01/25/2023 (Wed) 08:51
I still think that what they aim for is:
- to take as much strategically important places from Ukraine as they can (such as the sea ports);
- and set up a friendly government in the rest of the Ukraine, which is similar to Belarus, what can work as a buffer, an insulating layer where enemy cannot attack from, but they can move troops there and attack the enemy.
This would be the best outcome.
If this is not possible, then keep what they have, and achieve a demilitarized Ukraine. What this would mean? I think it has several layers and possibilities. From an Ukraine empty of any kind of weapons above personal firearms, to an Ukraine where deploying nuclear (and chemical and some other type) weapons is forbidden for anyone (NATO).
But to achieve anything Moscow needs leverage. As it stands now they will might not be able to keep what they have, if things have to come to conclusions, finalize things at the table and peace have to be signed.
So Russia might settle with 2016-2022 style situation with theoretical cease fire, but constant unofficial shelling, shootings, skirmishes. Which could last god knows how long. Meanwhile she'll try to normalize things at home, replace Western Euro suppliers of machines, vehicle parts - either setting up production, or finding new import sources. Has to minimize losses too, can't drain the workforce much constantly. The newly acquired territories will be integrated, while noone will recognize the border changes (similarly to Crimea).