Putin will drag Ukraine war into 2023; Sending “ill-prepared” soldiers to the battlefield: report

Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to drag the war in Ukraine into 2023, according to a new report, and will continue to send unprepared soldiers onto the battlefield instead of using tactical nuclear weapons.

In a report assessing Russia’s offensive campaign released on October 30, the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Putin would likely await Ukrainian counter-offensives before ordering the Russian army to return to the area in the spring to go on the offensive.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin will most likely try to continue conventional military operations in Ukraine to hold the currently occupied territories, gain new terrain and create conditions for the collapse of Western support for Ukraine, which he is likely to experience this winter expected,” ISW experts said in the report.

The ISW also noted that Putin is unlikely to escalate the war by using tactical nuclear weapons. However, ISW experts said the Russian leader is likely to keep threatening to potentially use nuclear weapons to break the West’s will to continue its support for Ukraine.

The ISW said it bases its forecast on two things: Putin has created conditions to continue sending untrained soldiers to the front lines, and he is counting on the harsh winter to break the will of Europe to continue its support for Ukraine.

“This forecast is based on two assessments. First, that Putin sets conditions to continue throwing ill-prepared Russian troops directly into the fighting in Ukraine for the foreseeable future, rather than pausing operations to restore effective forces. Second, Putin’s theory of victory rests on using the harsh winter to break Europe’s will. These estimates provide a range of timelines that support the forecast,” the report said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Oct. 28 announced the end of Russia’s partial mobilization effort after meeting the target of recruiting 300,000 conscripts last week, according to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency. Since then, “all activities related to conscription,” including the delivery of summonses, have been suspended.

However, the Russian military will continue to recruit “volunteers” into its volunteer battalions. She has also started her biannual call-up for mandatory military service. The draft stipulates that conscripts train for six months before being assigned to combat units. However, with his declaration of martial law, Putin can trigger exemption from training and deploy conscripts much sooner, regardless of how much training they have received.

A Russian soldier on patrol in KhersonAFP / Olga MALTSEVA

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