are better customers for oil because air travel, transport trucks, and private cars figure more in everyday life than they do in poorer countries. But you sell what you have, and many countries outside Europe are middle-income, not poor.

      I don’t know to what degree these phase-out plans were contingent on the world’s Number 4 oil producer — that’s us, still fully half as much oil pumped per day as Saudi Arabia — stepping up to the plate, the leader of which just had to mumble about not having the infrastructure to help Europe out in any way with oil or gas. So sorry. (The BBC story linked below about the phase-out plans was date-lined before the PM’s announcement just as he was getting on the plane for home. Let’s hope Canada’s uselessness had already been factored into the adult countries’ decision-making.)

      Or are windmills and our old standby lignite coal going to bring Russia to its knees?. Maybe so.
      Steven Colbert drives a Tesla, after all. The EU, with no oil or gas but lots of coal really should electrify its transportation and space heating ASAP with reliable, domestically sourced fuel, no matter what that does to emissions. Electric cars emit less than gasoline even if the electricity comes from coal, odd as it sounds. Uranium from Ukraine is probably a non-starter now.

      Sanctions are an essential response to show we can do the right thing. I just don’t think they will do much to undermine Putin’s oil profits in his lifetime. Other pain, yes. But not oil.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60125659 A link in the story goes to an article from the day before citing Bloomberg’s figures on oil production (not exports. Production.)

  15. It’s impossible to say. At this point it looks like Putin has miscalculated, and his invasion has bogged down. The Ukrainians clearly have the will to fight, but do they have the food and arms? If Putin manages to scare off countries that wish to send arms and ammunition, he may, yet, win, but it’s clearly going to require a greater effort. Although he appears to have a lot of power in reserve, can he bring it to bear, given other Russian defensive considerations (and what appear to be the administrative short-comings of the Russian military)? Will Belorussia actively join the war? Then there is the question of the effects of sanctions on the Russian economy and populace. For the Ukrainians the question is will they have the matériel to continue organized resistance? Since Biden has said he will not go to war, that leaves other countries in a bad spot. It essentially gives Putin a free hand, and countries like Poland have to do their own arithmetic about whether they can take the risk of Russian retaliation without US backing. If it comes to that, no insurgency has ever succeeded without external aid. My bet is that Putin will not give up. His prestige is at stake. Can the Ukrainians outlast Putin?

    Side note: “Scorched earth” refers to a defensive strategy of destroying while retreating anything that could be of use to an invader, as the Portuguese did in the face of French invasion in 1810. The Napoleonic war in the Iberian Peninsula, by the way, established the idea of guerilla warfare (guerrilla meaning “little war”) in modern thought.

  16. As I have said here before, Ukraine does not have to win, they just have to not lose. Many eventual victories in history have occurred in this way. Just look at the United States for that example. Our chances against Great Britain were almost none. Yet how did it turn out. How about Vietnam. Iraq, Afghanistan. Why is Russia expected to win in this one, especially after seeing how poorly they have started. Russia’s chances of this thing ending in success gets thinner as time goes on. The pain has not even had a chance to set in throughout Russia and lots of pain is coming. How many people does Putin lock up and for how long. He is already going to mercenaries to fight his war. His own army is not very good and looking worse everyday. Russia’s economy will slowly crumble and Putin will eventually go with it. Most likely his own people will finish him off.

    1. This could well happen exactly as you say. I don’t think it is wishful thinking, as some will.
      Daily Telegraph interview with Taras Kuzio 11 March.
      Ukraine: Demoralised & incompetent, Putin’s army is doomed | Taras Kuzio interview

      1. Apologies to Jerry. I used the coding called out in Da Roolz for posting Youtube videos but it still embedded instead of just showing a clickable link.
        The URL is https colon double slash www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=a2awysdmPhQ

        1. Thanks for putting this up. I have listened to most of it. This guy knows what he is talking about and is really interesting.

          1. I concur. Thanks for posting this. I see things the same way, and have been wondering when the UN will decide to go in for humanitarian reasons.

            I figure that Ukraine will prevail, though it will be too interesting times for them and Europe. I’m concerned about Xi coddling Putin. The former is way more rational than the latter who is no more than a sociopath, as Kuzio says.

    1. Thanks for this! FSB was the source of the tip to the assassination squad headed for Zelenskyy, right? At the time it was revealed I thought it was incredibly unwise and naive for that aspect to have been revealed, and suspect that that is what’s behind the arrests.

