Churchill wrote ‘The Statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.’

What develops in Ukraine and Russia over the next 6 months has big implications everywhere from Governments to European households. As result, this forecast and supporting assessment are to inform those charged with making decisions be that political, military or even domestic. It is a wave-top assessment only and the deductions will be sensitive to real-world events as they unfold.

And we thank a wide range of analysts, commentators and others that publish their thoughts via Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels. Over the last 200+ days, the analysis has often been excellent and insightful. There has been some very notable analysis on the prospects of the conflict turning nuclear in recent days which are worth looking for.

Entities seeking more specific support, especially with economic or other interests, should get in touch via

To support the forecast it is worth considering some of the critical factors affecting the course of events so far:

Putin Sets the Conditions for Military Failure.

Zelensky Call to Arms.

Atrocious Russian Military Performance.

Exceptional Ukrainian Military Performance.

Clever Operational Design.

  • Create logistic difficulties for the Russians by targeting depots and stores which impedes resupply of artillery ammunition and fuel.
  • Maximise the potential of Ukraine’s own logistic means of good railways and roads to move men and material from one front to another under a strong cloak of security.
  • Mass in the south, telegraph your intentions, draw in as many Russian Battalions as possible in order to encourage the Russians to thin out the lines near Kharkiv.
  • Attack the main Russian forces in the Kherson front to keep the Russian reinforcements in place and degrade their premier combat units.
  • Subsequently, attack in the north and use all means, including light raiding forces into the Russian rear-areas, to fracture the Russian logistic system and break through the thin Russian lines.

As we have observed, once the Ukrainians broke through the Russian defensive line they were able to disrupt resupply and reinforcement; which caused the rapid collapse and retreat in disarray of the Russian defenders.

The above is an oversimplification and does not pay sufficient tribute to both the Ukrainian Generalship and the very tough fighting that is being conducted at the infantryman level. The scale of sacrifice is a testament to the ‘why’ inspired by Zelensky and others. Undoubtedly, the Ukrainian people mobilised and threw themselves at the enemy with courage and innovation which draws respect and admiration from all quarters.

The Forecast

So what for the future 0-6 months?

  • Coup in the Kremlin.
  • Diplomatic Settlement.
  • Total Collapse of the Russian Army back to a rump in Crimea.
  • Will Russian Mobilisation Succeed?
  • Ukraine Recovers Crimea.
  • Russian use of Tactical Nuclear Weapons.
  • The US and Europeans remain Strong.
  • Maritime Blockade.

Russia and Ukraine Regenerate their Armies.

For the West this requires several important actions:

  • Police sanctions much more rigorously, including investigating the many covert routes of procurement/trade being used, to reduce Russia’s ability to build sophisticated systems.
  • Resupply Ukraine’s depleted stocks and supplies for the maintenance/repair of Western-made systems.
  • Provide training from tactical through to combined arms manoeuvre training. This should also include funding training of Ukrainian equipment support battalions which will, in turn, help the army keep equipment operational. Part of this will have to be delivered by contractors inside Ukraine.

For Russia the challenge is huge; they will need to:

  • Rebuild an army that has lost a huge amount of prestige equipment, experienced officers and soldiers, and whose morale is extremely low.
  • Recruit soldiers and train them. Not only will they need to be trained to fire a rifle but man, equip, maintain and operate armoured formations in a coherent way.
  • Resolve their theatre logistic problems which will probably mean the Russian Army will have to reorganise the way they have conducted logistics.
  • Address the poor performance of their highly technical systems - like Air Defence, which have, thus far, underperformed.

In this regard, Prevail’s conclusion is that the Ukrainian Military will be better prepared than the Russians for renewed offensives by spring 2023. Notwithstanding, assuming the frontlines are relatively stable over the winter, a good army (UKR) dislodging a poor army (RUS) from well-prepared positions that remain supported by a substantial artillery superiority (RUS), will remain very challenging and costly. Russia is however seeking to rapidly replace expended capability through deals such as drone purchases from Iran, which may cover some domestic production shortfalls in the short term and cause difficulties for Ukrainian attackers.

Wider Security Implications.

The image above is from the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) Summit, held on 15-16 September 2022 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Putin apparently received a number of rebuffs at the summit, including being made to wait by President Erdogan (Turkey) and President Japarov (Kyrgyzstan). Putin was also largely ignored by President Xi (China), who did not make any significant overtures of friendship towards Russia and was reportedly lectured by Prime Minister Modi (India) over the invasion of Ukraine. These factors demonstrate how Russia and Putin are losing their standing among the international community, even among nominal allies.

Azerbaijan has recently re-engaged in hostilities with Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led security alliance of which Armenia was also a member between 1994 and 1999. Azerbaijan likely began the border clashes over the disputed territory in order to gauge the Russian response – and that response was almost non-existent. This has caused some Armenian journalists and members of the public to question why Armenia remains in the organisation at all if no help is provided. Additionally, there have been recently renewed border clashes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – both of whom are full members of the CSTO. Putin’s folly in Ukraine has not only eroded Russian combat power but has likely also seriously degraded its international standing among allied/partner nations.

China and Taiwan.

Borodyanka Photo/Алесь Усцінаў