Ukraine has asked its Western allies weapons more suitable for fighting in winter against the Russian Army. The latter, safe behind its reinforced defenses, redoubles its attacks against critical Ukrainian infrastructure, in order to demoralize the population and prolong the conflict at least until the next presidential elections in the United States.
The war in the Middle East overshadows Ukraine’s fight against Russia and the arrival of winter ends the counteroffensive launched by Kiev at the beginning of June. That is the reality and even the president himself recognizes it. Volodymyr Zelensky.
He ukrainian leader found this week the difficulties of its armed forces to maintain its pressure on the Kremlin Army and considered that it is necessary, at least in the coming months, to stop the whims of reconquest, reinforce the defenses and withstand a possible Russian attack.
Russia has resumed the same strategy used last year passed by these dates: the destruction of Ukrainian civil infrastructure with bombing from airplanes, by means of ground artillery or with massive drone attacks, such as the one that occurred this week against kyiv. The objective is to discourage the civilian population and undermine military resistance with the destruction of fuel tanks, electrical systems or drinking water distributors.
Right now, The recovery of territory in the hands of Russia in the short or medium term is outside Ukraine’s plans. Almost half a year after the beginning of its counteroffensive, it has had no notable victories and the attrition has been very great, although now efforts are being made in Kiev and the NATO headquarters in Brussels to offer a vision that is somewhat removed from reality.
Stoltenberg and his “vision” of war
At the meeting of foreign ministers and the first NATO-Ukraine Council that the Alliance hosted this week in Brussels, the secretary general of the military Organization, Jens Stoltenberghe reiterated the allied commitment to kyivbut he also dropped a series of data that bordered more on misinformation than the real situation on the battlefield.
According to Stoltenberg, Russia has lost more than 300,000 soldiers in the war against Ukraine, in addition to “hundreds of planes and thousands of tanks.” And “this year they continue to inflict great losses on Russia,” said the Norwegian politician.
Stoltenberg insisted on the enormous losses of the Russian forces, but did not give a single figure for Ukrainian casualties.as he also did not mention the problems that the kyiv Army is having to replenish its artillery ammunition or use the Leopard, Abrams and other types of super tanks provided by Europe and the United States with acceptable performance without much success.
At this meeting in Brussels, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmitro Kuleba, recalled that of the million rounds of artillery ammunition promised by the European Union, Ukraine had only received 300,000 units.
Finally, NATO Secretary General was forced to recognize that Russia cannot be underestimatedbecause they “have not changed” their objectives in Ukraine and because they have assembled “a large arsenal of missiles for the winter” in order to continue hitting Ukrainian energy systems.
Ukrainian failure is the strength of Russian defense
This is the key that the NATO military has failed to see. While everyone was talking about the much-vaunted Ukrainian counteroffensive in the summer, Russia was preparing for the winter, strengthening its defenses and stockpiling missiles and bombs.
In such a situation and before it is too late, it is “greater speed and effectiveness” essential in the reinforcement of Ukrainian defenses and fortifications, Zelensky noted this week. The Ukrainian leader thus recognized that the failure of the counteroffensive launched by kyiv was largely due to the solidity of the Russian entrenchment over a thousand kilometerswith immense minefields and numerous anti-tank traps that make any motorized advance towards the east very difficult, to say the least.
“The funds exist and all the decisions have been made. Now the corresponding work must be done on the ground. Everything is perfectly detailed. There are enough mines and cement,” Zelensky explained. For it, The kyiv Government has allocated half of its public spending to equipping the Army in this new direction of its strategy.
The problem is that Russia is doing the same and has already increased its defense budget by 67% by 2024.
This has been reflected in the Russian fixation on certain points on the front. It already happened with Bakhmut, in Donetsk, which finally fell into Russian hands last May, after months of siege and tens of thousands of deaths on both sides.
