The end keeps receding. There was a time when some Ukrainian officials, having halted Russia’s army outside Kyiv, thought it would take only a few more months to bring the war to a conclusion. “Most of the active combat actions will have finished by the end of this year," predicted Lieutenant-General Kyrylo Budanov, the head of military intelligence, in May 2022. By last November, shortly after a spectacular Ukrainian offensive in Kharkiv, Volodymyr Havrylov, a deputy defence minister at the time, was still expecting a swift victory. “My feeling is that by the end of the spring, this war will be over."