Rostislav Ishchenko, the president of the Center for Systems Analysis and Forecasting, gave an interview to “Prague Telegraph”.
Question 1: In response to recent events in Ukraine how probable is an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Russia and NATO?
Answer: The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will be possible only if the regime in Kiev directly attacks Russian territory (most likely in the Crimea peninsula). If such an attack will not take place, the conflict will further develop in the format of the Civil War, with a gradual and accelerating move of the front line to the West.
As for a conflict between Russia and NATO, the probability is extremely low. Even if the individual contingents of NATO will be present on the Ukrainian territory, and even if Russia will have to officially send own forces to neutralize their troops (which is unlikely, since the militias are able to solve this problem by themselves), it’s just going to be the destruction of the individual armed contingents of individual countries. But this does not mean that NATO will take over the responsibility for the conflict. That is because the recognition of NATO (and thus the United States) itself in a state of armed conflict with Russia leads to an almost inevitable nuclear standoff. USA is ready for a war between Russia and Europe, but the United States is not ready to place their own cities under a threat of a nuclear attack.
Question 2: In what direction is the situation developing in Ukraine? How long will we have to wait for a win / loss of one of the parties?
Answer: Resources of the Ukrainian state are extremely limited. On the other hand the Western world does not have the resources to maintain Ukraine either. Therefore, it seems to me, the active (military) phase of the conflict is to end by the late winter, tentatively by January 2015. And Kiev must be defeated because if Kiev suddenly defeats Donbass, then the United States will face the question of what to do with this “suitcase without a handle” and where to get the resources to maintain it? Kiev’s defeat in the Civil War absolves America of all responsibility. In Washington, they will announce that it is all Putin’s fault. But if Kiev wins and then collapses under the weight of economic problems, the blame will be squarely on Washington, who would appear too greedy to rescue an ally.… -->continue reading →