Ukraine

What's Next in Russia's War on Ukraine? Experts Look at Possible Scenarios

The world is watching eastern Europe following Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine

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As explosions intensify in Ukraine, many are asking, "What's next?"

Experts say there are several scenarios.

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"One is that Russia pushes forward with the invasion, surrounds and eventually seizes Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, and then ousts President Zelenskyy and tries to put its own puppet in place," explained Professor Chris Miller of Tufts Fletcher School.

That could result in a messy and violent long-term occupation of a land whose people are already fighting back against Russia.

Miller said another scenario is "that Russia decides, over the next couple of weeks, that it's not getting what it wants at a reasonable cost and tries to cut some sort of deal."

Russian and Ukrainian officials have met for talks on the border with Belarus, but there has not been progress toward peace.

"I think Russia is not very serious about the compromise," said Wellesley Professor Nina Tumarkin.

She says any deal would require Ukraine to agree to demands like recognizing the independence of the two eastern provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk.

"The second demand would be that Ukraine recognize that Crimea is Russian," Tumarkin said.

She says it's unlikely Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would agree to other demands — such as demilitarization, a regime change or a pledge never to join NATO.

"No matter what, I think we're looking at possibly very widespread casualties," Tumarkin said.

Many feel the best, but least likely, outcome would be the Russian people trying to oust President Vladimir Putin.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman thinks Putin will eventually pay for his assault on Ukraine.

"I see a war crimes tribunal if he goes ahead with his onslaught on Kiev," he said.

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, is one of two U.S. senators who have filed bipartisan legislation to designate Putin a war criminal.

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