For the last two weeks, the world has been watching on in horror as Russia invades Ukraine.
There has already been so much bloodshed. So will this war continue for months to come, or are there pathways ahead for a de-escalation of tensions?
When words like 'nuclear' keep being thrown into the mix, the potentially more widespread ramifications of this conflict start to feel really overwhelming.
Watch: Airstrikes in Ukraine. Post continues below.
At the centre of this war is a man acting largely unchecked. And President Putin has already shown he is not afraid of impulsivity.
With so much propaganda being mixed in with real reports from the conflict zones, it can be hard to decipher which side has the upper hand.
So how and when does this end?
Mamamia’s news podcast The Quicky asked John Blaxland, a professor of international security and intelligence studies at the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in Canberra, to run us through the possible outcomes.
Could Putin take control of Ukraine and install a puppet pro-Russian government?
“This theory is becoming less and less likely as time goes by. That appears to have been [Putin’s] intention in the first couple of days when they sought to capture the airport near Kyiv and insert special forces to remove/capture [Ukrainian President] Volodymyr Zelensky and then install a puppet government,” Professor Blaxland noted.
As someone who has extensive experience in the intelligence community and is the author of The Official History of ASIO, Professor Blaxland says “the resistance now is too great”.
“The damage done to goodwill towards Russia is, I believe, so profound that this outcome is no longer feasible.”
Listen to The Quicky. Post continues after audio.