The longer the fighting in Ukraine continues, the narrower the window for a negotiated solution becomes. If the Ukrainian army surrenders, Moscow will set the terms on its own. Does Kyiv really want to risk that?
In the western capitals, the focus is still on a long-term war of attrition against the Russian troops. The Ukrainian losses of soldiers and equipment are only figures on paper. When Ukrainian human material is shredded by Russian shells and riddled with Russian bullets, Western leaders shed crocodile tears at best. They are being sacrificed on the geopolitical altar to weaken Russia militarily and economically.
But despite continued Western supplies of arms, ammunition and war equipment, Ukraine’s troops are evidently dying off on the battlefield faster than expected. The mass exodus of citizens abroad also makes it difficult to recruit fresh meat for the front lines, which, after rudimentary basic training, is sent off to defend the homeland and is then put through the meat grinder within a few hours. Because the military superiority of the Russian troops is unmistakable.
The battle for the city of Bakhmut is a prime example of how Russian troops used Zelenskyy’s orders to fight to the bitter end (as they did in Mariupol) to thin out Ukrainian troops. The city is also strategically important as it lies on the Dnieper River, which is a lifeline for Ukraine. With the loss of the encircled city to Ukraine, it becomes easier for Russian troops to advance west. Also, with the loss of control over the Dnieper, the Ukrainians can hardly send missiles to Crimea.
But one fact can no longer be denied: Ukraine will lose this war. Maybe in a few months or even a year. But no matter how many weapons the West sends, the Ukrainians simply lack the necessary manpower due to the enormous losses over the past twelve months. And that’s not all. Anyone who knows Russian history knows that these people don’t just give up. No matter how great your own losses may be.
It would be high time for Kiev to develop an exit strategy and also to negotiate with Moscow. Because the longer this war lasts, the losses in soldiers and material skyrocket and the Russian troops advance further, the worse the starting point for negotiations. Is that what Zelenskyy wants?
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