  17. M’routine e v e r y early morning now:
    i) wake up
    ii) check up upon Mr ZelenskYY
    iii) coffee.

    In to me from a friend although he knows me
    as a pacifist who does not warrant killing:

    Moscow woman buys a newspaper.
    Opens it up. Glances at front page. Stat throws it in trashcan beside vendor.
    Next morning – – – same.
    Next morning – – – same.
    Next morning – – – same. And vendor queries, ” Why do you do that ? ! ”

    ” O, I am just checking for an obituary, ”

    ” B u u u u t … … the obituaries are NOT on the front page. ”

    Her: ” O, the one I am looking for … … WILL be. ”

    Blue

  18. Ukraine doesn’t have a chance, save a coup in Russia

    It will be absorbed into Russia & its leaders, at least those who don’t escape, will be murdered

    The odds of a wider war, even a nuclear war are not trivial

    1. Well, yes, but from the story:

      Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the U.S. has not “seen anything that indicates some sort of imminent chemical or biological attack right now,” but emphasized the department is “watching this very, very closely.”

  19. US officials report that Russia is asking China for unspecified military assistance in Ukraine.

    https://www.ft.com/content/30850470-8c8c-4b53-aa39-01497064a7b7?desktop=true&segmentId=d8d3e364-5197-20eb-17cf-2437841d178a#myft:notification:instant-email:content

    Even if they are only asking for specific technical aid, such as drones, this is a very bad look for the Russian military.

    Can Russia “win” in Ukraine? Originally I thought they would roll through the country quickly, as they did in Afghanistan, and the question would be the stability of their puppet regime. Now it seems they’re really struggling to take their initial objectives. This doesn’t mean the Ukrainians can “win” in the sense of pushing them back over the borders in a conventional fight. It does cast doubt on the Russian’s ability take the entire territory. They will have to bring in a truly massive additional amount of manpower and resources.

    Some experts claim the war will cost Russia in excess of $20 billion a day. It’s hard to seem how Putin can sustain this. The longer this drags out, the more a comparison with Finland and the Winter War seems accurate, and the less likely Putin will attempt a repeat with another country. If they can make this painful enough, Ukraine may be able to negotiate some sort of settlement, although this could carve up the country. A miserable best case scenario, but better than what most people originally expected.

  20. To my surprise, and I think to many others as well, Russia is surprisingly poor and weak, and not much of a superpower after all. Except for the nukes, of course. Their GDP is smaller than any of the three biggest state GDPs in the USA: California,Texas, or New York. Florida’s GDP comes in just below Russia. Canada’s GDP is about the same as Russia, with one quarter of the population.

    Russia can’t really afford an army of the sort it would like to have. It has some nice planes in its air force, but it dare not use them because they are too expensive to operate, repair, or replace. It is woefully behind on all the basic things like maintenance, to the point where tires are blowing out on its vehicles. Their communication is not encrypted and easy to monitor.

    So Russia has already established for the world to see that it is not as powerful as it pretends to be. That is a big loss for them already. It remains to be seen what else will happen.

  21. It seems that I’m a minority here, but I predict that Russia will not win. Or, at least, the invasion will grind to a halt long before it gets to Lviv. The invasion is not sustainable for Russia, in terms of cost, loss of equipment, and soldiers killed and injured. And when tens of thousands of badly wounded soldiers return to Russia that cannot be hidden. They’re only doing remotely well in the South East where they have support from separatist locals.

  22. I would love to see the Ukrainians win and for Putin to be deposed or worse. But that’s not what I think will happen. We’re only three weeks into a war that might grind on for years.

    My guess is that the Russians will eventually take most of southern Ukraine and then encircle Kyiv. After a horrifying siege the city will fall. Zelensky will die in the fighting or be murdered by the Russians.

    Putin will then break Ukraine into pieces. He will install a puppet in Kyiv, setting aside that area as a rump state. The breakaway Eastern provinces will be directly absorbed into Russia. The rest will serve as a buffer zone. Putin will tell separatists that western Ukraine is theirs to take and will stand back and watch as militias spread terror and disunity.

    Russia will turn into North Korea, becoming even more impoverished under the role of a small, kleptocratic ruling party. But oil will cushion the blows of sanctions, since less scrupulous countries will still buy it.

    After wrecking Ukraine Russia will pick on nearby countries that aren’t under NATO’s umbrella. Belarus, Georgia, and Kazakhstan will lose territory and resources to their neighbor.

    Putin will die in his bed at the age of 99 and pass the state on to a hand-picked toady. The Russians will venerate him the way North Koreans venerate the Kims.

    I would love for the future to prove me wrong.

    1. “…the way North Koreans venerate the Kims”

      I am about as far from admiring the leaders of North Korea since 1953 as it is possible to be. However the original movement was the chief source of resistance to the Japanese before 1945. In your fantasy about a Putin dynasty, that man has nothing comparable in his record for the veneration of which you speak.
      Perhaps it is merely an attempt by you at some sort of black humour.

