Experts: Neither Ukraine nor Russia strong enough to make gains

Kalev Stoicescu.
Kalev Stoicescu. Source: Vladislava Snurnikova/ERR

Ukraine has started growing its wartime force and made successful offenses on the Kharkiv heading. Meanwhile, Russia is busy reinforcing its positions. Analysts believe neither side is strong enough for a major breakthrough. Russia needs to safeguard its economy to avoid a massive slump in standard of living.

Russia declared its major offensive on April 19 and has taken three smaller cities and advanced a few dozen kilometers since then. The Russians have abandoned Kharkiv and Ukrainian forces have come within a few dozen kilometers of the border there.

Leo Kunnas, deputy chair of the Riigikogu National Defense Committee, said that Ukraine needs more modern weapons from the West if it is to find success, adding that the country needs a bigger wartime force.

"Perhaps the most significant statement from Ukraine since the war started is that they want to reach a wartime force of one million strong. They started with a little over 200,000 personnel. I believe that Ukraine made the mistake of fighting with a small force from the first, only declaring mobilization on the first day of the war," Kunnas offered.

Research fellow for the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) Kalev Stoicescu said that he cannot see either side making major gains in the near future. Russia will try to reinforce its positions near Kharkiv and in the Donbas where its offensive failed.

"I believe Russia will try to address other serious problems they are facing – the economy, and not just military activity in Ukraine. Putin is surely looking to stabilize his economy and maintain a semblance of normalcy to avoid a sharp slump in standard of living that could lead to protests," Stoicescu suggested.

The expert sees a new stalemate developing along with a new boundary line which neither side will be able to move and that will separate Ukraine into Western and Russian parts, as was the case in Germany after WWII.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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