What if Russia wins Ukraine war? Experts evaluate scenarios

  • US assistance crucial for Ukraine
  • ISW warns against Russian victory
  • Potential impact on NATO

The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank, asserts that the repercussions of permitting Russia to prevail in Ukraine are “greater than most people imagine.” This comes as the United States, and Republicans in particular, may reconsider extending additional military assistance to Kyiv.

A “battered but triumphant” Russian army is accumulating on the borders of NATO, posing a significant military threat to the alliance for the first time in three decades.

A reputable think tank posits that such an outcome might ensue if the United States ceased military assistance to Ukraine and Europe subsequently conformed.

The withholding of new funds for Kyiv by Republicans in Washington on the grounds of border control demands has raised doubts about the dependability of American assistance.

In the 2024 presidential election context, where putative challenger Donald Trump is poised to abandon both Ukraine and NATO, the situation appears especially tumultuous.

Some are now focusing on the repercussions for those holding the line in Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson of a potential future in which aid to Ukraine is drastically reduced, which may be unsettling for many in the West.

The Potential Fallout of Halting US Military Aid to Ukraine

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington, DC-based think organization, has examined potential scenarios that may occur.

It contends that the United States has a “significantly greater stake” in the conflict than most individuals believe.

In their recent report, ISW authors assert that a Russian conquest of all of Ukraine is not inconceivable should the United States and Europe both halt all military aidโ€”the Significant Cost of Ukraine’s Loss.

This result would propel a defeated but victorious Russian army to the Arctic Ocean, along the NATO frontier, along the Black Sea.

US intelligence sources claim that Ukraine, with assistance from the West, has destroyed nearly 90 percent of the Russian army that invaded in February 2022.

However, despite these appalling casualty figures, Russia has reestablished its industrial infrastructure to compensate for the material losses.

According to the ISW, a victorious Russian army after the Ukraine conflict would be significantly more extensive and more combat-seasoned than its forces were before 2022.

As sanctions inevitably wane, Moscow’s economy would “gradually recover,” and its military would “reestablish its coherence by drawing on a wealth of hard-won experience fighting mechanised warfare.”

American stealth aircraft, critical for deterring and confronting China, will also carry sophisticated air defense systems that only they can reliably breach.

The Strategic Challenges for NATO Amidst Russian-Ukraine Conflict

Russia can present NATO with a significant conventional military challenge for the first time since the 1990s, a period significantly influenced by the Kremlin’s military expenditures.

NATO’s military potential is significantly greater than that of Russia, even if it completely incorporates Ukraine and Belarus, according to the ISW.

However, it states that the repercussions of permitting Russia to prevail in Ukraine are “greater than the majority of individuals believe.”

The ISW contends:

โ€ข A “considerable portion” of the United States ground forces would have to be deployed to Eastern Europe.

โ€ข Maintaining an adequate number of stealth aircraft in Asia to safeguard Taiwan or allocating them to Europe to assist allies against potential Russian aggression could force the United States to make a “terrible decision.”

Supporting Ukraine in maintaining its current lines of defense with uninterrupted Western military assistance is considerably more cost-effective and advantageous for the United States than permitting Ukraine to lose, according to a report by the think tank.

It continues, “A ceasefire that “freezes” the conflict would provide Russia with space and time to prepare for a new war.”

The more territory Ukraine can reclaim in the east, the further it would push the Kremlin’s forces.

The ISW asserts that the ideal course of action would be to aid Ukraine in its reconstruction after securing victory.

The think tank asserts that this would position the “largest and most combat-effective friendly military on the European continent” in a leading position in defense of NATO.

It asserts that a victorious Ukraine would not be a permanent ward of the West, arguing that its economy is large enough to sustain its military once it returns to its 1991 borders.

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