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Year three: What fate awaits the fighting in Ukraine?

As we enter year three of the war between Ukraine and Russia, the death toll continues to rise, and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight to the war.

Craig Albert, PhD, professor of politics and director of the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies at Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Augusta University, said it appears victory does not seem likely for either side, and he expects it to form into a “frozen conflict.”

“There are two ways out of this, however,” said Albert. “The first is that the West, mainly the United States, does not continue to arm Ukraine. If this becomes the new normal, then Ukraine will not be able to keep up against Russia and will eventually fall through a war of attrition being waged by Russia.”

“The second, less likely but far more threatening scenario, is that Russia expands the war to other states in the area or inadvertently hits a NATO-member state with either kinetic or massive cyberattacks. It may draw NATO into the war directly. In this case, Ukraine takes the advantage, but the war expands to something not seen since World War II.”

graduate program director
Craig Albert, PhD

Albert added that the war is becoming a war of attrition, and, if one side maintains morale, weapons and supply-chain logistics and if one side can maintain air superiority, it’s likely to have an advantage.

“If Ukraine manages to get F-16s in the fight sooner rather than later, and longer-range missiles are given to them as well, this could cause a stalemate and force Russia into negotiation,” Albert said.

He noted Ukraine is making significant gains in the air and has managed to shoot down seven sophisticated aircraft recently, forcing Russian air units to be more cautious about their tactics and even move further away from the frontline.

“If this continues, Ukraine can exploit this as Russian forces would likely be left without air cover in future battles.”

With everything that has happened in the first two years of the war, it has not deterred Russian President Vladimir Putin from ramping up his resolve.

“Putin has doubled-down,” Albert said. “He has increased his forces in the fight, made more aggressive postures to NATO member states and has unleashed his cyber and informational capabilities across the world to take advantage in those realms. Putin continues to pursue pure power politics and is unlikely to back down.” 

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Written by
Kevin Faigle

Kevin Faigle is Media Relations Specialist at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at

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Avatar photo Written by Kevin Faigle

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