NewsA return to the 1991 borders with Russia? It's not a real scenario

A return to the 1991 borders with Russia? It's not a real scenario

The situation on the Ukrainian-Russian war front is currently complicated.
The situation on the Ukrainian-Russian war front is currently complicated.
Images source: © Getty Images | Global Images Ukraine

1:37 PM EST, February 22, 2024

The existing condition of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is particularly complex. Following months of combat, defenders were compelled to relinquish Avdiivka after valiantly resistant efforts against the invaders. However, subsequent victories claimed by the Russians have been relatively minor. A host of experts candidly concede that the front line has reached a stand-off.

Contemporary history demonstrates that the state of affairs could unexpectedly fluctuate. Nonetheless, the circumstances are challenging both on the battlefield and among political ranks. The forthcoming months will play an essential role in shaping the fate of both the war and Ukraine.

Even amongst Ukraine's Eastern neighbours, optimism is dwindling. A frank, objective analysis doesn't bode well. Illia Ponomarenko, a war correspondent for "The Kyiv Independent" with over 1.2 million followers on his X service (previously known as Twitter), has perceptively outlined this precarious situation in an interview with Onet.

The Ukrainian expert asserts that neither faction is well-equipped to initiate an effective assault at present. Any advance made by Russia incurs substantial losses, which aren't easy to recuperate rapidly. Conversely, Ukraine is increasingly coerced into offensive tactics, and it lacks the resources to mount a major counteroffensive.

The situation lies in deadlock. Even the Russians can't achieve any substantial progress anymore. On the other side, Ukraine's potential is restricted due to a shortage of soldiers, equipment and ammunition. The sole viable strategy is to adopt a defensive position. This involves safeguarding the held territories. Then, something like a Ukrainian 'Surowikin line' would need to be established—a comprehensive defensive line complete with minefields, anti-tank barriers and trenches, modelled after the Russian design—he explained.

Is Ukraine's reclaiming of Crimea viable? "Everyone comprehends it's unfeasible"

Ponomarenko's perspective on the potential for a Ukrainian victory currently sets lofty expectations that may be unrealistic. This viewpoint encompasses not just the recapture of invaded regions, such as Donbas and Luhansk, but also Ukraine's restoring of Crimea, which was annexed in 2014.

The analyst is of the notion that the window for such a resolution has already elapsed. Ukraine's government, led by Vladimir Zelensky, ought to adjust the parameters for viewing victory for the defending country.

We should be candid about what form of victory remains feasible for Ukraine. Tuning into the TV or listening to Zelensky, you'll be told that victory will only occur when Ukraine restores its 1991 borders. But this scenario is no longer realistic, and these statements only deflate morale since it's clear to everyone that it's unfeasible. In my view, victory means Ukraine maintaining sovereignty over most of its territory, achieving economic prosperity and adhering to democratic governance. We would have defended all this against the world's largest army, despite the early write-off—the expert expounded.
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