by Xinhua writer Li Ming
Ukraine began to find itself at an impasse as President Volodymyr Zelensky submitted draft laws on extending martial law and a general mobilization period for another 90 days, beginning on Nov. 16, as reported by the state-run Ukrinform earlier this week.
This move comes as the Ukraine crisis continues its prolonged “war of attrition,” with both sides making little headway on the offensive front.
John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the U.S. National Security Council, said on Wednesday that the United States has spent 96 percent of the funds allocated for Ukraine since the beginning of the crisis.
The weariness of this prolonged crisis, which has been dubbed “Ukraine fatigue,” is now permeating Western nations, leading to a divided stance on providing further support to the country.
The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has further limited the ability of the West, particularly the United States, to focus on Ukraine, though efforts to aid Ukraine are continuing.
Currently, both Russia and Ukraine remain committed to advancing military operations, with the prospect of peace talks still elusive.
STALEMATE ON BATTLEFIELD
The Russian Defense Ministry has recently claimed that the Russian army has repelled Ukrainian attacks and initiated multiple offensives in several directions including Kupyansk, Donetsk and Kherson.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian General Staff said in its morning report on Thursday that they had successfully thwarted around 30 Russian attacks on the Bakhmut front.
In recent weeks, both Russia and Ukraine have focused on the strategic importance of Avdiivka, located just 20 km from Donetsk and controlled by Russian forces.
This city plays a crucial role in securing the northern front lines for the Ukrainian army in the Donetsk region.
Recent reports suggest that the Russian military is intensifying its efforts to encircle Ukrainian forces in this area, which could lead to significant casualties for the Ukrainian side.
Oleksiy Hetman, a retired Ukrainian serviceman, said the Russian military is launching offensives from the northern and southern flanks of Avdiivka.
The Russian military is attempting to encircle the Ukrainian forces, he said, adding that if it holds the ground, the Ukrainian side will suffer substantial casualties due to its being outnumbered 10- to 15-fold by the Russian troops.
Similarly, Boris Jereliyevsky, a Russian military expert, believes that the Russian army has recently accelerated its advance toward Avdiivka, making significant progress.
If Avdiivka falls after Bakhmut, it will be another significant setback for the Ukrainian military, he said.
As Ukraine’s commander-in-chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said in a recent interview, the crisis has now entered a new phase characterized by stalemate and attrition.
DRAINING WESTERN AID
Global attention to the Ukraine crisis has dwindled recently, and people in the West, particularly in the United States, are becoming increasingly tired of the ongoing crisis.
A recent Gallup poll revealed declining support for providing additional aid to Ukraine among Americans, with 41 percent of respondents believing that the United States has already done “too much” to assist Ukraine.
In contrast, this number was 24 percent three months ago.
This sentiment has been growing, especially in light of the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which diverts international attention.
However, Zelensky denied in a recent NBC interview that the Ukraine crisis had reached a deadlock, urging the United States to provide more military aid.
The U.S. Democratic administration has reportedly provided a total of 75 billion U.S. dollars in military, humanitarian, and financial aid to Ukraine since February 2022.
However, further assistance to Ukraine has faced strong opposition from Republicans in the U.S. Congress.
Earlier last month, U.S. President Joe Biden requested a total of 106 billion dollars in special appropriations from Congress to cover military aid to Ukraine and Israel. However, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives only approved 14.3 billion dollars for aid to Israel last week.
Even though there have reportedly been discussions among the United States, European countries and Ukrainian officials on the possibility of initiating peace talks to end the crisis, Zelensky said that neither the United States nor the European Union has pressured Ukraine into making significant concessions to end it and Ukraine is not yet prepared to engage in negotiations with Russia.
For the Russian side, after repeated calls for peace talks were denied by Ukraine, the Kremlin indicated that Russia’s top priority remains achieving its goals through military means.
Meanwhile, Western countries are mulling a new round of aid to support Ukraine to sustain the crisis.
The U.S. Department of Defense has recently announced a new 425-million-dollar military aid package for Ukraine, which includes missiles, rockets, ammunition, and laser-guided munitions.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Kiev to discuss new financial support for Ukraine last week.
Given the significant differences in goals and the Western nations’ continued support for Ukraine, peace remains unlikely in the near future.