Both sides believe they can win on the battlefield.
As Russia’s war in Ukraine passed its 10-month mark on Dec. 24, the toll of the protracted conflict has been immense. The war has produced hundreds of thousands of casualties, many of them Ukrainian civilians, while forcing millions more in the country to flee their homes. The conflict has rippled out globally, affecting everything from energy to food supplies, whether in the form of rampant inflation or shortages to the world’s most vulnerable states.
At the same time, the war does not appear to be ending anytime soon, and there is no shortage of mixed signals on the outlook for the conflict in the coming year. On the one hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no willingness to back down on his war aims, stating earlier this month that the conflict could well turn into a “long-term process.” There are also rumblings of a new Russian offensive—potentially with the participation of Belarus—in the coming year, possibly as soon as January.
On the other hand, recent developments such as a high-profile prisoner swap between Russia and the United States, as well as the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, show that diplomacy is still able to achieve tangible results, while Ukraine has ramped up its diplomatic engagements with the United States, France, and Turkey through high-profile calls and visits.
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