Although hostilities in Ukraine have been steady since the autumn, Ivo Juurvee, a researcher at the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS), believes that change may come abruptly and unexpectedly.
"The French writer and military aviator Antoine Saint-Exupery said that a tank division is like water — it presses gently on a wide front and goes through where the resistance is weakest. This is basically what we are seeing now, where Ukraine is pushing through," Juurvee told ERR's "Vikerhommik" on Tuesday.
According to reports, Ukraine has prepared 12 to 15 armored brigades, but only three or four are currently operational.
"It is evident that a rifle hung on the wall will not remain there forever. At some point, we will probably see a major breakthrough," the researcher said.
Juurvee also suggested that the Ukrainian military command has multiple alternative strategies for how to proceed, which are dependent on the actions of the Russian forces. "The Ukrainians and their allies, especially the U.S., likely have an intelligence advantage; they understand what the Russians are doing better than the Russians do," he said.
Juurevee said that the Ukraine also has a geographical advantage, as the semicircular eastern flank requires the Ukrainians to move their troops a shorter distance than the Russians, who must do so in a circle through their rear.
"It's a bit like cross-country skiing in that it's a game of nerves and neither side has yet lost its nerve or used its reserves."
Juurvee also said that if, from a military standpoint, Russia's decision to blow up the Kakhovka dam was not an irrational idea, even though it was a war crime, they no longer had such options — the river and dam were unique.
"You can still engage in nuclear hysteria. But if you constantly threaten with it, the threat loses its potency. It is more of an issue of curiosity and debate — why are they doing this and toying with this threat?"
Russia's hope, however, could be that if the West plans to help Ukraine until the autumn and only then start pushing for negotiations, this would give the Russians a strategic goal, a concrete deadline to hold out, Juurvee added.
Juurvee referred to the First World War when asked when the war might end given the current situation, where there have been no significant changes on the front for a while.
"We recall from the First World War that the ending of a war of attrition may come very abruptly. Both the German and Austria-Hungarian forces were in excellent condition, but a revolution at home led to the signing of a truce. The end could come very quickly at some point," he said.
"Similarly, if armored forces achieve a breakthrough, they can also move quite fast," the researcher said.
Editor: Mait Ots, Kristina Kersa