Reuters / Viacheslav Ratynskyi

Single title

Victory? Stalemate? Escalation?

by Alexander Schuster

Possible developments of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine by 24 February 2024

Ukrainians are fighting for a future in peace and freedom. This also affects us, because what we do or don't do today has a direct impact on the people of Ukraine, on security in Europe and on the international order. For the sake of being better prepared for possible developments in the course of the war, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has devised four scenarios together with experts from 13 European countries.

24 February 2022 marked the beginning of Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine one year ago. While many ruled out a victory for Ukraine in the first few days, the impression changed over the past summer so that many considered Ukraine invincible. However, in this war many developments are still conceivable: The victory of Ukraine, a victory of Russia but also, various other scenarios are possible. Since Ukraine’s successes depend to a large extent on international support and Western arms supplies, it is partially up to the West which scenario becomes reality – action, late action, or inaction not only determine the course but may also settle the outcome of the war.The Russian invasion of Ukraine caught Germany completely unprepared. Germany had become too comfortable over the years: since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, nobody no longer wanted to concern ourselves with the possibility of a war of aggression on the continent. As a result, less and less was invested in defense and security. The foreign and security policy threat posed by Russia since 2008 was merely acknowledged and did not lead to a change of policy. This mistake must not be repeated! In the future, Germany and Europe  must be better prepared for international challenges. This begins with becoming clear about possible further developments in the course of the war in Ukraine and about the risks and opportunities of various options for action.

To this end, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung held a workshop in Berlin on 11 and 12 February 2023 together with the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats from Finland. At the event, more than 20 experts from 13 European countries, primarily from Central and Eastern Europe and countries of the Eastern Partnership as well as Russia, developed and discussed possible scenarios and documented the findings. The task and goal of the workshop was to outline four possible scenarios for the progress of the war in Ukraine in exactly one year:

  • Scenario 1: "Democracy Prevails" – Ukraine has won
  • Scenario 2: "The End of the End of History" – Russia has won
  • Scenario 3: "Kinda Minsk III" – There is a standoff between Ukraine and Russia
  • Scenario 4: "No Peace in our Time" – High-intensity fighting continues to prevail

Find out which scenarios were developed and which recommendations are given in our Policy Paper "Victory? Stalemate? Escalation? - Possible developments of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine by 24 February 2024". The entire analysis can be read here as a PDF.


Dr. Christina Catherine Krause


Head of Department International Politics and Security Affairs +49 30 26996-3445 +49 30 26996-53445

Alexander Schuster

Alexander Schuster

European Security