Dr Jonathan Eyal from the British Royal United Service Institute, in a well-reasoned recent piece of analysis, forecasts:
"..sooner rather than later, the US and its allies will start supplying weapons to the Ukrainian military. This will not be because anyone believes that Ukraine can defeat Russia; instead, there is the belief that, if the costs of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine start to rise, Moscow may be deterred from attempting to do the same elsewhere.....the aim will be to embroil Russia in a prolonged confrontation which it cannot sustain, and from which it cannot easily extricate itself."
The US Congress has now officially urged President Obama "to quickly approve additional efforts to support Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereign territory, including through the transfer of lethal, defensive weapons systems to the Ukrainian military."
Importantly, the Congressmen proposed: "We should not wait until Russian troops and their separatist proxies take Mariupol or Kharkiv before we act to bolster the Ukrainian government’s ability to deter and defend against further aggression."
Dr Eyal, in the conclusion to his article, predicts: "What we are likely to see is the advent of two proxy wars in Europe: one played out in Ukraine largely at the West’s initiation, and one played out with both NATO and the EU, largely at Russia’s instigation. In the long term, the Russians are likely to lose both confrontations, as they have lost all previous ones, and for the same reason: they cannot match military with economic power. In the short term, however, the proxy confrontations will condemn Europe to years of serious tensions."