NewsBracing for the long haul. Commanding officer predicts prolonged Ukraine-Russia conflict

Bracing for the long haul. Commanding officer predicts prolonged Ukraine-Russia conflict

Ukrainians must prepare for a war that will last for years. This is what one of the army commanders believes.
Ukrainians must prepare for a war that will last for years. This is what one of the army commanders believes.
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8:43 AM EST, December 18, 2023

The prevailing question, not just within Ukraine, is about the duration of this war. As per Denys Prokopienko, commander of the 12th Special Forces Brigade "Azov" of the National Guard of Ukraine, the Ukrainians and their allies should brace themselves for an enduring conflict. Several reasons contribute to this depiction, as outlined by the officer.

Interestingly, Prokopienko and his troops have been in combat with Russia for a decade. For them, the war commenced not in February 2022, but in the spring of 2014. This is when Russia destabilized Donbas and carved Crimea out of Ukraine. That's also when the "Azov" regiment was established to safeguard Ukraine against Moscow's territorial ambitions — and still continues to battle the intruders.

The Ukrainian officer stands firm in his conviction that his homeland has the capacity to triumph in this war and attain freedom.

However, as he acknowledged, the protracted conflict will likely lead to exhaustion among Ukrainians. His assessment is candid and precise, devoid of any illusions. "The uncertainty and the risk of the fighting extending for years impose a burden on the civilian population, and occasionally the military as well," the officer remarked.

This situation, he added, plays into the hands of the patient Russians, who can sustain their assault on Ukraine for years to accomplish their objectives. Vladimir Putin and his administration possess the time, resources, and determination to persist with the war and attempt to conquer Kyiv. This pattern has continued since their initial invasion in 2014 and continues to this day.

"Russia will never allow Ukraine to exit its geopolitical sphere of influence," the "Azov" officer candidly admitted.

Nevertheless, there is one factor that could thwart Moscow from realizing its ambitions. This critical aspect was highlighted in Lt. Col. Denys Prokopienko's analysis.

"Many individuals in Ukraine and overseas are yet unwilling to confront the harsh truth," he confessed while deeming it unlikely that matters would resolve naturally. The conflict might stretch for years, possibly even another decade, claiming hundreds more casualties.

According to Prokopienko, the key to success lies in the collective mobilization and resolve of the Ukrainian people. Unity, side-by-side combat, and Western support are necessary for victory.

"We have come to understand that our lives, not just our youth, might be largely spent at the war front to secure Ukraine's independence. We have no alternative to the path we've consciously chosen," he wrote. This path inevitably entails battling the Russians until complete victory and engaging actively in historical processes.

The insights of the Ukrainian officer, who has been combating the Russians for a decade, are hard to dismiss. While Ukraine will face formidable challenges, the end goal is defined and not impossible. "We may not know the exact day, month, or year. But we will triumph and be reunited with our families," he concluded.

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