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17 Apr, 2024 09:39

Kiev’s morale problems could lead to defeat this year – Politico

Ukrainians are choosing “suspended critical thinking” over the dire reality, the outlet has warned
Kiev’s morale problems could lead to defeat this year – Politico

Ukraine is facing a collapse on the frontline this summer because soldiers’ morale is being ground down by the fighting and shortage of supplies, senior officers have told Politico on condition of anonymity.

On Wednesday the news outlet’s opinion editor Jamie Dettmer shared his grim view of Ukraine’s future after a month-long trip to the country, which involved interviewing political leaders, military officers and ordinary citizens. The officers agreed to talk “only on the understanding they would not be named,” he said.

The country is “slipping towards disaster.” A lack of Western arms has put troops on the backfoot and tens of thousands of civilians are dodging the draft. Dettmer said that roughly a third of the passengers on a train he took to return to Europe were fighting-age men, who somehow managed to obtain waiver papers. Getting smuggled across the border is the primary way for Ukrainians to avoid conscription, the report said.

The climate in the country has changed drastically from the initial nationalist fervor, when thousands of volunteers were eager to fight Russia. Now “eligible young recruits find other things to do with their time, packing into hipster bars and techno clubs in the late afternoons.”

“As Ukraine’s ousted chief commander [Valery] Zaluzhny found to his cost, rational warnings that things may not turn out well can get commentators and analysts in trouble,” Dettmer wrote. “But suspending critical thinking won’t win this war either.”

He blamed the West for failing to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes” as promised. The shortage of arms means Ukrainians are no longer willing to “do what it takes,” leading to Western aid dwindling further, he explained.

The US and its allies have “placed too much faith in sanctions” that have failed to cripple Russia’s economy, and engaged in “wishful thinking” about President Vladimir Putin being ousted in a public uprising or a Kremlin coup. The Russian leader “has arguably never been closer to his goal,” Dettmer lamented, and “the nation of Ukraine as it currently exists [may soon be] consigned to the past.”

Moscow’s stated goals in the conflict are to ensure Ukraine’s neutral status as opposed to it joining NATO, to eradicate the influence of radical nationalists, and to protect ethnic Russians from discriminatory policies, which the Ukrainian government has been adopting since the 2014 coup in Kiev.

Putin has stressed on many occasions that he considers Ukraine a brotherly nation, which fell victim to Western schemes.

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