As the war in Ukraine heads into its sixth month, with almost 50,000 people killed, both sides are digging in, says Tufts’ Chris Miller.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, expecting the Ukrainian government to fall quickly. It didn’t, and Russia pulled back from its efforts to take the capital Kyiv. It has focused instead on taking the southeastern part of the country, and now occupies parts of it. Fighting continues to be fierce, especially in the Donbas region, with no sign of letting up.

According to a Reuters calculation, more than 46,000 people have been killed so far in the war, including more than 5,000 civilians, and at least 16 million Ukrainians have been displaced by the war, forced to flee their homes.

The war is a continuation of conflict that began in 2014, when Russian incursions into Ukraine led to the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the establishment of pro-Russian proxy “people’s republics” and de-facto Russian occupation of parts of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Miller is an assistant professor of international history at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and author of Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia (The University of North Carolina Press, 2018) and The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR (The University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

Here, he discusses the prospects of the war as it heads into its sixth month:

How has the war transformed from its initial phases to now, and what do those changes foreshadow for the future?

Although the Russians clearly thought at the start that the war would be quick, now both sides have come to terms with the fact that it is going to last far longer, and that it’s going to be far bloodier than the Russians initially expected.

We could still be months or longer away from a ceasefire. It’s hard to see at this point what outcomes are likely.

This war of attrition that we’re now seeing in the Donbas is less likely to produce a clear victory, and more likely eventually to lead to some sort of muddled compromise—at least from where things stand at the current moment.

Read the full article about Ukraine war by Taylor McNeil at Futurity.