According to military experts and defense analysts, the much-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russia that was expected to be launched in the spring of 2023 did not materialize. They also predict that a breakthrough in the war is unlikely in 2024, with intense fighting expected to continue. The experts believe that Kyiv's forces are unlikely to launch any more counteroffensives, while Russia is likely to focus on consolidating the territory it has already seized in eastern Ukraine.
The trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine war in 2024 is expected to be influenced by the United States, Ukraine's largest military supporter. The level of aid provided by the US, both in the run-up to and following the presidential election, will play a crucial role. Retired Army Lt. General Stephen Twitty stated that the outcome of the war could be determined by whether Ukraine receives the necessary resupply, funding, equipment, and personnel. He also noted that both sides have achieved very little so far.
Ukraine's forces have faced challenges in breaking through heavily-fortified Russian positions along the frontline. While some progress has been made, largely attritional battles have resulted in neither side making significant gains. The weather conditions in Ukraine, including mud, freezing rain, snow, and ice, have further complicated offensive and reconnaissance operations.
The future of aid for Ukraine is uncertain in 2024, particularly with the US presidential election potentially bringing changes in support for Kyiv. Concerns have been raised that aid for Ukraine could be significantly reduced if former US President Donald Trump, known for his good relations with Russia's Vladimir Putin, is elected. The dependence of Ukraine on US support, as well as the lack of significant support from the European Union, raises concerns about Ukraine's chances of survival and victory.
It is unlikely that negotiations or a ceasefire will occur in the near future, as both Ukraine and Russia continue to invest heavily in the war. The baseline scenario for 2024 is expected to be a continuation of the current intensity of fighting, with neither side making significant territorial gains. The outcome of the war remains uncertain, with the level of support from the US and the actions of both sides playing a decisive role.