How and when does the Russia-Ukraine war end? HCSS director of research Tim Sweijs and assistant analyst Mattia Bertolini consider what we can learn from war terminations in the past: how long they lasted, how they ended, whether they relapsed, and what factors contributed to their end.
These insights are used to assess the prospects of war termination in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and provide recommendations to European policymakers to bring an end to the current war and ensure durable peace between Russia and Ukraine.
Only 1/5th of post-WWII wars had a decisive outcome. Almost 1/3rd ended in a ceasefire and only 1/6th ended with a peace agreement. Between 1975-2018, 4 in 10 negotiated peace agreements broke down.
The continuation – or escalation – of the Russia-Ukraine war partially depends on the two sides’ perceptions of prospects of victory, military, economic and humanitarian costs, international and domestic pressure, and faith in any post war settlement.
An end of the war between Russia and Ukraine is not yet in sight. On the contrary, recent attacks on Russian territory, instability in Transnistria, and renewed military support for Ukraine indicate the war is evolving with significant risk of escalation.
European policymakers should take note of the lessons learnt from past war terminations and peace agreements to bring an end to the current war and ensure durable peace between Russia and Ukraine.