      1. One can question the sincerity of the North Korean people’s veneration for Kims 1, 2 and 3. Life in NK may be pretty awful for the average person but they are all well aware that failure to show the right level of enthusiastic veneration for the Dear Leader can result in it becoming a whole lot worse. That is the way it often works with absolute dictators and I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect that large parts of the Russian population will deem it prudent to keep anything but fulsome support for Putin well out of public view. I hope that somehow Putin gets kicked out and made to answer for his crimes but if he does not it seems perfectly possible that he will end up being venerated by Russians *the way* North Koreans venerate the Kims.

  23. Russia eventually will lose. As the losses of its military is pilling up, the advancement will gradually grind to a halt. This will happen soon. Then they will start loosing. Once that starts unfolding, Putin will be deposed in a coup. The new government in Russia will try to exit the war and to convince the West to end sanctions. In the process Russia is likely to abandon all of its Ukrainian and Moldovan territories, and abandon Lukashenko in Belarus. That’s a prediction and a wish.

  24. According to the BBC:

    There have also been anti-war protests in Russia – where police detained more than 800 people on Sunday.

    The OVD-Info NGO, which monitors arrests during protests, said police had detained 817 people during demonstrations in 37 cities in Russia.

    Law enforcement in Moscow said they had detained approximately 300 people in the city centre for breaches of public order.

  25. I see a few outcomes. The worst is Russia escalates to the point where noninterference by the west becomes unconscionable. That can happen by Putin’s orders, or outside his control.

    As long as the Ukrainians have the will to fight, they will not be defeated. It is possible that 10 million adult Ukrainians could stay and fight. As long as they have the will to resist, they can just keep picking the Russians apart. If they are supplied through Poland, that could be a while.

    There are people living in Ukraine today that remember what it was like to have the Russians force starvation onto Ukraine, to the point where people were forced to eat their own dead family members to survive. Between that fate and “burning in the camps” per Solzhenitsyn, the outcome and hardships of resisting are not nearly as bad as the potential suffering under Russian subjugation. That sort of horror, especially within the memory of living Ukrainians, is a pretty strong incentive.

  26. In 1991, armed forces of the US (and much of the rest of the world) annihilated the Iraqi occupation force in Kuwait in short order, demonstrating the brilliance of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as a thinker, leader, and military strategist. After this demonstration, I expected the Iraqi army to arrange for Saddam to have a little fatal accident, but nothing like that happened. Mr. Putin’s foreign adventures are not yet quite as disastrous as were those of Saddam, and his homicides are less widespread, so far: he has not used chemical warfare on his opponents en masse, although individual poisonings, in London and Salisbury as well as Russia, are standard operating procedure. It is hard to say when his operating procedures might reach the point of stimulating Mr. Putin’s own gang to deal with him. Dictators of police states apparently sit on safer thrones than we would like, safer perhaps than hereditary monarchs. Tsar Peter III was deposed by his wife Catherine and then murdered. Unfortunately, Mr. Putin and his wife Lyudmila Putina divorced in 2013.

  27. This is my assessment, for what it is worth. It is crucial to understand the underlying motives of the parties involved and to what extent they have cornered themselves or feel cornered. In this regard, the situation is extremely worrying. The conflict has three main parties: Russia, Ukraine and the West.

    In Russia, Putin’s position is shaky, and a revolution may be around the corner as recent developments in Belarus and Kazakhstan demonstrated. Repression in Russia is escalating. The war in Ukraine could in part be a desperate act of Putin. That does not bode well.

    From the perspective of realpolitik, Ukraine instigated this conflict. This country has a bone to pick with Russia. Russia occupies territory in Ukraine. Ukraine felt that it was already at war with Russia for eight years, and the country armed itself with the help of the West. Ukraine also wanted to join NATO. That made the situation explosive.

    There is no clear ethnic boundary as many Ukrainians are Russians. But most Russians in Ukraine would rather live in Ukraine than under Putin’s yoke. And that is a thorn in Putin’s side. It appears that not that much is needed to end the reign of Putin.

    The West has supported Ukraine and not pursued realpolitik that minimized the possibility of war. Of course, NATO demanded that Ukraine make peace with Russia before it joins, but the idea itself is not acceptable to Putin, and NATO knew that.

    NATO has expanded to the borders of Russia. Putin sees NATO as a threat. NATO is almost as close to Saint Petersburg (Leningrad) as Adolf Hitler’s armies came. And twenty million Russians died in World War II. This reasoning could make war inevitable, and Putin may reason like so.

    Putin’s parents suffered from the famine in Leningrad caused by the German siege during World War II. So, Putin may have learned his lessons from history.

    The main reason why NATO has expanded is that Russia’s neighbours are afraid of Russia, and rightly so. Russia is a lawless state with a long history of repression and violence. The countries in Eastern Europe have experienced it firsthand.

