The war in Ukraine: – Putin’s war plan

The war in Ukraine: – Putin’s war plan

Vladimir Putin was not able to control Ukraine as he had planned, but Russian forces are holding together and controlling a large part of the areas they occupied in Ukraine.

Military experts have claimed since the beginning of the war that the war may be prolonged, and that it is Russia that will benefit most from a timely extension.

The longer the war lasts, the more it will unfortunately have a positive impact on Vladimir Putin and Russia, says Tom Roseth, Director of the Intelligence Department at the Norwegian Defense Academy.

Tragedy: Russian President Vladimir Putin described the war in Ukraine as a tragedy. Video: A.B. Reporter: Vegard Kruger.
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He points to a number of Western countries where populist regimes won with policies that did not support Ukraine.

– But many countries, including Norway, maintain their support for the war so that it does not disappear, but it may decline over time, he said.

– In Ukraine, they will exercise active defense, primarily to maintain their already existing positions. Time will be on Russia’s side if support from Western countries decreases.

Difficult choices for the United States and the West

Both the United States and most European countries will have to make difficult decisions regarding how much money, weapons, or other aid to give the war-torn country.

The expert: Tom Roseth, senior intelligence instructor at the Norwegian Defense Academy. Photo: Norwegian Defense Academy
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Moreover, the Gaza war has been extremely uncomfortable for Ukraine, which must now share the interest and partially hand over weapons to Israel.

The Gaza war receives the attention and focus of journalists and politicians alike. Roseth says the Norwegian Foreign Minister and other politicians must take a position on the Middle East, and they must have a clear and clear strategy.

- It will be decisive

– It will be decisive


More and more headlines in the news picture are now coming from Gaza, not Ukraine. It takes the focus away from the war in Ukraine.

– But as long as the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is a local war, it does not require many external resources, says Tom Roseth.

Hezbollah and Iran

For the Americans there were some challenges, and they provided some support to Israel. But it did not require large shipments of weapons as in Ukraine.

This could change if Hezbollah intervenes in the north, but Iran does not appear to want a regional war and would allow such an escalation, Roseth says.

Mobilization: Russia needs to mobilize more soldiers.  The photo is from a military parade in Moscow in 2023. Photo: AFP/NTB.

Mobilization: Russia needs to mobilize more soldiers. The photo is from a military parade in Moscow in 2023. Photo: AFP/NTB.
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– The West will wear out

Putin wanted a long-term war, the goal of which was to try to wear down the West. Right now, the war is getting focus and attention in the West, but what will the situation be like in 2025 or 2026?

– The United States of America is the most important factor here. Europe can increase its production, but it is unable to compensate for the production of American ammunition and weapons. Roseth says they also do not have the large stockpiles of weapons and ammunition that the Americans do.

Warning: - You may receive bad news

Warning: – You may receive bad news


There are many factors that can influence what will happen in the coming months. Among other things, presidential elections will be held in Russia and the United States of America, respectively, in March and November 2024.

Until the Russian elections in March next year, he probably won’t do much in terms of mobilization. The elections will be important for Putin because he wants to appear elected by the people. No one doubts what the result will be, and he may be sure that no one else can be elected, but perhaps he wants the population to have the impression that they are voting for him, says the Russian expert and senior researcher at the center. Norwegian Defense Forces Research Institute (FFI), Tor Bökvoll.

– Doubts about the long-term plan

He does not believe that Putin has a completely clear plan for what he wants to do in Ukraine.

– Perhaps many of those who criticize Putin would agree with me if I said that he is not good at long-term strategic planning. Bockvall says his tactical intelligence in the moment is his strength, so I doubt there is a clear long-term strategic plan.

Expert: Tor Bokvoll, Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Defense Research Institute (FFI). Photo: Ole Berg Rosten/NTB

Expert: Tor Bokvoll, Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Defense Research Institute (FFI). Photo: Ole Berg Rosten/NTB
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Many experts Dagbladet spoke to believe Putin believes he will outlast the West in the war, and hopes Donald Trump will win the election in the US with support from the West declining as a result.

