Invasions don’t end very well. War is always a “lose-lose” proposition. Putin is discovering that his invasion of Ukraine is not easy to implement. As I see it, there are two “end games” and I hope the second one prevails.
Putin wants to eliminate (murder) the president and all important leaders of Ukraine. With control of Kyiv, he will find someone who will be his puppet president in Kyiv. Then, the puppet president will ask Russia for assistance in bringing order to Ukraine. At that point, Ukraine is effectively controlled by Russia.
The puppet president of Ukraine will, with Putin’s blessing, be as corrupt and uncaring about Ukraine. There is no way that Ukraine will accept Russian rule.
The country may be split, east and west, with Putin firmly in control of the east. This will never be a satisfactory outcome for Putin, who will continue to attack the west. He will reduce Lviv to rubble. He must control the entire country to secure his gas pipelines.
Putin will use the Wagner Group’s mercanaries to carry out the assassinations. The “Wagner Group” operates for profit, benefiting from conflicts around the globe, including Syria, Crimea, Central African Republic and Libya. And of course, Ukraine, initially in the Dunbas region. It is likely that the Wagner Group is or will become just an extension of Russia’s GRU (international intelligence service). It has been reported that the GRU basically hands out Russian passports to members of the Wagner Group. (see links below). The GRU is responsible for the cyberwarfare being conducted against Ukraine.
There can even be elections, like in Belarus, with the puppet president gaining the vast majority of the votes. The Russian government can not control the flow of information, in this day of internet and satellites.
The second end game, is that there is enough pressure from within Russia, to reverse course. Kyiv is not captured. The Russian convoy suffers massive damage, and there is little will to fight an urban war in Kyiv. The armored column can not enter the narrow streets of Kyiv. So, some face saving peace plan is devised for Putin to withdraw his forces. The next few days will be critical.
I am hoping and praying for the second end game.
Wikipedia, Wagner Group.
Wikipedia, Russia’s GRU
It is rare that I include the very biased Fox News station as a source. I note Fox News contributor (former CIA officer, Mike Baker) added valuable information on the connection of the GRU and the Wagner Group. The Wagner Group was battling ISIS in Syria and then in Libya in support of the Tobruk faction. His views on Chechnya’s involvement and use of these forces as “plausible deniability” for war time atracities is also consistent with other experts in the area. Kennedy’s glib remarks were annoying but I guess that’s her style.