    Finally, the West imposed sanctions on Russia. Some of these sanctions are less legitimate than others, and Putin could see the least lawful sanctions as an act of war. Now for the game-theoretical situation:

    (1) Putin cannot give in because that could mean his end. In addition, he reasons that NATO is a threat to Russia while he ignores the fact that Russia and he are a threat to Russia’s neighbouring countries.
    (2) Ukraine now wants to give in but does not want to surrender. Perhaps, they can negotiate a deal, but we will see.
    (3) The West cannot give in because the West has learned its own lessons from World War II. If the above analysis is correct, then Putin is as dangerous as Adolf Hitler.

    The analysis demonstrates a potential deadlock. The current setup could make World War III inevitable. Even if the war in Ukraine ends with an occupation or the installation of a puppet regime in Kyiv, it may be impossible for the West to deescalate (retract sanctions). The situation can escalate further if Putin decides to attack NATO territory, for instance, when he believes that NATO threatens Saint Petersburg.

    But then again, what do I know?

  28. First I want, no MUST, applaud the Ukrainian people; those who have safely left the country to keep their remaining family members safe, and the heroic men & women staying in their country to fight & resit the Russian war mongers! I also want to praise the US and all the other countries helping Ukraine in as many ways as possible! As for the possible outcomes; I’m not sure how long Kyiv can hold out, but the longer the better! The Ukrainians are employing strategies that ARE severely hurting the Russians; even IF they take the Capitol, which will be a very bloody & costly fight for the Russians. And after cities have fallen, gurilla war tactics are employed to further harass and destroy Russian equipment. Ukraine may not be Afghanistan, lacking mountain ranges, but it IS a very vast country that will be very hard for the Russians to maintain control of, should they ever actually get close to that. Between the costly effects on the Russian economy because of the sanctions and the devastating and expensive losses of military equipment, this is becoming an extremely costly war for the Demon Putin! The losses in troops and the demoralization also can’t be helping. Finally, it may be a million to one possibility, but someone might just take Putin out! We can only hope.

  29. Seriously, does anyone on Jerry’s site believe that Putin will walk away without Ukraine in his portfolio? C’mon guys, we’re suppose to be the smart ones!

    1. I’m doubtful that Putin will walk away at all in the mid-term. Does that make me one of the dumb ones?

  30. Wrong on almost every point.

    To begin with, I’m Ukrainian American, been to Ukraine, and have family there. So I know a little bit of hat is actually happening.

    1) Ukraine will “win” the “special military operation” to Russia. Russia will bleed out in Ukraine.

    2.) Russia will settle for clear title to Crimea, Luhansk, and Donetsk. To be honest, Ukraine doesn’t really want them back. Also Ukraine will promise to be like Finland.

    3.) Russia may well collapse, but economically and militarily.

    4.) Ukraine will become more western, and modernize it’s military. It will spend the next 20 years rebuilding and synchronizing with the west.

    5.) Zelensky will survive and be hailed a national hero.

    6.) Russia will continue to be a pariah state, economically punished and its people suffering from the sanctions. (Okay, you got one right)

    7.) Putin had ambitions to take over more territory beyond Ukraine…but the dream has died.

    Look, Ukrainians, how do I put this? Every go to Texas and see bars and restaurants, and whatnot with cowboy images? Ukraine feels that way about partisans. They see partisans resisting Russians as romantic, fun, heroic, etc. They will fight, literally, to the death. I keep hearing the Russian army is larger than the Ukrainian army – no. The Russians have 150,000 conscript soldiers, fighting reluctantly, the Ukrainians have several million pissed off partisans, seeing themselves as timeless heroes. It’s no contest.

    Next winter we will see rampant inflation and food shortages. But the war will end this summer with Russia either giving up, or a negotiated surrender that exists only to save face.

    1. I’m sorry my friend. I hope you’re right, but just because you’ve been to Ukraine and have family there doesn’t mean that your predictions will be right on every point. Your guesses may be more well informed than ours, but they are still guesses.

  31. I would guess that Ukraine does want the Crimea back, but it probably will not get it. The Donbas will
    indeed be lost to Ukraine. Russian Lugansk will again be named Zhdanov, as it was in Soviet times, after Stalin’s culture boss and heir apparent (until his early death). In Soviet days, Donetsk was called
    Stalino. It remains to be seen whether Russian Donetsk will be renamed Putino; things look more and more that nothing is going to be named after Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

  32. (I keep hoping that Mossad would somehow kidnap Putin the bring him to the Hague for trial.)

    And the upside for Mossad (or the State of Israel) in this event would be …? What is the proportion of the present population of the country that originates on either side of the Ukraine-Russia border? Substantial, both sides. Possibly some PR benefit in the US. Pretty thin ice for such a major step.
    Besides, they’d have to wait for the Hague to raise indictments against Putin for such a strategy to not be immediately be followed by “Putin released and returns to Russia.” I don’t see that happening this side of Hell passing up the tourism benefits of it’s name.

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