Based on the logic of actions and statements of Russia's top officials and available information, the following assumptions can be made about the prospects of further Russian military actions against Ukraine.
Attempts to destroy the energy system of Ukraine as an integral complex.
The precision and regularity with which Russian military strikes are carried out, as well as the chronology and geography of those strikes, indicate that the objective of the Russian Federation, in this case, is to destroy the Ukrainian energy system as an integral complex.
As Alexander Kharchenko, director of the Energy Research Centre and adviser to Ukraine's energy minister, recently noted in an interview, „the Russians are trying to break up our energy grid into isolated pieces. If they succeeded, large regions would be complete without power.
We have cut power only in some districts and cities. The Ukrainian power grid is most resilient precisely as an integrated power system, which is incredibly difficult to extinguish. Russia understands this.
Possible strikes on bridges over rivers
According to media reports, while retreating in the Kherson region, the Russians blew up and collapsed the Antonov bridge near Kherson. The Antonovskyy bridge was the primary logistical route for transferring equipment and ammunition to a group of enemy troops on the right bank of the Kherson region.
During active offensives, the Ukrainian Armed Forces regularly hit the bridge to damage the supply of the Russian Armed Forces and the enemy's defensive capabilities. It should be noted that according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, a total of 300 bridges on public roads were destroyed as a result of the war. „Ukravtodor“ has repaired and opened passage over 50 bridges that were destroyed as a result of armed Russian aggression.
Some 300 road bridges and 50 railway bridges have been destroyed, so at least 350 bridges are broken. The Russian army has damaged the largest and most important bridges. It takes two years from the end of hostilities to fully restore the infrastructure.
However, suppose Russian military action continues as a tactic to destroy Ukraine's critical infrastructure. In that case, there is a high probability that the Russian Federation could launch military strikes on large, strategically important bridges over the Dnieper and other rivers. There are approximately 20 operational bridges across the Dnieper in Ukraine. Eleven road bridges, two of which are also used for underground lines, two railway bridges, and seven road-railway bridges.
Five of them pass over hydroelectric dams. Thus, it cannot be ruled out that the Russian Federation, following its barbaric tactic of destroying Ukraine's unified energy complex with military strikes, may try to disrupt all transport communications in Ukraine.
Kyiv is the main target for Russian terror
Kyiv, despite its defences, will remain one of the main targets for the Russian Federation until the war's end.
Intermittent drone and cruise missile attacks against Kyiv now have a clear objective – sowing panic through terror and destroying critical infrastructure to create unfavourable living conditions. It is clear that the coming winter will be one of the toughest for the Ukrainian capital.
There have already been prolonged power cuts, water supply problems, etc.
A possible military strike by Belarus
The announced deployment of a Belarusian-Russian regional grouping by Russia and Belarus increasingly increases the likelihood that a significant incursion into the territory of Ukraine by Belarus is possible again.
However, in this situation, given the high combat effectiveness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the protection of Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine, the purpose of this re-invasion is to draw Ukrainian forces away from other fronts and to create an obstacle to arms deliveries to Ukraine by Western countries.
Thus, in parallel with the active phase of hostilities that the Russian Federation will conduct in the Ukrainian regions it occupies, despite the failure of the initial tactics and overall strategy to take over Ukraine, as well as the apparent success of the Ukrainian armed forces on several fronts, the Russian Federation will actively use other ways to pressure the Ukrainian leadership to force the latter to negotiate, which is not likely on Moscow's terms, as President Zelensky has repeatedly stated.
Buzarov Andrey, junior researcher at the Department of Public Administration and Political Science at Klaipėda University, PhD, member of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, consultant to the parliamentary committee on human rights, de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and Crimea, national minorities and interethnic relations.