For the first time, Russia has a real chance of winning the war in Ukraine, and not least thanks to the West's indecisiveness in providing assistance, and the lack of a strategic vision, writes The Economist.
The article notes that the West could do much more to harm Putin by using industrial and financial resources that dwarf Russia's.
"However, fatalism, complacency and a shocking lack of strategic vision get in the way, especially in Europe. The West urgently needs to get rid of lethargy for its own sake and for the sake of Ukraine," the newspaper writes.
The reason Putin's victory is possible is that victory depends on endurance rather than the capture of territory, as no single army is able to dislodge another from the land they currently control. Now the military confrontation in Ukraine has turned into a war of defenders, and "it can last for many years."
According to The Economist, Russia will be in a stronger position to fight in 2024 because it will have more drones and artillery shells, because its army has developed successful electronic warfare tactics against some Ukrainian weapons, and because Putin is calm about the terrible losses in his army.
"Putin received drones from Iran and shells from North Korea... Turkey and Kazakhstan have become supply channels for goods that fuel the Russian war machine. The Western scheme to limit Russian oil revenues by capping the price of oil at $60 a barrel has failed because a parallel trading structure has emerged beyond the reach of the West. The price of Urals crude oil from Russia is $64, which is almost 10% higher since the beginning of 2023," the article says.
In addition, while Western governments claim that they are more committed than ever to Ukraine, polls around the world show that many doubt it. One of the European politicians expressed the opinion that support for Ukraine in the future will actually be fragmented.
"By 2025, Putin may begin to feel the strain of waging war. Russians may increasingly resent forced mobilization, inflation, and the diversion of social spending to the military. However, simply hoping that his regime will collapse is pointless. He can remain in power for many years, and if he does, he will threaten war because it is his justification for the internal repression and suffering of his own people.
The publication emphasizes that the planning of Europe's defense should be aimed at ensuring that Putin does not feel its weakness.
"The best way to deter Putin would be for Europe to show its resolve by showing right now that it is fully committed to a prosperous, democratic, Western-oriented Ukraine," The Economist concludes.
Earlier, The Economist wrote about the conflict between the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny. Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, reacted to the publication's material and stressed that "situational discussions" are taking place in the Ukrainian leadership, not a conflict. According to him, the position of the military and political elites in Ukraine is consolidated.