Is Western Backing for Ukraine Dwindling? Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of people, displaced millions more, and destroyed infrastructure worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
In the 16th week of the war, Ukraine’s exhausted defenders continued to achieve some victories over Russian forces. Still, Ukrainian authorities fear they are also outgunned and in danger of losing territory in the Donbas, where Moscow is focused its onslaught.
Western governments have given massive amounts of howitzers, armored vehicles, anti-tank and anti-air weapons, but the politics underlying these deliveries may be dissolving as the war drags on in a seemingly endless stalemate with economic ramifications for global growth.
In the first two weeks of June, Ukrainian forces managed to push the Zaporizhia front line 5-7km (3-4 miles) south, according to Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov. According to the Kherson city council, on June 11, Ukrainian forces started a counteroffensive to take the settlements of Kyselivka, Soldatske, and Oleksandrivka, which are all within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Russian-occupied port of Kherson.
Ukraine’s Joint Forces command announced on June 13 that it had regained three communities from Russia and advanced the front by 15 kilometers in the Donetsk area (9 miles).
These victories are measured against Russia’s steady push through Severdonetsk, one of the remaining free strongholds in the easternmost Luhansk region.
Ukraine’s deputy chief of military intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, stated that the country is on the verge of losing the conflict due to Russia’s greater weaponry.
“According to our assessments, Russia still has the capability of waging a long-term war against Ukraine,” Skibitsky told Current Time.
NATO firepower is “still insufficient to hinder Russia’s military forces’ offensive speed,” he said.
Ukrainian fighters have been making advances when they can, but Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai detailed how Russia can reverse these.
It makes little sense to sit in a high-rise structure and wait for everything to be destroyed.” “A couple of days ago, special forces came in and clean out practically half of the city,” he said, alleging a Ukrainian advance in Severdonetsk on June 5-6. “When the Russians realized this, they started leveling it with air attacks and artillery.”
According to Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, the deaths reflect the grinding attrition of such a battle.
“Every day, up to 100 of our soldiers are killed, and up to 500 are injured.” The Kremlin continues to press, stumbles, gets a powerful rebuke and suffers massive casualties. However, forces continue to advance in several areas of the front.”
Even though Ukraine believes Russia’s fatalities are two or three times its own, and Russian morale is low. According to Ukraine’s general staff, Russian paratroopers from the 106th and 76th Airborne divisions have refused to combat in Luhansk and have been returned home.
According to Reznikov, the solution to this horrific standoff its greater firepower.
While allies have met 90 percent of artillery requests, operational needs are increasing. He stated on social media that “Ukraine absolutely needs heavy weapons, and very quickly,” referring to “hundreds” of heavily armored vehicles, fighter jets, anti-aircraft and missile systems, and multiple-launch rocket systems.
“The world either doesn’t comprehend what’s going on, or it does, but it’s tired and resigned to the reality that Ukrainians are dying,” he said.
George Barros, analyst, Institute for the Study of War, said, “The Ukrainians need superior weaponry with greater effective ranges to attack those Russian logistics convoys. “Russian supply dumps further back,” he said.
Is the world at peace with Ukraine’s Fate?
Western officials and analysts have made much of Russia’s harsh sanctions, but they are not impeding Russia’s capacity to fight in the short term.
Ukraine’s deputy chief of military intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, claimed Russia had extended its war preparations for the next 120 days. Ukraine’s primary intelligence directorate believes Russia can afford to keep the conflict going for at least another year.
The independent Finnish Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air recently explained why (CREA). Russia reported that it gained $98 billion from fossil fuel exports over the first 100 days of its conflict in Ukraine, with Europe accounting for 61% of total shipments. The cost of Russia’s war is projected to be a billion dollars daily, matching oil and gas earnings.
The European Union has decided to cut 90% of Russian oil imports, which account for the majority of its energy sales to Europe, but the reduction will not take effect until the end of the year.
According to Ioannis Mazis, chair of the Department of Turkish and Modern Asian Studies at the University of Athens, this economic reality, rather than field advances, effectively guarantees a Russian triumph.
“It’ll all be finished by September,” said Mazis.
“Crimea and an entire region, including Odesa, will basically be given to Russia.” If Odesa falls, it will not be due to an attack. Mykolaiv will fall first, followed by a quick [Russian] march to Transnistria. Ukraine will become landlocked, referendums will be held in the autumn, and annexations to Russia will occur. “Russia will rule the region,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s ambitions of re-establishing pre-invasion borders with Russia do not appear to be shared by its Western friends.
During a press conference in Finland last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg appeared to imply that Ukraine would have to accept a loss of sovereignty or territory in exchange for peace.
“The question is, how much do you want to pay for peace?” How much land, independence, sovereignty, freedom, and democracy are you willing to give up in exchange for peace?” On June 13, Stoltenberg spoke alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
His remarks appeared to match ideas made by Henry Kissinger at the World Economic Forum in Davos in May that Ukraine must give up territory in order to achieve peace.
On June 14, Pope Francis sparked outrage when statements he made in May were published in the magazine La Civiltà Cattolica. The war in Ukraine “was maybe either triggered or not averted,” he remarked, statements that some observers saw as blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Other European leaders have issued cautionary warnings, in striking contrast to the more gung-ho US attitude. Last month, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi urged for a ceasefire “as soon as feasible,” French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the need not to embarrass Russia this month.
However, for the time being, the EU officially supports delivering more military help to Ukraine.
According to EU High Representative Josep Borrell, “our military help must reach Ukrainian soldiers as soon as possible because they are not waging war with dollars, but with weaponry that allows them to withstand Russian aggression.”
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