It is not hard to think of the risks surrounding the coming months in Ukraine; that the much-anticipated counteroffensive might fail; that it might succeed too well and force Russia into using nuclear weapons; that Vladimir Putin could lose power to an even worse figure like Yevgeny Prigozhin or that Russia might even fragment, leading to fears about control of its massive nuclear arsenal. The safety of the Zaporizhia nuclear plant still hangs in the balance. Further in the future, Ukraine might fail to control its corruption and foreign investors may stay away, thereby stalling the much-needed reconstruction of the war-shattered country.
In contrast to these worries, the Cipher Brief’s Economic and Security Forum held in Kyiv last week, was full of energy and optimism. There is belief that the spring counteroffensive has a real prospect of pushing Russia out of eastern and southern Ukraine and possibly from Crimea. Armed with their new Leopard tanks and the promise of F-16s, the inventive and highly motivated Ukrainian armed forces might just break Russian morale leading to a military victory by late autumn.
[ Editor’s Note: This is an excellent analysis. ]