Estonian expert: Ukraine needs battlefield success to ensure support from the West

In order to secure long-term aid from Western countries, Ukraine needs to find success on the battlefield, while no new offensive to push out Russian troops seems to be happening in the coming months, security expert Indrek Kannik said.

“To make sure the West remains united behind Ukraine, the latter needs to demonstrate military successes from time to time, tangible results, or territory [reclaimed] in other words,” Kannik said on the “Vikerhommik” radio show Monday morning.

He said that Ukraine was served well by the fact it managed to liberate a considerable part of Kharkiv Oblast and the west bank of the Dnipro in Kherson.

“It showed that Ukraine is capable of liberating territories, and I believe they need to find similar success in the next four to six months to retain the West’s support. Should the front become static, voices suggesting that a ceasefire might be in order after all will grow louder in European capitals, but also in Washington to some degree,” Kannik remarked.

The expert said that most Western leaders have by now realized that concessions must not be made to Russia. “This problem is not as serious as it may at times seem viewed from here. But their idea of where it might be sensible to draw the line and end the war may differ from ours,” he suggested.

Many capitals do not share in the conviction that Ukraine must restore its 1991 borders, while it is also understood that simply stopping and suing for peace is also not an option for Ukraine, Kannik noted.

A ceasefire in the current situation would still constitute a victory for Putin – additional territories, whereas a ceasefire would inevitably see Russia try again in the future, the expert said, adding that the next attack might happen in Ukraine or somewhere else.

No reason for Estonia to fear

Kannik also said that Estonia should not fear a Russian attack on February 24.

“February 24 will mark the Anniversary of the Republic, with everything that it entails /…/,” Kannik said. “We have nothing to fear on February 24, while it is sad the holiday has taken on a whole new meaning for us, which will linger for a long time to come.”

Kannik said that Russia does not have the strength to open a second front. “And I believe this situation will last for at least a few more years. But, unfortunately, it is clear that however this war ends, it is more likely that Russia will remain an aggressive country and one to test the nerves of its neighbors,” he added.

“They are constantly planning attacks on some level. If only news that the Russians have managed to stage a coup in Moldova from last week demonstrates that they are not just sitting quietly, waiting for the tide to turn.”

It is more difficult to say what might happen in Ukraine. There is speculation that Russia might unleash another massive missile barrage to inflict more damage and hit infrastructure. However, the number of missiles it has thrown at Ukraine has been lower in recent attacks. Rather, I doubt we will see anything too massive on the day,” Kannik added.

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