English Section

Risks and opportunities as the tide seems to be turning in Ukraine

15.09.2022 23:00
Can Ukraine win the war quickly? What is the risk of nuclear escalation? Experts offer forecasts at a moment the war seems to be turning in Ukraine's favour.
Experts attempt to forecast the future of the war as the tide seems to be turning.
Experts attempt to forecast the future of the war as the tide seems to be turning.штаб ЗСУ / General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Four experts - historians, military experts and security specialists - have given interviews in the last few days giving a more overall picture of the way the war is going - taking a step back and assessing the medium-term threats and opportunities. Here is a sample of different perspectives. 

Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder

Professor of history at Yale University, Snyder has written numerous books on central and eastern European history noted for their penetration and balance. Yet regarding the war he is atypically forthright, describing Putin as a "bully" whose even partial victory will bring danger to other neighbours of Russia. He perceives great risk in any other outcome than Putin's complete defeat.

  • Described Russia as a "fascist state" in New York Times essay
  • September 10th: "This war has been unique for the USA. It has put an end to American magical thinking where we talk about "new world orders" and things that are beyond our control. Instead we have been realistic and faced the fact we need others' help."
  • "If Germany wants to create a geopolitical Europe - Ukraine must win this war. More than that - Germany has to be seen to be helping Ukraine win this war."

Paul Rogers

Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. Interviewed by the left-wing freelance journalist Owen Wilson in an interview entitled "Is Russia on the Verge of Defeat?".

  • Emphasizes that we cannot give certain forecasts because our main sources of information are from people whose priority is winning the war and not providing accurate information.
  • "Russian forces are far weaker in terms of technology, training and morale than expected."
  • Ukraine enjoys strong morale, partly due to Zelensky's personality, but also increasingly due to western support.
  • General mobilisation of Russia is possible but unlikely and unlikely to achieve anything substantial. "From the start Putin's people have stuck very closely to this language of "special operation".
  • "We don't understand Putin's psychology enough" to say whether he will threaten tactical nuclear weapon use and whether he would follow through on threats. Added that NATO's military policy permits tactical nuclear weapon use, so we must assume Russia's does too.
  • "There is a widespread suspicion" that NATO and Washington in particular see this war as an "opprtunity to cripple the Russian economy" and this will also prevent peace resolutions in the short term. 
  • It is "possible but unlikely" that Russia will just withdraw and Putin will be ousted. It is "a surprising anomaly" that far-right former supporters of Putin are being allowed to criticise Putin on telegram.

Alina Frolova

Alina Frolova, former defence minister of Ukraine 

Deputy Chairperson of the Center for Defence Strategies and former Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defence.

  • In an interview for TVP World in May, she said, "No matter how long it will take, we will win this war. But the biggest risk is that Europe may be tired. Now we have good support from many nations but can we keep this support for years?”
  • In an interview for the Times Radio on 15th September, she said that "Most Russian soldiers are now panicking; some are negotiating surrender," and that the counteroffensive liberates a few villages and towns "each day".
  • Asked by the Times Radio whether a "cornered" Putin would resort to tactical nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, she replied, "We have been hearing these arguments from the beginning of the war, from Germany, from France - they cannot supply weapons because Russia may overreact."
  • She emphasized that until now there is no indication that Russia intends to use tactical nuclear weapons and cited Valeriy Zaluzhnyy, the commander in chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who had said that use of tactical nuclear weapons "would not change the course of the war," despite the inevitable increase in losses.

General Sir Richard Shirreff

Retired senior British Army Officer and Former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (2011-2014).

  • In an interview for the Times Radio on 14th September said that, "What I think we are seeing is a masterclass in operational art from the Ukrainians. They have got the Russians completely on the back foot."
  • Says that the escalation in fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan is "an indication of Russian weakness, because Russia was underpinnig Armenia."
  • Suggests that "we may be witnessing a similar catastrophic collapse" of Russian morale as witnessed in 1917 before Russia withdrew from WWI. "If morale collapses in an army things can happen very quickly."
  • Said there are three factors in the turnaround for Ukraine: "The courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian people"; the weapons and training provided by the west; and "most of all" "very clever operational art by the Ukrainians - they suckered the Russians" with a decoy in the south of Ukraine.

Sources: New York Times, Times Radio, BBC, TVP World, Victor Pinchuk Foundation


See more on this subject: wojna 2022