The Troubled Future of Ukraine as Zelenskyy Navigates Through Critical Phases

In the current geopolitical landscape, Ukraine faces a complex array of challenges with profound implications.

In the current geopolitical landscape, Ukraine faces a complex array of challenges with profound implications. Western military assistance, while insufficient to secure a decisive victory over Russia, seems adequate to prevent Ukraine’s defeat. Yet simultaneously, Ukraine’s resource limitations pose obstacles to achieving a complete triumph over Russia, which means a likely prolonged conflict strategy to exhaust Russia’s military capabilities.

The temporal dimension plays a crucial role, pressuring both Russia and Ukraine as the conflict persists. Europe and the U.S. cannot overlook the ongoing war after the Israeli conflict concludes. At the same time, excessive sacrifices in Ukraine hinder the prospect of peaceful negotiations. A Russian victory would embolden President Vladimir Putin, straining international relations and potentially leading to increased NATO involvement. When that happens, Nordic countries may face repercussions from Russia, escalating the risk of NATO involvement.

The U.S. military, for all that matter, facing the challenge of reconstructing strategic tactics post-Afghanistan, cannot accept a Russian victory in Ukraine. A catastrophic defeat may result in unpredictable and severe consequences, including a potential nuclear disaster in Europe.

To navigate this complex landscape, Ukraine might adopt a protracted conflict strategy, leveraging national unity as its greatest resource. Unity not only ensures victory but attracts more Western assistance and makes it difficult for Russia to prevail. Its strategic success lies in prolonging the conflict, exhausting Russian resources, and forcing a conditional end to the war.

While President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s considerations about Ukraine’s relations with the U.S. and the EU do reveal strategic calculations, seeing the EU serving as a form of leverage against the U.S., this perspective may be Zelenskyy’s self-perceived notion. In reality, the U.S. desires greater EU involvement, evident in continuous defense meetings and coordination efforts to support Ukraine.

Zelenskyy’s perceived inexperience in international affairs and the need to maintain a credible political image shape his actions, seemingly driven more by passion than strategic acumen.

The EU’s assistance agreement, long under consideration, remains in the realm of proposals and plans. European officials accompanying their Ukrainian counterparts to the U.S. seek funding, potentially reducing the financial burden if successful.

Zelenskyy’s enthusiasm regarding the EU’s approval of accession negotiations may be premature. Financial support is uncertain due to Hungary’s veto, and the situation lacks a concrete agreement. This signifies the EU’s willingness to initiate negotiations, and Zelenskyy’s heightened excitement may underscore the severity of domestic challenges in Ukraine, suggesting a critical phase in Ukrainian politics.

In any case, Ukraine faces intricate challenges that make national unity indispensable for a long-term conflict, and the future remains uncertain as Zelenskyy is currently navigating a critical phase in Ukrainian politics.

Chan Kung
Chan Kung
Founder of Anbound Think Tank in 1993, Chan Kung is now ANBOUND Chief Researcher. Chan Kung is one of China’s renowned experts in information analysis. Most of Chan Kung‘s outstanding academic research activities are in economic information analysis, particularly in the area of public policy.