Is time running out fast for Ukraine?

Is time running out fast for Ukraine?

Kiev must win war before year ends to avoid being pushed into talks

New Delhi: Over the last few months, Ukrainian forces have slowly regained territory in the Russian-occupied regions in southern and eastern parts of the war-torn nation. To date, the Ukrainians have reclaimed 54 per cent of Russian-occupied land and are continuing to make progress, writes Mark Temnycky, a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center for The Hill.

But as Ukraine continues this success, others are becoming impatient. According to reports, some Westerners are pressuring Kiev to speed up its counteroffensive in southern and eastern Ukraine. Others have pushed for forced negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, believing that this is the best chance to end the war, even if it benefits Russia’s ambitions.

Unlike the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the spring of 2022, which saw the Ukrainians swiftly push the Russians out of northern Ukraine, the counteroffensive in the south and east has been a lot slower. Russian forces have fortified their positions in these regions, and planted hundreds of kilometers of minefields in the Russian-occupied regions. These obstacles have delayed Ukrainian progress in the region as Ukrainian forces are removing the barriers and other hazards before their troops advance.

Meanwhile, support for aid to Ukraine in the US appears to be waning. One of the hold-ups for the 2024 government spending bill was aid to Ukraine. House Republicans are split over assistance to Ukraine.

Events in Poland and the US are early warning signs for Ukraine. They suggest a weakening of support, and even that some elected officials are willing to risk continued support for Ukraine in exchange for political favourability amongst voters against Ukraine assistance.

Public opinion polls on aid to Ukraine have also seen a decline in the US and Europe over time, the article said. If support for Ukraine wanes in 2024, Russia could force a peace settlement with Ukraine. The international community might pressure the Ukrainians into negotiating and signing an agreement favorable to Russia.

Assuming that they would have learned from their previous errors, the Russians could launch a new invasion of Ukraine, and with the international community no longer motivated to support Ukraine, this could result in Russia making further advances, the article said.

Given all this, Ukraine must win the war against Russia in 2023. And Ukraine is currently gaining ground in the southern and eastern occupied territories, it added.

A Russian victory would not only empower President Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly telegraphed his wishes to reconstitute the former Soviet Union, and even larger Russian Empire, it would also embolden other autocracies -- like China -- to expand their borders by force. However poorly the Ukraine war has gone for Russia, which expected a swift victory, the new turn of events is playing right into Putin’s plans, CNN reported. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the scenario as “fatigue over this conflict... will grow in various countries, including the US”. “Fatigue will lead to the fragmentation of the political establishment”, he added.

The European Union (EU) is trying to calm Kiev’s fears. EU foreign ministers traveled to Kiev this week, holding their first ever meeting in a third country as a sign of enduring support. What happens in Washington in the days, weeks, and months ahead will go a long way in determining the fate of Ukraine and the outcome of the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II.

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