Ukraine is currently experiencing a decline in reserves of ammunition, personnel, and Western support. The counteroffensive launched by Ukraine six months ago has been unsuccessful. On the other hand, Moscow is celebrating its ability to sustain a prolonged war after the disastrous invasion. The war in Ukraine has reached a critical point, with Moscow growing more confident and Kyiv uncertain about its prospects.
This contrast was evident last week when Vladimir V. Putin casually announced his plans to run for another six-year term as president of Russia. He boasted about the increasing competence of Russia’s military and declared that Ukraine had no future due to its reliance on external help.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine recently visited Washington and urged Congress to pass a spending bill that includes an additional $50 billion in security aid for Ukraine. President Biden warned that failing to approve the package would be a gift to Putin.
However, Zelensky’s pleas did not resonate with congressional Republicans, who insisted on a clampdown on migration at the US-Mexico border as a condition for additional aid to Ukraine. The messages from Moscow and Washington highlight the mounting pressure on Ukraine as it shifts to a defensive stance and prepares for a harsh winter of Russian strikes and energy shortages.
Ukraine is struggling to maintain support from its most important ally, the United States, which is currently focused on the conflict in Gaza and the upcoming presidential campaign. There is also uncertainty surrounding the possible return of former President Donald J. Trump, who has been critical of Ukraine in the past.
Polls indicate waning support for continued funding of Ukraine in the United States, particularly among Republicans. Russia, on the other hand, has adapted and increased its domestic production of ammunition and weaponry. It has also imported crucial supplies from Iran and North Korea to sustain the long war.
Despite Russia’s advantages in numbers and weaponry, military analysts believe it is not in a position to make another attempt to capture major Ukrainian cities. Russia suffered significant losses in personnel during its offensive maneuvers and gained minimal territory. Ukraine, reliant on Western support, faces short-term pressures that Russia does not.
The United States is Ukraine’s most important backer, providing a significant portion of its weaponry and foreign aid funding. The ongoing partisan dispute about border security has unsettled many Ukrainians, who fear that the US wants them to lay down their arms and accept a truce.
Russia has recently intensified its offensive along the eastern front, and the fighting favors Russia’s access to artillery ammunition. Ukraine’s stocks are dwindling, and it also faces challenges in terms of air defense ammunition. Diminishing political backing from the West provides an incentive for Russia to continue whittling away at Ukraine’s arsenal.
Ukraine is also facing challenges in terms of personnel attrition. The country needs to enlist thousands of soldiers each month to sustain its army. Despite military tactics and technologies, some things can only be compensated for by sheer numbers.