NewsRussia seen as potential conqueror of Ukraine, threatening NATO: Analysts stress urgent aid

Russia seen as potential conqueror of Ukraine, threatening NATO: Analysts stress urgent aid

Russia seen as potential conqueror of Ukraine, threatening NATO: Analysts stress urgent aid
Images source: © ISW, PAP | GAVRIIL GRIGOROV
1:52 PM EST, December 15, 2023

The ISW highlights that the stakes in Russia's conflict with Ukraine are higher for the U.S. than most people perceive.

"Russia's total conquest of Ukraine is not impossible if the U.S. stops all military aid to Ukraine and Europe follows this lead." - we read in the analysis. In such a scenario, the 'battered but victorious' Russian army would stand right up to the NATO border, warns the ISW.

The ISW report claims that based on American intelligence, "Ukrainian forces, supported by the West, had destroyed nearly 90 percent of the Russian forces that invaded Ukraine in February 2022. However, the Russians compensated for these losses by deploying new units and ramping up their industrial base to replenish equipment losses far quicker than their pre-war potential would have allowed."

Russia: An emerging threat to NATO

The ISW analysts suggest that the "emerging victorious Russian army will have more battlefield experience and be more significant than Russia's land forces in 2022. Sanctions will inevitably weaken over time, allowing the Russian economy to recover gradually. Additionally, Moscow will find means to evade or weaken those still in effect. Over time, Russia will replace the lost equipment."

The conviction of the ISW report is that "Russia could become a genuine conventional threat to NATO for the first time since the '90s, depending on the Kremlin's investment in its military".

ISW experts stress that while the U.S. and NATO allies' overall military potential surpasses Russia's, it's crucial not to overlook the cost of allowing Russia to triumph, which they suggest is higher than most people presume.

Support for Ukraine: The optimal solution

The ISW analysts believe the best course of action is to help Ukraine regain control of all its lost territory, pushing Russian forces further east. Following this, measures should be taken to assist Ukraine in its reconstruction process.

If Russia scores a complete victory over Ukraine, the ISW claims that to prevent further aggression, the U.S. would need to station a substantial portion of its land forces in Eastern Europe and deploy costly stealth aircraft. The U.S. would also face the challenging decision of how to split its forces between protecting Asia, including Taiwan, against China's aggression and deterring Russia in Europe.

"Nearly any other outcome of the Ukrainian war would be more favorable than one where Russia attains full victory," we read in the analysis. The experts suggest that investing in Ukraine's fight to halt Russia is more feasible and less expensive for the U.S.

The optimal solution, according to these analysts, involves aiding Ukraine to regain control over its lost territory, which would "push Russian forces further east." Helping the country rebuild would ensure that "the most battle-experienced, allied army in Europe stands at the forefront of NATO's defense, whether or not Ukraine becomes a NATO member."

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