Dominick Donald, senior advisor at intelligence firm Herminius Holding, told the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) conference in Chicago that he believes the war in Ukraine could be over “by the end of November”.

Donald is a key advisor to the Joint War Committee (JWC) on developments in the region and has been advising marine insurers on the conflict since the outbreak of the war.

He said all the indications are that Russia’s war effort is now running out of steam.

Donald presented a photograph of a 60-year-old Russian tank being used in the war as evidence that Russia’s supply of military hardware is being exhausted.

He predicted President Vladimir Putin will soon seek a way to bring the war to an end.

However, Putin this week said Russia would mobilise military reservists in response to his forces being pushed back, and made a thinly-veiled threat to use nuclear weapons in response.

Donald said that the implications of the war for shipping “will depend on the outcome”.

A negotiated settlement in disputed areas in southern Ukraine could leave key Black Sea ports under the control of Russia he said.

But, Ukraine is very unlikely to accept such a deal.

He ruled out the chances of China using the conflict in Ukraine to invade Taiwan, another event which could have major implications for shipping.

Nuclear weapons

Donald also said that it is very unlikely that a desperate President Putin will bring nuclear weapons into the war with Ukraine.

He pointed out that in Russia a complex process is required to authorise the use of nuclear weapons, and that Putin will fear an escalation if they are used.

The war in Ukraine has been one of the key subject matters at the IUMI conference with marine insurance one of the main lines of speciality insurance exposed to the conflict.

A quick end to the war would get marine insurers off the hook on settling claims for dozens of vessels still trapped in Ukraine ports.

Under war risk policies if the vessels are detained for over 12 months they will be declared a constructive total loss and insurers will have to pay out on the insured value of the vessel.