Where Will Russia Stop in Ukraine?

I see this debate again and again.

First, this is an open question. Russians will adapt to the situation on the ground.

That being said…

All the ethnically Russian or pro-Russian oblasts would be integrated into Russian Federation after some period. At the very least, it will form a new state which is closely allied to Russia — militarily, economically, culturally…

All the rest will be controlled by the Russian Army. At first where will be a disassembly of the Ukrainian armed forces, with only police and alike left to enforce the laws. At the same time, the population would be filtered for “nationalists” and the ones Russia sees as criminals. After the pacification and the cleansing, Russia will gradually withdraw its forces from those territories, leaving some bases on the border with NATO countries and some “peacekeepers” to keep a close eye on what is going on there. Whey will not install their puppet government, although only Russian-friendly (or at least non anti-Russian) politicians will be able to man a government office. Farther down the line, all remaining Russian forces could get withdrawn, after that is remained of Ukraine will sign treaties assuring the neutral and non-militaristic nature of the state. Some other economically etc. agreements will be also signed, to favor Russia.

This assuming there will be no advances from Poland or other countries, or similar complications.

Naturally, at this point, the West will loose any interest in Ukraine, as it lost it after Georgia decided it is not interested in war with Russia.

So, in conclusion: I believe Russian forces will stop then they control all of the Ukraine’s territory, but only Russian-aligned regions will detach from Ukraine to form a new state or to be absorbed by Russian Federation. And I guess all the pro-Russian regions would prefer to become a part of Russia, except, maybe, the Donetsk (and less probably the Lugansk) Republics. They had enough time to produce their own politicians, and politicians are never interested in relinquishing the power they acquired. Well, they will be probably persuaded to ask to be annexed by the Russian Federation as well, eventually.

Expanding on the aforementioned points

Many people are justified to point out that Russia isn’t interested to involve itself with unfriendly population. Russia isn’t Soviet Union, to conquer unfriendly counties and try to govern them by force. There is no ideology in place any more, to justify such behavior. So they will only do it then it is absolutely necessary, and only for as long as necessary. At least as long as the generations who remember those mistakes made by the Soviet Union are in power.

On the other hand, “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine possible only if either:

  1. Ukrainians will agree to self-demilitarize and self-denazify themselves;
  2. Russians will do it for them.

Since #1 is extremely unlikely to happen, what remains is #2, which means Russia has to take control over all the territory of Ukraine, to achieve those two goals. If either will not be achieved, the remaining of Ukrainian state could again become the unpredictable agitator right on the Union State (Russia and Belarus) borders.

That is why, assuming Russian politicians don’t want to make mistake again and again, they will have to take all of the Ukraine.

The solution which freezes the conflict is only lengthening it.

“Demilitarization” will probably mean no heavy weaponry — no armored combat vehicles, combat aircraft, missiles or artillery. Assault rifles etc. will be allowed for special police units, border guards etc. Some transport and patrol aviation in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but no fighter jets or attack helicopters.

Since some opposition will appear, and it will be financially and materially supported by European countries, first of all by Poland, Russians will prefer for Ukrainian units to deal with it. If they will be effective, they will be given more weapons and equipment. If they won’t be, and Russians will have to do it themselves, Ukrainian forces will be allowed only the very basic armament. As Chechens, who have light weapons and armored cars, but no heavy armament, so will be Ukrainian police and other armed forces.

Any argument that Ukrainians need heavy weapons to protect their borders will be negated by the Russian claim that it will guarantee its territorial integrity against third countries: all Ukrainians will have to do is to sign some agreements ant treaties with Russia.

Russia is committing itself to restoration of the Eastern Ukraine. This commitment is sensible only if Russia is intending to absorb those territories.

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