A change in US policy may disturb the balance in the conflict in Ukraine

The Russians have been less clear, but the idea is likely to get rid of the existing Ukrainian government and install something that suits their interests, while completing the annexation of the places they occupy. Neither side will get everything they want.

If the Ukrainians come out of this with most of their territory intact after two years of fighting the Russians, that’s pretty good. This is not a happy story. However, this is something we did not anticipate at the beginning, thinking that the Russian army is probably the second most powerful army in the world.

For the Russians, if they can say they have made significant territorial progress, that may be enough. So people are starting to wonder if there’s an emerging balance here that both sides can work on.

Foreman: For political leaders in the current global military environment, victory signifies how close a return to the status quo can be. Ukraine sees the status quo as a pre-Crimean invasion. If you look at the situation before the invasion two years ago, what is the closest possible return to the status quo? And then Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will be able to declare political victory; can declare military victory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin can still take credit for part of his military victory because he weakened Ukraine and can convince his population that militarily Ukraine poses no threat to the Russian population. This was the basis for getting there in the first place.

Question: How long will there be support for Ukraine in Congress?

Potter: It depends on many factors, and above all on the election result.

Choices matter. The various constellations of Congress and the Presidency will be more or less willing to continue supporting Ukraine, but given how politically sharp we are, I predict that this may be the last time we send large amounts of money and equipment. I hope I’m wrong.

This could go in many different directions, but unfortunately we have revealed that our internal policies make us not necessarily credible. The Ukrainians are so incredibly dependent on external support that even short interruptions in support can change the conflict to such an extent that it has forced us to change our policy regarding attacks on a modest strip of Russian territory. This is a very difficult situation when you are a small country, pressed tightly against the wall – political unreliability very quickly translates into an unfavorable military situation.