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15 Dec, 2023 11:53

Skepticism about Ukraine growing globally – Kiev

FM Dmitry Kuleba has pushed back against concerns of “war fatigue” in the West, portraying the failed counteroffensive as a temporary setback
Skepticism about Ukraine growing globally – Kiev

Skeptics who seriously doubted that Kiev’s counteroffensive would result in the collapse of the Russian military have ultimately been proved right, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has admitted. He added that his country senses a wave of pessimism rising in the West regarding the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

As the hostilities approach their third year, “voices skeptical of [Ukraine’s] prospects… are growing louder” among the media and various experts, Kuleba wrote in an opinion piece published in Foreign Affairs magazine on Thursday.

He cited concerns about Kiev’s inability to drive back Russian forces, especially considering Moscow’s vastly superior resources, the erosion of Western support, and growing “war fatigue.” Any doubts about a Ukrainian victory carry “clear strategic implications that are both dangerous and wrong,” the minister warned.  

While Kuleba sought to downplay concerns about Kiev’s military prospects, he acknowledged that “the skeptics are correct that our recent counteroffensive did not achieve the lightning-fast liberation” of territory that Kiev claims sovereignty over.

The minister attempted to explain the lackluster progress by arguing that “wars of this scale are fought in stages,” and that some “may be more successful than others.” 

He added that the current phase of the conflict “is not easy for Ukraine or for our partners.” “Everyone wants quick, Hollywood-style breakthroughs,” but only consistent Western support would result in Kiev achieving significant results, he claimed.

“Progress on the frontlines… requires not veering off course and concluding that the fight is hopeless simply because one stage has fallen short of some observers’ expectations,” the diplomat said.

Kuleba also suggested that Kiev can only be successful if it receives “adequate military aid,” is able to benefit from the rapid development of a military-industrial base both at home and abroad, and if it remains firm in its stance on any peace talks with Russia.

While Russia maintains it is open to negotiations with Kiev, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky last year signed a decree banning all talks with Moscow. Kiev also produced a ‘peace formula’ demanding the withdrawal of all Russian troops from territory it claims as its own, which was rejected as unrealistic by Moscow.

Ukraine’s attempted counteroffensive has been underway since early summer, but has failed to gain any substantial ground. Earlier this month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated Ukrainian casualties since the start of the push at more than 125,000 troops.