'Would create big problems' Expert pinpoints two most likely ways war in Ukraine will end

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'Would create big problems' Expert pinpoints two most likely ways war in Ukraine will end

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dimitar Bechev, a Russian and East European Studies lecturer at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, outlined t

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Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dimitar Bechev, a Russian and East European Studies lecturer at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, outlined the main possibilities according to the most recent developments. Mr Bechev said that the most likely scenario will see Russia occupying part of Ukraine, provoking a continuation of the conflict, due to local resistance.

The lecturer added: “Vladimir Putin could most likely end up occupying a wide area of Ukraine but not the whole of it – probably the Eastern part up to the Dnieper river, including the cities that are already captured.

“But that could generate even bigger problems since we know that hardly anybody from the locals would embrace Russians.

“That will be a problem for Putin especially if he is to occupy big cities like Kyiv.”

The second most possible scenario, Mr Bechev explained, would be for Putin to withdraw all of his troops, with the Ukrainians accepting concessions in return.

Mr Bechev said: “Concession could involve the regime establishment in Crimea; neutrality as a clause in the Constitution; and Ukraine not to join NATO.”

But, he added: “Unfortunately, it might take much longer for us to get there. There won’t be a defeat for Russia.”

He explained: “They are competing on some issues while cooperating on others where they have common interests.

“But now, Turkey sees Russian expansionism as a problem.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has so far refused to participate in the sanctions against Russia.

The country holds high-level talks about the developments between Russia and Ukraine, as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Mr Erdogan in Ankara on Monday.

Following their meeting, Mr Erdogan stated diplomatic efforts need to be accelerated, noting: “Turkey will do its best to bring together both parties.”

Mr Bechev believes there are opportunities for Turkey to act as a mediator, but that this is unlikely to happen.

He said: “We are not quite there yet, because there is no political will from Russia to actually negotiate.”

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And he went on to explain the difficult position Mr Erdogan is in at the moment.

He said: “Turkey is leaning towards the West, it is helping Ukraine, having talks with the US and EU.

“But, on the other hand, it is not willing to impose sanctions or close its airspace for Russia because he is in a difficult position – he feels vulnerable to Putin because of Syria.

“Also, there is a lot of discontent in Turkey, with high inflation and if things go really badly, the economic situation might deteriorate.

“If Russia retaliates, imposes embargoes, and places pressure on the Turkish economy, as it did in 2016, that will hurt a lot domestically.”

The expert concluded “there is no scenario where Erdogan stands with Russia” due to its NATO membership, and predicted that Turkey “will choose to wait, and see.”

He added: “If Russia is on the cusp of defeat, then Mr Erdogan will join the West.”



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