The 24th February 2023 marks 365 days of the biggest invasion in Europe since the Second World War. Russia does not look like they will stop the aggression any time soon; they may even escalate it even further. On the other hand, the Ukrainian army looks invincible as they are determined not to end up under Russia’s dictatorship ever again.
Russia has lost approximately 175,000 soldiers, a mind-blowing number considering that in the 9 year Afghanistan War Russia fought in the 80s, they only lost around 15,000 men. 175,000 in a year, all whilst Western intelligence is suggesting that Putin may be planning the biggest offensive since the start of the war. Putin has clearly lost his mind. If Putin goes on and launches a full-scale invasion again, he will most likely have to resort to drafting civilian people into the army, which would most likely turn the Russians against him and Putin’s position as president may be in danger.
However, the most likely outcome for the future, would be that Putin tries to consolidate the current territory he has already invaded or gain a little more. This is what strategically makes the most sense, as Putin has already seen the massive human losses that a full-scale invasion causes, so he rationally will not want to risk losing so many soldiers again. This scenario would be a victory for Putin, as his main objective of making the border with NATO bigger, has been fulfilled, not as much as he initially wanted, but probably enough to convince the Russian population that this war has made sense, securing their position for the future.
A peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine is very unlikely to happen, as Putin knows that his fate will depend on this war; therefore a peace agreement with Ukraine is likely to be seen as a humiliation of Russia, one that would get Putin removed from power. It could be perhaps more likely that Putin escalates the war using nuclear weapons against Ukraine. We hope, of course, that this will not happen, but it will depend on if Putin sees it necessary: if his full scale invasion is not successful, if his position in power is damaged or if he wants to rapidly end the war. We can not predict the response of the world to this.
In conclusion, the future of the war will depend on how much Putin has lost his mind and how much support Russia will continue receiving from China. The war will most likely drag on for at least another year, whilst Russia tries to consolidate their invaded territory in Ukraine. In the meantime, we can only hope for the best.
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Ukrainian_War#/media/File:UA_T-72AV_with_cross_01.jpg