The United States and the G7 are beginning to admit it: Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is going to drag on for years.
What many, particularly in Russia, thought would be a three-day war is now entering its 20th month. Progress in Ukraine’s counteroffensive has been slower than anticipated, with the two countries set for a stalemate as the difficult conditions of winter approach.
Kyiv is liberating villages, so it’s unfair to say they’ve made no progress at all. However, according to “War Mapper” on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, Ukraine is liberating 0.01% of its territory a month.
Continued Calls For Support
Western support for Kyiv remains strong, but cracks are beginning to appear.
President Joe Biden, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly reiterated support for the war-torn nation. “We have to stand up to this naked aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow,” he said, adding that the U.S. and its allies “will continue to stand with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity and their freedom.”
Biden wasn’t the only high-profile figure to call for continued support. At Monday’s meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called on the 50+ members to “continue to demonstrate our iron sense of purpose” in Ukraine’s fight against Russia.
“Our commitment to Ukraine isn’t just for the duration of one campaign. It’s a commitment to long-term security in Europe and beyond. And it’s a commitment to our shared values of freedom and sovereignty,” he added. “This Contact Group has done so much for the people of Ukraine. And it must continue to evolve to sustain our support over the long haul.”
However, Western discontent is starting to grow. Prominent Republican candidates have pledged to withdraw funding for Ukraine if elected, reflecting growing doubt within the party and across the nation.
Funding For The Future
President Biden is seeking a further $24billion in support for Ukraine for the fiscal year beginning October 1. Given warnings of a government shutdown and increased opposition within Congress, that may be difficult.
The European Union is pledging a €50 billion ($53 billion) support package to be delivered through 2027. Germany, second in terms of support behind the U.S., has pledged €5 billion throughout that period. Further funding may be announced, but it’s evident that the duration of the war is now a matter of years rather than weeks or months.
One G7 official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the general consensus among the alliance is that the war is likely to last six or seven more years. A senior U.S. State Department official, again speaking anonymously, said the conflict is likely to last for the medium or long term.
With winter approaching, it’s likely the war will tone down due to the unforgiving conditions. If every summer is a repeat of this year, the war is unlikely to end anytime soon.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.