Ukraine will be able to seize the initiative on the battlefield in 2025 if it can hold out against Russia until the end of next year, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The WSJ analyzed the critical problems and challenges that Ukraine has to deal with at this stage of the Russo-Ukrainian war. While economic and military support from the West is in doubt, domestic political rifts are widening as the nation’s morale plummets, the WSJ wrote.
Some Western diplomats and military strategists told the WSJ that Ukraine’s depleted armed forces need time to recover. Thus, Ukraine is unlikely to mount another major counteroffensive until 2025, according to the WSJ.
On 29 November 2023, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered the construction of an extensive network of military fortifications to help troops hold the front line, which marked “a sharp shift in sentiment,” according to the WSJ.
Ukraine’s ability to regain much of its territory is now in question, while Putin’s reorientation of the economy toward the military has strengthened his position on the battlefield and, more recently, in the diplomatic arena, the WSJ noted.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the WSJ that any pause in the fighting now would allow Russia to regroup and prepare for large-scale offensive operations.
The only result of the armistice will be that Russia will shake off the losses and problems it has faced in Ukraine and go on the offensive again. Ukraine is preparing brigades for new counteroffensive and defensive operations, Kuleba emphasized.
According to the WSJ, 2024 will be the year of the Ukrainian Army’s recovery. Thus, if Ukraine and its allies can overcome the current difficulties and continue to supply the troops, Ukraine will be ready for a large-scale counteroffensive to reclaim occupied territories in 2025. The Ukrainian Army should hold back Russian forces, giving Ukraine’s allies time to train more Ukrainian troops, expand arms production, and replenish Ukraine’s arsenals, the WSJ noted.
NATO allies hope that Russia’s attempts to breach Ukraine’s defenses will fail, depleting its resources (both manpower and ammunition) and potentially offering Ukraine better prospects of seizing the strategic initiative on the battlefield in the spring of 2025, the WSJ concluded.