In last week’s Wrap-Up, I noted that the war in Ukraine was entering a new phase, one in which the human costs of Russia’s brutal siege tactics will become more evident, even as whatever political objectives Russian President Vladimir Putin initially sought to accomplish through the invasion become increasingly unachievable. The course of the fighting in the week since then has only reinforced that conclusion. While both sides are engaged in negotiations to end the war, the prospects for a compromise agreement seem dim, and even if some deal is reached, it’s hard to see how it could be durable or lasting over time.
In other words, we will in all likelihood see a period of protracted conflict in Ukraine, one that might be punctuated by operational lulls and temporary cease-fires, but one that will nevertheless last, perhaps indefinitely.
In my experience as WPR’s editor-in-chief, I’ve seen variations of this theme play out in other conflicts over the years—Syria, Libya, Yemen and more recently Ethiopia come to mind, to say nothing of the insurgencies in West Africa’s Sahel region.