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US getting ready for ‘frozen’ conflict in Ukraine — Politico

It is reported that various US agencies and the White House have been speculating about how the events in Ukraine may unfold

WASHINGTON, May 18. /TASS/. Washington is preparing for a possible scenario whereby the conflict in Ukraine becomes prolonged for years or even decades and resembles the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Politico reported Thursday citing its sources.

According to Politico, various US agencies and the White House have been speculating about how the events in Ukraine may unfold. In particular, they have discussed the option of "freezing" it long-term, with lines being negotiated that both Russia and Ukraine would agree not to cross. These lines do not necessarily have to be national borders. Politico calls this scenario the most realistic and likely, because neither side intends to acknowledge defeat, while the White House believes that the upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive will not deal a "fatal blow to Russia."

"We are planning for the long term, whether it looks frozen or thawed," a US official close to the Biden administration’s discussions told Politico. According to the official, long-term planning is becoming an increasing priority for the Administration, while, in recent months, "it was all about the urgent and short-term."

According to Politico, even the very idea of long-term planning may cause apprehension in Kiev about whether the US will continue to aid Ukraine - especially considering that many US Republicans intend to tone down the support for Ukraine in the future. One source, a high-ranking Biden Administration employee, noted that many contingency plans are being discussed right now in case of unforeseen circumstances, because the situation is volatile. According to the official, Washington is only certain that Russia will not "conquer" Ukraine.

US officials that Politico talked to note that the conflict will remain "hot" for a long time, and the US Administration intends to keep sending weapons and aid to Ukraine to "push" Russian forces out of as much territory as possible. The sources expect that hostilities will continue even after the expected Ukrainian counteroffensive. In the medium term, they say, the situation will come to a standstill: fighting will continue, but neither side will achieve any significant progress. They also say a "war of attrition" is a likely scenario, with both sides trying to inflict huge casualties on each other, in hopes that the other side will acknowledge defeat.

Korean scenario

According to Politico, the longer the conflict lasts, the more pressure will be brought to bear on both Russia and Ukraine - both from within and from other countries. The sides will be pushed to agree to a ceasefire, truce or some other legal way of stopping the conflict.

Some US officials and analysts told Politico that the Korean war may serve as a model for how the Ukrainian conflict may unfold. The active phase of that conflict ended with a ceasefire in 1953, but the two Koreas have not yet officially declared the war over even now, 70 years later.

"A Korea-style stoppage is certainly something that’s been discussed by experts and analysts inside and outside of our government" when it comes to Ukraine, the former Biden administration official said. "It’s plausible, because neither side would need to recognize any new borders and the only thing that would have to be agreed is to stop shooting along a set line," the official told Politico.

The newspaper notes that, unlike the Ukrainian conflict, US troops were involved in the Korean War and Washington still keeps thousands of soldiers in South Korea.