There may be a chance that Ukraine claims victory over Vladimir Putin’s forces before the end of the year, military experts have told Express.co.uk, but Kyiv’s success will hinge on two factors in bringing the war to an end. A senior British government source told The Times on Saturday that Ukrainian forces could repel Russian forces back to their original borders by the end of the year, should Kyiv continue to forge ahead at its current pace.
Chemical and biological weapons expert, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, said it was “entirely possible” that Kyiv emerges triumphant from the invasion effort before the new year.
He told Express.co.uk that Ukraine “has all the momentum and morale”, whereas Russia’s conventional forces “are physically and morally beaten”.
The former British Army army colonel said on-the-ground conditions for Russian forces are “only going to get worse when barely-trained conscripts are pushed over the top”.
Pointing to the explosion that rocked Russia’s primary supply route from the mainland to annexed Crimea on Friday, he said the detonation was “yet more bad news” for Putin that will contribute to dwindling morale ahead of the winter.
Describing the Russian leader as a Hitler figure “stuck in his bunker at the end of World War III”, he expressed an optimism, and a hope, that the war is over by the Christmas period.
But Dr Marina Miron, of the Centre for Military Ethics at King’s College London, questioned how many “precise predictions” about time scale could be made at this point.
She cast doubt over whether the war will be done and dusted by the end of the year, as “both sides have set objectives that will take a while to achieve”.
Moscow will be looking to consolidate its hold on territories annexed by Russia after the upper house of the parliament voted to approve their incorporation into Russia earlier this week.
Dr Miron said the Kremlin will be looking to “liberate” the annexed regions under Ukrainian control, but will need more manpower, training and cohesion in its forces.
From Kyiv’s perspective, success will depend on two factors: the resistance’s progress will hinge on the strength of Western backing and on Kyiv’s economic stability, funding its war effort.
She said: “Troops will need supplies in cold weather which makes logistics for both sides more complicated.”
Dr Miron suggested that a diplomatic solution will be the only speedy resolution to the bitter war, but neither Mr Zelensky nor the Kremlin are yet “ready” to commit to such a move.
Mr Zelensky stated following the Russian-held referendums in the occupied eastern and southern regions of Ukraine that formal annexation would take diplomatic negotiations off the table.
He told CBS that the votes could lead to “lead to very tragic moments”, and has repeatedly said Ukraine would seek the return of Crimea from Russian control.
Moscow annexed the peninsula back in 2014, and used the territory to launch its southern offensive earlier this year.