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Russia’s 2026 Plan for Ukraine Analyzed by Think Tanks


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In the ever-evolving conflict between Russia and Ukraine, a recent report from German outlet Bild sheds light on Russia’s purported new plan, outlining intentions to occupy significant territories by 2026.

The reported strategy marks a departure from previous annexations and raises concerns about the prolonged nature of the conflict.


The Reported Plan

According to Bild’s intelligence sources, Russia’s strategic plan spans from 2024 to 2026, with the first phase targeting the complete occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and advancing toward the Oskil River in Kharkiv oblast by the end of 2024. Subsequently, in the years 2025 and 2026, Russia aims to extend its control over large parts of the Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, and Kharkiv regions.


Analysis by Think Tanks

While the Institute for the Study of War acknowledges its inability to independently authenticate Bild’s reporting, it aligns with ongoing Russian preparations for a prolonged war effort. The south of Ukraine, including the Kherson region, is reportedly no longer a priority for Russia. Instead, the focus has shifted to preventing Ukrainian forces from advancing towards Crimea.


The Role of the Dnipro River

A notable aspect of the reported plan is the strategic significance attributed to the Dnipro River, which becomes the new front in Russia’s envisioned territorial expansion. Recent months have witnessed intense battles along the river, with Ukraine establishing a bridgehead on the eastern bank.


Preparations and Economic Assumptions

Russia’s preparations, including a growing defense budget, signal its readiness for a protracted conflict, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The plan relies on certain assumptions, such as sustained growth in the Russian war economy, a specific casualty rate among Ukrainian troops, and potential shifts in support based on the outcome of the 2024 US presidential election.


US Political Dynamics

The upcoming 2024 US presidential election emerges as a crucial factor in Russia’s plans. The reported strategy hinges on the assumption that a new US leader, possibly emerging from the 2024 election, would be less supportive of Ukraine, thereby altering the geopolitical landscape.


Current US Senate Delays and Aid Package

Presently, Senate Republicans are stalling the approval of the Biden administration’s proposed aid package to Ukraine. Their demands include evidence that increased aid would contribute to Ukraine’s victory and a push for elevated spending on border security. These delays underscore the intricacies of US involvement and its impact on Ukraine’s ability to withstand Russian advances.


Western Support and the Stakes for Ukraine

Ukraine’s ability to resist total Russian takeover has been significantly bolstered by Western support, particularly from the United States. The US has been a primary supplier of military aid, contributing billions of dollars in weapons and training. As the conflict evolves, the role of Western nations remains pivotal in shaping Ukraine’s resilience against Russian aggression.



The reported plan by Russia for a prolonged occupation of Ukrainian territories unveils a complex and evolving geopolitical landscape. The Dnipro River emerges as a symbolic battleground, and assumptions about economic sustainability and political shifts add layers of uncertainty. The upcoming US presidential election and ongoing Senate deliberations on aid packages underscore the intricate dynamics that will influence the course of this protracted conflict. As the situation unfolds, international attention remains crucial in shaping the fate of Ukraine and the broader implications for global security.

Muhammad Arshad
Muhammad Arshad
Mr Arshad is is an experienced journalist who currently holds the position of Deputy Editor (Editorial) at The Think Tank Journal.

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