After about a month of fierce fighting in the Donbass, the front seems largely deadlocked. The experts at the “Institute for the Study of War” see only small chances for Russia to make major gains in territory. They are only possible – for example in the embattled Sievjerodonetsk – if all forces are concentrated.

So it could be that the war is at the point that numerous pundits predicted in May: both armies are so weak that movement is no longer possible. At this point, Russia still has sufficient material such as tanks and other heavy weapons and ammunition, but too few ground troops. The Ukraine seems to be defying Moscow’s artillery barrage with the last of its strength and enduring the proverbial hail of bombs. Weapons and ammunition are scarce. The conflict freezes.

Russia will therefore try with all its might to recruit more soldiers in the coming weeks. Russia experts write that the age limits for military service are already being raised and the health requirements lowered. Recruits are already coming to the front largely without training.

During this period, Ukraine will put more western weapons into service and the training of soldiers will continue. Britain, for example, wants to train 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers every three months. In this scenario, qualitatively upgraded Ukrainian troops could meet a Russian army that was strengthened again, but not better, in late summer or early autumn. Whether that really happens is an open question. At the moment, however, there is a lot to be said for it.

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