As winter begins to make itself felt, Ukraine and Russia are already preparing for next year’s war. Military strategist Mick Ryan analyzes what the two 2023 war campaigns could look like.

The Russian invasion did not go as Putin expected in February – forcing Russia to change its war strategy time and time again. Now both sides are secretly preparing for strategic attacks next year.

In addition to preparing for the next campaign, Russia is trying to hold as much territory as possible – but what options might Russia have in 2023? Australian military strategist Mick Ryan analyzes what the Russian and Ukrainian campaign could look like on ABC News.

The ex-general explains that the Russian strategy currently consists of five elements: On the one hand, the narrative that it is a war to defend against NATO is important for the Russian strategy. That Ukraine would supposedly be ruled by Nazis is also part of the Russian campaign. This narrative is intended to maintain support for the war in Russia, Ryan said.

The energy crisis in the west is also part of the Russian strategy: Putin still hopes to be able to influence public opinion in the west with the energy war. Another aspect Ryan mentions is the strategic bombing: the Russian armed forces are deliberately targeting cities, infrastructure and civilians.

In addition, the Russian partial mobilization program is also part of the Russian war strategy. In this way, personnel losses are to be replaced and new troops are to be built up. A final part of Russia’s strategy is to keep the annexed territories in Ukraine, Ryan said.

But how will Russia change its strategy next year? The military strategist explains that the first component of a Russian campaign in 2023 is likely to include strategic attacks – logistics and training centers in particular could be targeted by the Russians. But influencing the West is also part of Putin’s plan: “But Russia will also try to prevent foreign investment in Ukraine,” said Ryan.

As a second element of Russia’s 2023 campaign, the ex-general cites military operations in which many newly mobilized Russian troops would be used to hold the annexed Ukrainian territories. This is an important political and strategic goal of the Russians, explains Ryan: “It includes taking territory, but also crushing partisans in the already conquered parts of Ukraine”.

Moreover, in 2023 Putin would engage in political activity to “Russify” the territories controlled by Russia, according to the military strategist. According to Ryan, Putin’s motive is clear: he wants to use this to further legitimize the Russian invasion for the Russian population.

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A final part of Russia’s campaign next year could be to detain Ukrainians in specific locations so their forces cannot be used for offensive or defensive purposes in southern or eastern Ukraine, Ryan said.

While Russia establishes a new strategy, Ukraine must also adjust its approach. The military strategist explains that continued Western support is a key element for Ukraine in the coming year, whether it be equipment, training, financial or humanitarian aid. Ultimately, according to Ryan, Ukraine can only prevail if the West shows resources and strategic patience.

For example, Ukraine would need a larger supply of air and missile defense and anti-drone technologies. There is also a need for armored fighting vehicles, ammunition and intelligence support.

“Ukrainian ‘corrosion strategy’ – attacking Russian logistics, C2 and morale – will continue to be crucial,” explains the ex-general. However, it will have to adapt if the Russians change their strategy.

Ryan continues: “The Ukrainians must win the battle to learn and adapt – on the battlefield and in strategic information warfare”.

Strategic influence over Ukraine is also crucial: “Wars are never pleasant, but this is the right war to be waged now and it must be fully supported by the West.”

Even if the war doesn’t stop next winter, the military strategist believes it will continue at a different pace.

Putin wants to tighten control of the flow of funds to equip the army. Trenches in Crimea can be seen on satellite images. According to a US general, more than 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured in Ukraine so far. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.

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