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As war in Ukraine enters third year, 3 issues could decide its outcome: Supplies, information and politics

Tara Sonenshine, Tufts University, The Conversation on

Published in Political News

In retrospect, there was perhaps nothing surprising about Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Vladimir Putin’s intentions were, after all, hiding in plain sight and signaled in the months running up to the incursion.

What could not be foreseen, however, is where the conflict finds itself now. Heading into its third year, the war has become bogged down: Neither is it a stalemate, nor does it look like either side could make dramatic advances any time soon.

Russia appears to be on the ascendancy, having secured the latest major battlefield victory, but Ukrainian fighters have exceeded military expectations with their doggedness in the past, and may do so again.

But as a foreign policy expert and former journalist who spent many years covering Russia, I share the view of those who argue that the conflict is potentially at a pivotal point: If Washington does not continue to fully support President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his military, then Ukraine’s very survival could be at risk. I believe it would also jeopardize America’s leadership in the world and global security.

How the conflict develops during the rest of 2024 will depend on many factors, but three may be key: supplies, information and political will.

 

Russia and Ukraine are locked in a race to resupply its war resources – not just in terms of soldiers, but also ammunition and missiles. Both sides are desperately trying to shore up the number of soldiers it can deploy.

In December 2023, Putin ordered his generals to increase troop numbers by nearly 170,000, taking the total number of soldiers to 1.32 million. Meanwhile, Ukraine is said to be looking at plans to increase its military by 500,000 troops.

Of course, here, Russia has the advantage of being able to draw on a population more than three times that of Ukraine. Also, whereas Putin can simply order up more troops, Zelenskyy must get measures approved through parliament.

Aside from personnel, there is also the need for a steady supply of weapons and ammunition – and there have been reports that both sides are struggling to maintain sufficient levels.

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