– I think that Putin is waiting for Donald Trump to win the elections in the United States. Right now, Trump is likely to win the Republican nomination, and is in a good position to win the presidency, Tom Rosyth believes.

He believes the greatest risk is that the United States will now largely withdraw from the war in Ukraine and leave Europe to take charge of its own security.

Trump may also think that Putin is a perfectly good guy and it’s possible to negotiate with him. This will lead to a sharp weakening of the Ukrainian position, and a lot of confusion in Europe about further support for Ukraine. I think support will continue, also in NATO, but it will weaken, Roseth says.

Fears of a new attack wave from Russia

Fears of a new attack wave from Russia


Until elections are held in the United States next year, he does not believe that there will be any major changes on the front, and that the Russians will continue on the same path as they are now.

– In principle, he can sit quietly and control the fortified areas they already have, but this does not seem to be enough for Putin. He seems to want more military victories, as we now see him trying in Avdika. At the very least, he wants the entire Donbass region. Pokful says he has more or less control in Luhansk, but only in about half of Donetsk.

– Packing must be done

Putin will announce his candidacy for the presidency, and will be elected president in March 2024.

– Before his re-election, he will not mobilize soldiers. He wants to carry out a secret mobilization by putting pressure on the soldiers already on initial duty. Tom Rosyth believes that if it does not work, he will have to mobilize even more.

Mobilization: Russia needs to mobilize more soldiers.  The photo is from a military parade in Moscow in 2023. Photo: AFP/NTB.

Mobilization: Russia needs to mobilize more soldiers. The photo is from a military parade in Moscow in 2023. Photo: AFP/NTB.
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Russia has exhausted most of its resources and reduced the number of personnel and weapons on the front line. The reason they were able to hold the front lines was because they had built massive defenses.

They must mobilize new soldiers if they want to maintain momentum beyond the spring and summer, Roseth says.

Russia receives about 250,000 conscripts every year, but these conscripts are not obligated to enter the war. Of these, most again choose civilian life.

– They completed their mission after one year, but the Russian authorities are trying to recruit as many of them as possible to conclude contracts with defense so that they can be used in the war, says Tom Roseth.

Russia has militarized the economy, and arms and ammunition production continues around the clock.

– They see that the war in Ukraine and the conflict with the West will last, and they must increase their military efforts so that they can threaten and deter Europe and the United States. He says that this was Putin’s intention and strategy all along, but it intensified with the great material losses that the war inflicted on Russia.

Russia lacks officers

Tor Bokvoll does not believe Russia is able to train the number of soldiers it wants at the moment.

– He does not have a sufficient number of officers to carry out offensive campaigns on the front and at the same time train a sufficient number of new soldiers. He says officers can’t be in two places at the same time.

After winning the elections, he will be able to mobilize new soldiers who can be trained to fight the war more easily.

– Do you think Putin is planning in advance?

– No, I don’t think so. But depending on how the war goes, he may want to expand further regionally in Ukraine. If arms aid to Ukraine is more or less terminated, I think he may again try to seize Kiev. But as long as the West stands behind Ukraine, I think it realizes that it won’t work, Bokvaul says.

– He can attack Moldova

There has also been speculation about whether Putin might decide to attack some of Ukraine’s neighboring countries.

– If things go well in Ukraine, Moldova may also be tempting for Putin. Beyond that, I don’t think he has any big plans. Controlling NATO member states, I don’t think he wants to do that. “I don’t think he’s that crazy,” Bockvaul says.

He does not want to rule out a NATO country entering into a military conflict with Russia, but he does not believe it would be willing to try to take over a country like Poland.

– They don’t have the military capacity for that, and they can’t even take over the rest of Donetsk province. Given the situation the Russian economy is going through, I don’t think they will have the ability to do anything within a period of 5-6 years.

-He must pay for his mistakes

-He must pay for his mistakes


– As long as NATO works, I don’t think Putin will go to a direct offensive war, says Tor Bokvoll to Dagbladet.

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

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