Ukraine may be able to negotiate a diplomatic settlement that redraws its actual eastern boundary.
Following military defeats and diplomatic efforts, Russia may withdraw to its initial starting position from February, in which case Ukraine would firmly regain its geopolitical position as a buffer state between NATO and Russia. Russia’s response is to enlarge its border with Ukraine, rendering a forceful NATO incursion strategically difficult. NATO would participate in the conflict on Ukrainian soil. Putin has no motivation to depart since he understands that nothing short of an attack by NATO can remove him from eastern Ukraine.