Russia’s war in Ukraine has now lasted over 300 days.
As we head into 2023, it’s still not clear when or how it will end.
Here’s a brief summary of what’s happened so far and what might be to come.
The war so far
When Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his army to invade Ukraine in February, he planned to capture the whole country.
It hasn’t worked out that way. Ukraine’s resistance, bolstered by Western supplies, has been stronger than many expected.
Russia has also made a number of strategic blunders. It’s lost an estimated 100,000 soldiers and has been forced to narrow its focus to sections of Ukraine’s east.
However, this doesn’t mean Ukraine is about to ‘win’. The war is now in a deadlock. Russia has targeted air strikes at Ukrainian power facilities to force a cold and dark winter.
It’s also bolstering its army and seems to be pressuring its ally Belarus to join the war. There are fears Iran, another ally, will supply Russia with more missiles as it runs out.
Ukrainian leaders believe Russia is preparing for a ground offensive in the new year.
How can it end?
At least for now, there is no sign of a negotiated peace. Talks have broken down altogether.
Ukraine maintains it wants to push Russia out completely, not just from the territory it invaded this year but also from Crimea, the southern area it invaded in 2014.
Meanwhile, though Putin has admitted the war is “extremely difficult”, Russia has not shown any sign of abandoning its objectives.
The longer the war goes on, the more difficult it will be for both sides.
Ukraine is in deep economic trouble, so much so that it has asked refugees not to return home during winter as it struggles to provide for everyone.
Russia’s economy has held up better, but the political cost is mounting for Putin. He faces an unusual amount of public criticism, reports of rifts between key officials, and even speculation he could be replaced (though this remains unlikely).
The human toll
As the war enters its second calendar year, the human consequences continue to mount.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed or injured, and millions have fled.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy describes conditions in the eastern part of the country as “like World War II”. The arrival of winter is widely expected to make the situation worse.