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Ukraine conflict: As spring approaches, what next for Ukraine and Russia?

One year on from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the 1,076 km-long front line is static and neither side shows any inclination to back down. It is no longer credible for Russia to achieve its original goals of seizing Kyiv and dictating terms to Ukraine, but the Russian government has indicated that it wants to retain Crimea, Donbas, and Kherson Oblast. Statements issued by the Ukrainian government on the one-year anniversary of the conflict indicate they are not prepared to accept anything less than the complete removal of all Russian forces from their territory, including Crimea.

Neither side can afford to fight an attritional war indefinitely. Troop and vehicle losses, and the financial cost (and for Ukraine, the impact on the civilian population) cannot be borne indefinitely, and both sides are using artillery ammunition at a rate they cannot sustain.

Russia's next move

Much has been made of Russia's struggle to supply its conscripts with basic equipment and provide them with adequate training – there are credible reports that some units were put into the field with less than a week's training, for example.

However, the bigger issue is armour. Ukraine claims to have destroyed over 3,000 Russian tanks and more than 6,000 armoured personnel carriers (APCs). Even if these figures are inflated, Russia's ability to replace its losses is questionable, and while it may have significant stocks of vehicles in reserve, these are not of the latest types and they certainly are not all in a serviceable state.

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