Ukraine faltering as US agrees to feed in more weapons

After months of delays, the US Congress has approved a further $90 billion of aid as Ukraine faces growing pressure from fresh Russian advances.

This brings US funding to Ukraine since the start of the war to a colossal $260 billion. But even this will be nowhere near enough to force a Russian defeat.

The new round of funding will only be enough to last until early next year. If Donald Trump wins the US presidential election in November, he will likely end further aid.

Ukraine is totally reliant on US and NATO weapons and funding to continue fighting what is clearly a proxy war against Russia.

This poses the danger of the war escalating and spreading beyond Ukraine’s borders.

French President Emmanuel Macron has again stated that he is “not ruling out” deploying French troops to Ukraine if Russia were to make further advances.

The UK similarly gave a green light for Ukraine to use British weapons to strike inside Russia. In response, Russia announced further nuclear weapons drills.

Even with the US and EU ramping up their production of artillery, Ukraine hopes merely to match Russia’s supplies.

The next two months are likely to see further Russian offensives, as it tries to take advantage before supplies of US weapons and artillery arrive, Ukrainian General Oleksandr Pavliuk told The Economist.

At times, the Russians have been able to out-shell the Ukrainians 17 to 1. Ukrainian soldiers have had to ration their supplies, substituting flash-bangs and hand-grenades for artillery.

Russian forces have been making steady gains on the front-lines.

This is in large part due to Ukrainian ammunition and personnel shortages.

While the West can provide more weapons to continue the slaughter, Ukraine still has to find soldiers willing to fight. The appalling casualties mean continual demand for more troops.

Ukraine has about one million soldiers, many them serving continuously for two years since the Russian invasion.

To combat the shortage of soldiers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has set a target of mobilising an additional 500,000 Ukrainians into the military. But this is becoming increasingly difficult, with falling enthusiasm for the war among Ukrainians meaning fewer volunteers.


In response, Zelensky last month lowered the draft age from 27 to 25 and implemented an electronic draft register which will require all men over the age of 17 to register within 60 days or be considered draft dodgers.

The penalty for draft dodging has also been increased to $330. This is almost half the average monthly wage in Ukraine.

This is in addition to the existing requirement under martial law for all men between 18 and 60 to remain in the country. A previous three-year maximum term of service for soldiers has also been scrapped.

Forced conscription is common in urban areas and many men of eligible age avoid public transport or visiting conscription offices in case they are forcefully bundled off into training and deployment. Some Ukrainians have even created apps which provide live updates of the locations of draft squads.

More than 20,000 Ukrainians have been arrested trying to flee the country since the war began.

For many, “the war is increasingly seen as a ‘war fought by the poor’,” those who are unable to afford immigration or the bribes necessary to avoid conscription, write academics Stefan Wolff and Tetyana Malyarenko.

The previous paper-based system of draft registration was rife with corruption, with conscription officers amassing million of dollars in bribes.

While Zelensky was elected on the promise he would crack down on widespread corruption, he has now presided over two years of martial law. In this time, the life expectancy of Ukrainian men has dropped from 65 to 57.

According to recent polls, the percentage of Ukrainians who “do not trust” Zelensky’s party has leapt from 34 per cent in late 2022 to 61 per cent at the start of this year.

This can be chalked up to the increasing authoritarianism of Zelensky’s government.

The US is happy to keep the war waging to tie Russia into a costly and protracted conflict, shoring up their military ties with their NATO allies.

Meanwhile, more Ukrainians and Russians will be sent to the meat-grinder on the front-lines.

The war in Ukraine is being maintained and fought for US imperialism, as a proxy war between the US and Russia, and as part of a strategy of weakening one of China’s major allies.

We need to oppose any further weapons shipments and demand an immediate ceasefire and negotiated peace.

Otherwise hundreds of thousands of Ukraine’s and Russia’s poorest will be buried in the trenches.

By Maeve Larkins


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