Trend lines in Ukraine indicate an escalation rather than a conclusion.

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Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kiev, addresses the media in front of a structure that was obliterated by a Russian drone strike on Monday. AFP via Getty Images, Yasuyoshi Chiba remove caption

switch to caption AFP via Getty Images, Yasuyoshi Chiba Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kiev, addresses the media in front of a structure that was obliterated by a Russian drone strike on Monday.

AFP via Getty Images, Yasuyoshi Chiba Many predicted a brief conflict when Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Even now, eight months later, every new development suggests that the situation will only escalate further.

The Ukrainians are committed to regaining control of the entire country. This is really opening my eyes for me right now, remarked retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus . He claimed that the current offensive has Ukrainians believing they could be able to completely drive out Russian forces.

This was formerly regarded as impractical or unduly ambitious. Ukrainians, he continues, aren’t looking to make any concessions.

Even if President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy came to the decision that perhaps we should negotiate to stop the penalty Due to the Ukrainian people’s conviction, I don’t think he can do it anymore.

Petraeus spoke at the annual The Cipher Brief conference at Sea Island, Georgia, which brings together both current and past members of the national security sector to take a step back and consider the big picture of international security.

This conference’s previous year’s theme was China. Nobody brought up Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, this time the focus was on the Ukrainian conflict and how it might develop.

The chief of staff to President Zelenskyy, Andriy Yermak , a senior Ukrainian official, told the conference that the conflict must finish with a Ukrainian triumph on the battlefield.

“Russia must lose the conflict, as has been stated repeatedly. It’s time to revise that sentence. The conflict must be won by Ukraine, Yermack insisted. He addressed via teleconference on a day when Russian aircraft pummeled the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Their intention, according to Yermak, is to bring about a humanitarian catastrophe in Ukrainian towns and cities. They intend to make it impossible to withstand this winter’s circumstances. They want to drive more people out of Ukraine and start another wave of emigration.

Periodically, there is discussion regarding the potential for locating or developing a “off-ramp” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian leader, according to Paul Kolbe , the current director of the Intelligence Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School, is not looking for a way to end the fight. He claims that the exact reverse is true.

Kolbe remarked, “Putin’s muscle memory when he runs into a barrier is to escalate.” He still has several tactics at his disposal to try to lower morale in the West and in Ukraine.

By targeting civilian targets in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and other places with long-range missile and drone strikes during the past ten days, Russia has effectively opened a new front.

Immediately before it crashed into a building on Monday, a Russian drone was seen flying over Kyiv. caption Efrem Lukatsky/AP
switch to caption AAP/Efrem Lukatsky Immediately before it crashed into a building on Monday, a Russian drone was seen flying over Kyiv.

AAP/Efrem Lukatsky Putin has also ordered the mobilization of a further 300,000 troops, and he has claimed permanent Russian annexation of a large portion of Ukrainian land in the south and east.

This annexation is quite significant. Putin, who leads the research tank Silverado Policy Accelerator. , is essentially risking his presidency on staying in Ukraine, claims Dmitri Alperovitch .

Alperovitch remarked, “That is essentially burning bridges metaphorically.” This indicates that, as long as he retains power and has the resources to wage war, the conflict will probably last for many, many months, if not years.

Putin is not likely to use a nuclear weapon anytime soon, according to Alperovitch. But you can’t just ignore it. He describes a potential scenario, saying, “If he does use it, I think he’s going to do a demonstration strike in a remote place, maybe over the Black Sea, in the hopes that the West will somehow persuade Kyiv to attend the negotiations.”

Winter, which is rapidly approaching, will probably impede the war’s progress but is not anticipated to end it.
According to David Petraeus, the hostile weather benefits the Ukrainians on the battlefield.

“The Ukrainians can knock on the door and be welcomed in by their neighbors to warm up and have a bowl of soup.” Naturally, they are welcomed as liberators, whilst the Ukrainians and Russian occupiers are attempting to kill them,’ he claimed.

In the ruins of a structure damaged as part of a significant Russian attack on Kiev, firefighters work. hide caption – Roman Hrytsyna
switch to caption Author: Roman Hrytsyna In the ruins of a structure damaged as part of a significant Russian attack on Kiev, firefighters work.
Author: Roman Hrytsyna However, in the face of Russian airstrikes, Ukrainian civilians continue to be incredibly exposed.

“The blackmail of energy by cutting off gas supplies, by shutting off electricity, by bombing electric substations all over Ukraine,” is how Dmitri Alperovitch describes this.

Pain will result from Putin’s tactics, he said. But he continued, “When your kids are dying, you’re going to keep fighting even if you have no heat and even if your country’s economy is in terrible shape. And I believe he made a mistake on this front.

No one suggested the war was about to end at the Georgia conference, which took place in a ballroom crowded with knowledgeable national security professionals.

Paul Kolbe, a former CIA official, stated that “most wars conclude with some sort of negotiated solution, whether it comes out of stalemate or loss,” but “I don’t see any chances of discussions in the short term.”

He pointed out that this war, which started with a Russian invasion in 2014, is currently at its height of intensity. NPR’s national security correspondent is Greg Myre. Observe him @gregmyre1 .

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