Speaking before an audience at an event organized by the Committee for the Republic on May 22, celebrated American political scientist and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer delivered his thoughts on the war in Ukraine.
He predicted that Russian forces would continue their assault on Ukraine, going so far as to suggest that they could take as many as four additional oblasts, or provinces, and eventually assume control over half of the war-torn nation.
“A lot of people think that the Russians are bent, and have been bent since February 24, 2022, in conquering all of Ukraine, and then absorbing it into a greater Russia,” Mearsheimer said. “The Russians have never been interested in that, and they’re not gonna try to do that.”
He went on to explain that Russia was interested in “capturing a substantial portion of Ukraine and also making Ukraine a dysfunctional rump state.”
“They have already annexed four oblasts plus the Crimea, and they have made it clear they have no intention of giving that territory up,” Mearsheimer continued, pointing out that Russia does not yet have total control over that area, which makes up 23 percent of the nation’s total land.
“I also believe that they will take the four oblasts that are immediately to the west of those four oblasts,” he added. “This includes Odessa and Kharkiv … and once they do that they will control 46 percent of Ukrainian territory.”
Mearsheimer explained that Russia was interested in taking over areas that have large numbers of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers, lest they suffer from another “Donbas problem,” where a civil war erupted between the aforementioned groups and ethnic Ukrainians.
He noted that Russia was motivated to avoid conquering areas populated by ethnic Ukrainians because “they will fight like wild dogs to resist the Russians, even if the Russian military wins on the battle field.”