Five scenarios for how the war in Ukraine could develop – NRK Norway – An overview of news from different parts of the country

En eldre kvinne får hjelp til evakuering fra Irpin utenfor Kyiv lørdag. Stadig flere sivile ofre kan bringe krigen over i en ny fase.

How long will the war last? How many will die? Will more countries be dragged into war? What about Putin’s future?

There are many questions and great uncertainty about what is to come to Ukraine.

NRK has received help from the Norwegian Defense Research Foundation’s (FFI) chief researcher, Tor Bukkvoll, to assess five potential scenarios.

short war

Senior researcher Tor Bokfol at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment.

Photo: FFI

In this scenario, Russia escalates its attacks. Troops advance and occupy Kyiv a few days later. The attackers also took control of most of the country.

Perhaps this was what Russia hoped would happen when it launched the offensive. Ten days into the war, the prospect of a quick victory began to seem less likely.

They missed the chance of a quick victory, says Bokvall.

On a central Kyiv square, tank barricades were erected on Saturday in preparation for the city's deadliest war.

On a central Kyiv square, tank barricades were erected on Saturday in preparation for the city’s deadliest war.


long war

It may be an ambiguous situation in which Russia does not win, but also does not lose. Russian forces struggle with fighting inside the cities, in Kyiv and elsewhere.

– It may now seem as if the Ukrainians can prevent the Russians from winning, says Bokvol.

In the end, Ukrainian forces in the occupied areas of the country will turn to guerrilla warfare and attack Russian supply lines. It could weaken the will to fight among the Russian forces.

One can imagine a situation in which the Russians do not reach in any other way than by bombing civilian infrastructure, says Bokvol.

It can lead to massive destruction and leave large areas in ruins, as happened in the Chechen capital Grozny in the 1990s and in Syria’s Aleppo in 2016.

Bokful says the Russians can choose not to carry out strong attacks on cities.

– The reason may be that the Russians stopped, he says.

negotiation solution

Representatives of Russia and Ukraine met in Belarus on the border with Ukraine, no later than Thursday. New meetings planned.

So long as they are negotiating, it would be unreasonable to dismiss it as an opportunity, says Bokvall.

It is hard to imagine what a negotiated solution should look like. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said a few days ago that he might be willing to discuss some form of neutrality.

In Marseille, France, people demonstrated on Saturday to enforce a no-fly zone in Ukraine.

In Marseille, France, people demonstrated on Saturday to enforce a no-fly zone in Ukraine.

Photo: Christophe Simon/AFP

protracted war

Many people fear that the war will spread to World War III. War can be extended in three ways.

Russia can attack other countries, such as the Baltic States, NATO or Poland. Weapons are now being sent to Ukraine via Poland. Russia may consider them as hostile acts. As President Putin said on Saturday Sanctions against Russia remind us of acts of war.

However, it seems highly unlikely that Russia will deliberately expand the war,

– They use about what they have of the ground forces in Ukraine. I can’t imagine they have enough power for something else either, says Bukefol.

2. NATO countries can intervene, For example, by presenting one No-fly zone. There are already strong reactions in the West to the images that came from the war.

If the images become more and more cruel, they may affect Western public opinion, says Bokvall.

at A Reuters poll On Friday, 74 percent of Americans said they supported a no-fly zone.

The question is whether they understand what it means to enter a restricted area. In practice, this means that they will shoot down or threaten to shoot Russian planes.

So far, President Biden and other Western leaders have made clear that neither a no-fly zone nor sending troops to Ukraine matters. But the harsh images of war can lead to powerful political pressures.

3. War can be extended by chance, What Bokfol calls an unintended escalation.

With thousands of armed soldiers on both sides, the chance of an accident still existed.

Two planes can collide, a pilot can accidentally shoot down another, and a missile can be launched at the wrong target in another country. The list of things that can go wrong in a war is always long.

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited an Aeroflot training center outside Moscow.

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited an Aeroflot training center outside Moscow. He said countries trying to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be considered part of the conflict.


Putin is ruled by him

A final possibility is to overthrow Vladimir Putin as president and replace him with a more peaceful regime.

It doesn’t look like it yet, but it will happen quickly anyway if it does, says Bokvall.

Putin can be overthrown in two ways. Either by mass riots, that is, a popular uprising,

Or because parts of the country’s elite, including some in the security services, resort to it.

There may also be some in the broader elite, including among the oligarchs, but they have to bring someone with them to the security services to succeed, says Bukfol.

Mass riots and elite uprisings can work together, too, and large demonstrations among the people can bring Putin’s closest turn to him.

can be combined

Many of the five scenarios are not mutually exclusive. For example, a prolonged war could lead to the overthrow of Putin. or a negotiated solution. or other result.

Anyway, the world has changed.

Russia’s relationship with the rest of the world will not be the same, Ukraine has created a new self-image and a new standing in large parts of the world. European countries must reconsider their security policy.

Thousands of people died.

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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