Full Russian conquest of Ukraine is possible, claims ISW report

President Joe Biden reaches out to shake hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, in Washington. The White House says funding for Ukraine has run out and it has been increasing pressure on Congress to pass stalled legislation to support the war against Russia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Analysts at the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) have assessed the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, stating that the complete conquest of Ukraine by Russia is not out of the question. This development could lead to significant implications for the United States, including the possible need to deploy forces in Eastern Europe.

The report highlights the high stakes for the U.S. in the Russia-Ukraine war, suggesting that the conflict’s outcomes may have broader consequences than commonly perceived. If Russia were to achieve victory in Ukraine, especially without U.S. and European military support for Ukraine, the weakened but victorious Russian forces could advance to the borders of NATO.

Despite the ISW claiming that Ukraine has eliminated approximately 90 percent of the Russian forces that initiated the attack in February 2022, the report cautions that this does not signify a halt to the Russian military machine. Instead, Russia has been effectively replenishing its losses by reorienting its economy and industry for war efforts.

The ISW notes the growing experience of the Russian military and its strategies for circumventing Western sanctions. The analysts also mention that Russia could pose a serious conventional threat to NATO for the first time since the 1990s, depending on the Kremlin’s investment in its military.

However, the report emphasizes that the overall military potential of the United States and its NATO allies far exceeds that of the Russian Federation. It suggests that no Russian military force could feasibly defeat the West militarily, even if Russia fully absorbs Belarus and Ukraine.

Regarding the costs to the U.S., the ISW argues that the consequences of a Russian victory in Ukraine would be far greater than the costs of continuing to finance Ukraine. The optimal solution would be to assist Ukraine in regaining control over all its lost territory, pushing Russian forces further east, and then aiding in Ukraine’s reconstruction.

In the event of a “total Russian victory in Ukraine,” the U.S. would need to deploy a significant portion of its ground forces in Eastern Europe to effectively deter further Russian aggression.

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