Analysis: Ukraine’s future

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Ukraine, an Eastern European country of 44 million people, has been fighting an invasion by neighboring Russia since Feb. 24, 2022.

Al Curle, Staff Writer

Ukraine has been resisting an invasion by Russia since Feb. 24, 2022, in which thousands have been killed and over a million displaced. Russia used the pretext of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine’s borders, historical borders, and numerous other justifications to invade the smaller nation on several fronts. 

But, as frontlines stabilize and the situation exits the chaotic first days, one question still remains: what does the future of this conflict look like? There are several clues to what the paths forward could look like. 

There are a few differing paths: a conventional war, an unconventional war, or even a combination of the two. Conventional war, as the name would suggest, is two armies facing off the way they have since Rome; an unconventional is quite the opposite, it entails small resistance movements countering a larger army with hit-and-run tactics and other such tactics. 

The thing that decides the path forward is the state of the Ukrainian army, whether or not it collapses. Its collapse would entail the Russians entering an occupation of Ukraine rather than an invasion. 

Such an occupation would be fraught with trouble from logistics of moving the supplies the troops need to citizens taking up arms. A glimpse into an occupation has been given in many different ways from breweries brewing Molotov cocktails rather than their more edible counterparts to large protests in occupied coastal cities.

An idea to the terrible nature of an occupation can be gained by the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq where bombs on the road and rogue shooters were commonplace. This strategy is employed by resistance groups to wear down the occupying force and pressure them to leave. 

If the Ukrainian army stays intact, however, the story may be much different. They may, if the Russian forces are sufficiently weakened, recapture territory and keep the current government in power. But that may be a long shot considering the size difference of the two armies. Still, blunders on the part of Russian forces and fierce fighting on the part of Ukrainian forces may make that a reality. 

The most likely of these two situations is a combination of the two wherein there are pockets of resistance in captured regions and strong resistance by the Ukrainian army where it exists. The way things turn, in the end, will heavily rely on the resistance of the Ukrainian army.