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Ukraine can seize initiative on battlefield in 2025 if it holds Russia back next year – WSJ

Friday, 8 December 2023, 20:04
Ukraine can seize initiative on battlefield in 2025 if it holds Russia back next year – WSJ
photo: Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal reports that NATO believes that if Ukraine survives the conflict with Russia until the end of next year, it will be able to take the initiative on the battlefield in 2025. The months-long military campaign of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which was intended to repel the Russians, ended with minor shifts on the front line.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Details: The publication points to the problems faced by Ukraine at the current stage. "Economic and military support from the US and Europe are suddenly in doubt. And domestic political fissures are widening as the nation’s morale sags," the article says.

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Western diplomats and military strategists say an exhausted Ukraine needs time to rebuild and that it may not be able to mount another significant counteroffensive until 2025.

The newspaper says Volodymyr Zelenskyy's order to build a vast network of military fortifications to support the troops in holding the front line is another sign of the "shift in sentiment" since the beginning of the year.

Quote: "Ukraine’s ability to regain much more of its territory is now in doubt, while Putin’s reorientation of his economy to a war footing has strengthened his hand on the battlefield and, more recently, diplomatically," the WSJ notes.

At the same time, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the publication that any pause in hostilities now would simply give Russia a chance to regroup and prepare for new offensive actions.

"The only outcome would be Russia shaking off the losses and the troubles it faced in Ukraine and making another assault. We are setting our brigades for new counteroffensive and defensive operations," Kuleba stressed.

The Wall Street Journal notes that if Ukraine and its allies can overcome the current difficulties and continue to supply troops, then next year will be the year of restoration of the Ukrainian army. "The hope would be that a limited number of Ukrainian soldiers can hold Russian forces at bay, allowing NATO countries time to train fresh Ukrainian troops, expand armament production and restock Ukraine’s arsenals," the newspaper writes.

"Another hope expressed at the recent NATO meeting was that Russia’s attempts to break Ukrainian defences fail, eroding its resources—both manpower and ammunition—and potentially offering Ukraine better prospects to retake the battlefield initiative in the spring of 2025, if it gets through next year," the publication emphasises. 

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