This study is a continuation of the previous work done on scenario building in November 2022 with a foresight analysis of potential short- and medium-term security developments in Ukraine and their further implications for European and global security. Our team have developed five possible scenarios of political and military transformations with varying degrees of likelihood.

In our approach, we have combined the elements of foresight, expert survey, brainstorming, and desk research to map possible transformations and changes in Ukraine’s security environment. As in previous work, the project team anchored much of their framework building around a recent article by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi.

Forty-one influential Ukrainian experts have selected the top ten factors among 58 suggested for consideration, various developments of which drive different scenarios. This helped us project various positive and negative options for the transformation of Ukraine’s security situation in 2024 and 2025. As in previous work, we have included probability scores for each scenario based on experts’ reading of the current events in and around the Russian war against Ukraine. Nonetheless, for obvious reasons, we were not in a position to obtain full and comprehensive information from confidential sources.

All the proposed scenarios have a common denominator: Russia will never relinquish the idea of conquering Ukraine and destroying its statehood, regardless of changes in the political regime there (seeing Russia turning democratic in the immediate future is close to impossible). Therefore, many experts consider the factor of the “withdrawal of Putin from power” as less relevant to the analysis (ranking as far as number 37 out of 58 factors). Russia will never forget and forgive its humiliation in its blitzkrieg plans to conquer Ukraine, as Ukraine stands alone, and strengthens itself as a strong military state. Russia will be licking its wounds and preparing itself for another fight, be it in two or three years or more.

With Russia being infamous for its careless breaches of the international legal order, no one should rely on its maturity to respect it in the future. With this in mind, strong mechanisms of deterrence, notably bilateral security arrangements with Ukraine in the immediate term, and membership of Ukraine in the EU and NATO in the medium term are considered to be the only viable instruments to bring down Russia’s imperialistic appetites.

In contrast to our previous Scenarios 2022/23, this work foresees more in the way of negative or ambiguous scenarios. Nevertheless, our analysis aims to provide our partner countries with a clear understanding of all possible implications from each of them and to recommend a clear pathway to increase the probability of the most desirable positive scenario with the obvious beneficial outcomes to restore and preserve democracy on the European continent.

Read more in the report below.