27th Feb 2024


How will the Ukraine/Russia war pan out in 2024?

  • Ukraine president Volodomyr Zelensky and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv in November 2023 (Photo: EU Commission)
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How might the Russia/Ukraine war unfold in 2024?

First, Russia.

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Despite the Russian Federation's tremendous losses, most Russian citizens still support the invasion. Many Russian citizens are confident in their military, believing it will win the war. In addition, the majority of Russians approve of their government.

Finally, Putin continues to have a high approval rating. As a result, the Russian leader will look to stay the course as he prepares for the Russian presidential election in March.

There will only be one outcome. Putin will be declared the victor in this sham election. In his victory speech, he will say that Russia will continue to challenge the West, and he will express his determination to win the war in Ukraine.

His obsession will come at a high cost, as thousands will die in his failed war, and in an act of desperation, Putin may even call for a second forced mobilisation in the spring. As the war progresses, additional catastrophes will occur, but they will fail to sway Russian opinions on the war.

In other words, Putin and his people will continue their aggression, and the Russian government will prepare itself for what will be a "long war in Ukraine." Russia will also hope that the international community tires from this invasion.

These antics will be nothing new to Ukrainians. As 2024 approaches, the Ukrainians will continue to defend their country.

Two years into the war, 95 percent of Ukrainians are still confident in their military. The majority of Ukrainians support Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and they believe they will win the war.

Ukrainian morale is high, and Ukrainians are determined to win. As a result, Ukrainian forces will continue to work hard to push the Russians out of the occupied regions in the south and east.

The Ukrainians will also attempt to split the Russian forces into two. Separating Russian troops in the south from those in the east will disrupt Russia's supply lines, and it will hinder Russia's ability to move equipment in the region.

Ukrainian troops will also use their long-range artillery to destroy ammunition depots and factories within Russian territory, thus further disrupting Russia's ability on the battlefield. Should these maneuvers be successful, then the Ukrainians may finally make a push for Crimea in the summer.

To date, the Ukrainians have shown incredible grit and spirit to defend their country, but future successes will be determined in part by the continuation of Western aid.

Over to EU, and Washington

Western weapons have helped Ukrainian forces overcome Russian troops, and this led to the successful liberation of northern Ukraine. But the Ukrainians will need additional high-caliber weapons to continue this success as the Ukrainians hope to break through Russian defenses in the south and east.

Unfortunately, future Western aid may be in jeopardy. Currently, several policymakers in the US Congress have blocked future assistance to Ukraine, and additional assistance may not be provided until January 2024. Delays in providing additional assistance will slow Ukraine's successes on the battlefield, and it will allow Russia to fortify its positions. This only helps the Russians, and it will lead to a longer war.

While the US stalls with future assistance, the European Union appears to be determined to help Ukraine. During the recent European Commission gathering, EU officials stated that they will continue to stand firm behind Ukraine. The EU is also sorting out its complications with providing future aid, but these weapons will help Ukraine achieve continued success.

Overall, there are many reasons to remain cautiously optimistic about Ukraine's successes in 2024. Previous advancements on the battlefield convinced the Americans and Europeans to provide additional defence equipment to Ukraine. Using this advanced weaponry will allow the Ukrainians to push the Russians completely out of southern Ukraine. The liberation of eastern Ukraine, however, will be a more complicated matter, and this may even drag into 2025.

In short, Ukraine is still on course to win, but time is running out. Increasing the speed at which international aid and defence equipment is provided to Ukraine will lead to a quicker Ukrainian victory, but the US and EU Union must determine if they are willing to do what it takes to ensure Ukraine wins. Time will tell how they will decide in 2024.

Author bio

Mark Temnycky is an accredited freelance journalist covering Eurasian affairs and a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.


The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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