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22 Nov, 2023 23:16

Ukraine feeling Western ‘conflict fatigue’ – FT

Russia likely sees that the odds have shifted in its favor, the UK outlet has claimed
Ukraine feeling Western ‘conflict fatigue’ – FT

Ukraine is “nervous” about losing Western support, after the failure of its summer counteroffensive, and urgently needs the US and the EU to double down on sending money, weapons and supplies, the editors of the Financial Times urged on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “may feel for now that the odds have shifted in his favor in his gamble that he can outlast the West,” they said.

“The counteroffensive that Ukraine had hoped would begin to drive out Russian troops — and convince its allies that they were backing a winner — has not produced the hoped-for breakthrough,” the editors acknowledge. 

According to the Financial Times, Ukraine faces a series of problems. The EU can’t seem to unblock its “peace facility” funding. In the US, the White House is having a hard time getting Congress to pass another aid bill. Meanwhile, the West’s attention – and resources – have been diverted by the Israel-Hamas war.

However, the outlet insisted that “support for Ukraine remains solid” in both the US and the EU, though it called the possible return of Donald Trump to the White House an “alarming” prospect for this policy.

Arguing that “in wartime, perception can be as important as reality,” the FT editors proposed a series of measures the West could take “to convince Ukraine of their engagement for the long term,” from sending Kiev more money and weapons to a promise of EU membership.

The EU “must quickly find a way” to implement the €50 billion ‘Peace Facility’ funding, and “fast-track plans” to send Ukraine the profits from interest earned by frozen Russian assets, and invite Ukraine to start membership talks, according to the British outlet. 

The Financial Times also demanded more and better sanctions against Russia and more military production in Europe, providing what is specified in General Valery Zaluzhny’s “useful shopping list of the high-tech tools” needed by the Ukrainian military.

“On the military front, allies need to speed up the supply of fighter jets, and training of Ukrainian pilots, to provide vital air cover to ground forces. They need a more systematic approach to the supply of arms — rather than simply donating stocks of surplus and outdated weapons,” the FT editors declared.

Since the hostilities with Russia escalated in February 2022, Ukraine has burned through most of its original tanks and armored vehicles, relying on donations of mothballed Soviet hardware from NATO members – and eventually NATO equipment like Leopard tanks and Bradley IFVs – to replace them. The US and its allies have largely run out of stockpiled ammunition and are struggling to ramp up new production, falling short of the deliveries they promised. 

Even if the West somehow managed to supply Kiev with all the weapons it wanted, Ukrainian officials told Time Magazine earlier this month, Ukraine would lack the manpower to operate them. According to Russian estimates, Kiev has lost more than 100,000 troops since its counteroffensive began in early June.

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