”Intense battles on the battlefield are to wait this spring”

Tue 21 Feb 2023 12:52

On Friday, it’s been a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Håkan Gunneriusson, associate professor at RCR, has followed the development and commented on the same in the media on several occasions. We let him look back and look forward. Unfortunately, he does not see any imminent peace.

Håkan Gunneriusson
Håkan Gunneriusson, associate professor at Risk and Crisis Research Centre, Mid Sweden University. Photo: Annacarin Aronsson.

– What has surprised the most is that Russia so unilaterally invested in a coup attempt to succeed in February 2022, that there was no real reserve plan. This was evident when even the regular warfare in the spring showed major flaws. If you can choose which season and what year you want for a strategic assault on a country, you should reasonably have prepared for the consequences of this, he says.

When he sums up the most important of the past year, he points out a change as particularly significant — that the political West has changed its stance towards Russia.

– The Russian spell has been released. A year ago, it was important not to escalate the conflict by providing military support to Ukraine. The West wanted to avoid disruptions in the globalised economy, but now we still have disturbances in the economy so that argument fell. In addition, Russian action is a security policy problem for Europe, so there are self-serving reasons to support Ukraine, alongside all ethical reasons. Nowadays, there are few limits to what kind of military support you can possibly equip Ukraine with, says Håkan Gunneriusson.

The anniversary of the Russian invasion is celebrated through various manifestations around Sweden and the world. For Håkan Gunneriusson there are still intensive periods due to the media coverage of the conflict so on Wednesday he will chat with P4's listeners to answer questions about the war.

What significance can we attach to the fact that the anniversary is celebrated?

– As I said, Ukraine needs continued support from the political West in order to be able to conduct warfare successfully. In this way, manifestations are important, to remind the citizens of democratic countries that the war is going on and that there is legitimacy for their elected politicians giving support to Ukraine.

What can we expect to happen in the next few months?

– As the weather improves in spring and the mud Rasputitsa releases, Russia will once again try to reach a decisive point on the battlefield. By then, Ukraine will also have received artillery and combat vehicles so their capabilities for maneuver warfare will also have improved by that time. All in all, there will be intense battles. The advantage of Ukraine is that they have the support of NATO’s intelligence gathering via AWACS, JSTAR and satellites. Without surprise, it is difficult for Russia to succeed. On the other hand Ukraine basically lack military industry, they need continued strong support from the West, he says.

Is it realistic to hope for a war end in 2023?

– No, that’s not realistic. What could happen is, of course, a change of the Russian leadership, coup or natural death. It is, however, uncertain, and secondly, it does not mean that foreign policy is changed for the Russian part.


Håkan Gunneriusson, associate professor at Risk and Crisis research Centre, Mid Sweden University, +4610-142 89 84, hakan.gunneriusson@miun.se



The page was updated 2/21/2023