Russia has already increased its defense budget by 67% for 2024
Now the same thing happens with Avdiivka, not far from Bakhmut. Russian troops have advanced in the direction of that town devastated by the war, but key to any advance towards the heart of Ukraine. Since the beginning of October, the Russian Army has advanced its front line in this area by a couple of kilometers, in the largest conquest of land achieved since the spring.
Western propaganda insists that such meager gains have come at the cost of thousands upon thousands of Russian deaths. There is no mention of Ukrainian casualties in those same fighting, nor is there any mention of the disturbing reality that Russia continues to recruit thousands of soldiers into its ranks at a rate that Ukraine stopped having a long time ago.
The importance of aviation or its lack
The Battle of Avdiivka has also revealed the importance that Russian aviation is having in this offensive, with its missiles fired even from outside Ukrainian territory. That is why it is expected that the hundreds of Ukrainian pilots training in the United States and who would command the dozens of F-16s that Ukraine could soon receive can make up for its shortcomings in this area and represent a turning point in the war.
Precisely this week the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, Josep BorrellHas promised Additional 194 million euros for training of Ukrainian military. The EU has already allocated more than 27 billion euros in military aid to Ukraine.
Nearly 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have received training or are being trained in Europe and the United States. If these well-equipped troops could go into action this coming spring, or even sooner if Ukraine had the winter weapons demanded by Zelensky this Wednesday, then things could change in the fight.
The only thing that is growing in Brussels is nervousness and misunderstanding of the Russian strategy
If somehow the Ukrainian Army manages to massively break through some point on the Russian front line, especially in the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, a chain reaction could occur that would clear large areas of its defenses. Ukrainian forces could reach the Sea of Azov and split in two the territory conquered by Russia since the invasion of February 24, 2022.
This possibility is only a dream at the moment. Meanwhile, The only thing that is growing in Brussels is nervousness and misunderstanding of the Russian strategyas evidenced by these two days of meetings of Alliance foreign ministers, with Ukrainian assistance.
Fear of Russian hybrid war in the Baltic
Finland and the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) have panicked at Moscow’s alleged maneuver of send waves of irregular immigrants from third countries across the borders that those states have with the Russian Federation. The objective of this “hybrid operation” would be to cause “instability” in northeastern Europe.
Trump once said that, if he were president of the United States, he would end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours.
“Russia represents a long-term existential threat for the Euro-Atlantic community and we feel ready to do anything as part of the Alliance to strengthen the defense and deterrence of our region,” said Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen in Brussels. Finland and its neighbors have already closed the passage of people on the border with Russia in the face of this massive arrival of refugees and other migrants.
The Baltics, together with Ukraine and Poland, have also decided to boycott the meeting that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is holding this Thursday and Friday in North Macedonia after learning of Russia’s announcement that it will send its minister of Exteriors, Sergei Lavrovto meet.
This will be the first OSCE forum in which Russia has participated since it invaded Ukraine and has been seen as a mixed signal from the Kremlin that it may be thinking about long-term negotiations.
The US, the key to a ceasefire in Ukraine
Concern is growing in kyiv and Brussels that an eventual change of leadership in the United States, that is, if Democrat Joe Biden were replaced by Republican donald trump after the November 2024 elections, could lead to Washington, kyiv’s main ally against Moscow, change the game board and admit the partition of Ukraine in exchange for peace.
This Wednesday, Kuleba insisted that Ukraine is not even considering the secession of its territory. “Our strategic goal, which is territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders since 1991, remains unchanged. And nothing will stop us,” explained the Ukrainian Foreign Minister.
What is at stake, he argued, “is not only the security of Ukraine, but the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic space.”
It is not surprising that Russian President Vladimir Putin postpones any negotiations on Ukraine
The problem for the Ukrainians is that such a space is further away every day from the United States and even more so from a United States eventually governed by Trump, who once said that, if re-elected, he would end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours.
It is not surprising, then, that Russian President Vladimir Putin postpone any negotiations on Ukraine until his White House counterpart is decided next year. In the meantime, all that remains is to gain time.