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Ukraine War

Ukraine is Losing Despite $330 Billion in Aid from the US and its NATO Allies

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Ukraine is Losing Despite $330 Billion
Ukraine soldiers carry the coffin of Col. Oleksandr Makhachek: Image AP

In recent days, Russian troops, backed by fighter jets, artillery, and deadly drones, have poured across Ukraine’s northeastern border and taken over at least nine villages and towns in the last three days. Each day, they’ve taken over more land than at almost any other time in the war, except for the beginning.

Ukrainian troops are pulling back in some places, and leaders are pointing the finger at each other for the losses. A lot of Ukrainian people are running away to Kharkiv, which is the closest big city.

Their advances are barely a few miles deep, but they have taken up approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) of Ukrainian land. Russia took months to achieve the same result in Ukraine’s highly defended east.

Russia asserts that its forces have penetrated the border town of Vovchansk, which Ukraine disputes. The town has been heavily bombed in recent days, and thousands of civilians have been evacuated.

Denys Yaroslavskyi, the Commander of a Ukrainian Special Reconnaissance Unit, is outraged and wants to know what happened to Ukraine’s defenses. “There was no first line of defense.” We saw it. The Russians have just walked in. “They just walked in, with no mined fields,” he tells the BBC.

He claims officials claimed that defenses were being developed at great expense, but in his opinion, those defenses simply did not exist. “It was either a case of incompetence or corruption. It was not a failure. “It was betrayal.”

Everyone expected this incursion. Both Ukrainian and Western intelligence agencies were aware that Russia was assembling soldiers over the border, with estimates of up to 30,000 troops.

President Vladimir Putin had also openly expressed his intention to establish a buffer zone within the Kharkiv region to safeguard Russian territory from Ukrainian artillery strikes. However, despite government claims, Ukraine appears to have been unprepared.

Denys, who talked to the BBC from a park in Kharkiv, says he’ll be back on the front lines with his guys in an hour, near the town of Vovchansk, just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Russian border.

According to reports, Russian troops have already reached the town’s perimeter. Denys expresses concern that it may soon be back in Russian control.

We had previously visited the town, accompanying a local police officer, Oleksii, who was collecting up locals who wanted to evacuate to safety. He was driving quickly to evade the Russian drones hovering overhead and the continual bombardment of artillery.

Prior to the war, the town had a population of approximately 20,000. The majority had fled at the outset of the war, reducing the population to 3,000 – but hundreds more have left in recent days. According to Oleksii, “it’s easier to leave now, before they get killed or injured” .

Russia is advancing in Kharkiv by destroying Ukrainian villages and towns. Oleksii says that Russia has been shooting 50 to 60 shells into the town every hour.

Then there are glide bombs, which are launched from Russian jets tens of kilometers from the front lines, well beyond the range of Ukraine’s inadequate air defenses.

An explosion Friday after a Russian army tank fired on an apartment building in Mariupol, Ukraine

Russian army tank fired on an apartment building in Mariupol, Ukraine: Image AP

Russia Bombarding Ukraine

Russia has been shooting approximately 100 glide missiles every day across the 1,000 kilometer front. Over the course of an hour, we heard half a dozen jet-like screeches, followed by earth-shattering explosions.

Opening a new front in the north tests Ukraine’s limited resources. The US’s delay in approving additional military aid has depleted Ukrainian forces of ammunition.

Ukraine has been able to fire one artillery round per ten rounds fired by Russia. That is slowly being rectified, with US assistance now on the way.

However, the Kharkiv offensive highlighted issues that Ukraine has been too sluggish to address, such as mobilizing sufficient troops and constructing effective defense lines. Re-enforcements dispatched to Kharkiv have had to be taken from other sectors of the front, leaving insufficient reserves.

Ukrainian officials continue to stress that Kharkiv is not under fear of a ground invasion. However, the further the Russians push, the more probable it will be within range of Russian fire.

Denys believes Russian forces will try to focus on the east and take the entire Donbas. However, he claims Russia is also attempting to exploit Ukrainian weaknesses all along the 1,000-kilometer front. In Kharkiv, they found one.

President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: Getty Images

Hundreds of Billion Spent

Since the beginning of the war, the United States Congress has passed five measures providing continued help to Ukraine, the latest recent in April 2024. The overall budget authority under these bills, known as the “headline” figure, is $175 billion.

Dozens of other countries, including most NATO and EU members, are also contributing significant aid to Ukraine.

Furthermore, on February 1, 2024, European leaders decided to spend up to $54 billion for a new Ukraine Facility to support Ukraine’s recovery, reconstruction, and modernization, as well as its reform initiatives as part of the EU membership process, until 2027.

This takes their total commitment to date to more than $155 billion. Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, the United States and its NATO partners have allocated $330 billion to Ukraine.

Russia’s military and war-related spending is expected to increase 29% year on year to 12.8 trillion rubles, or nearly $140 billion.

Meanwhile, Ukraine faces an existential threat equal only to the moment immediately before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. However, unlike in the past, improvements are unlikely to occur very soon.

Ukraine may lose the war

Not only have conditions along the frontline deteriorated significantly, according to Ukrainian commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrsky, but the possibility of a Ukrainian defeat is now being discussed in public by people such as General Sir Richard Barrons, former commander of the UK’s Joint Forces Command.

On April 13th, Barrons stated to the BBC that Ukraine may lose the war by 2024 due to a sense of inability to win. And when it reaches that point, why would anyone want to fight and die to protect the indefensible?

This could be his strategy of pressuring the West to offer greater military supplies to Ukraine more rapidly.

However, the fact that the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, publicly accepts that in order to end the war, Ukraine will have to negotiate with Russia and decide ‘what kind of compromises they’re willing to do’ is a clear indication that things are not going well for Ukraine.

By Geoff Thomas

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