Wall-to-wall coverage of the war in Gaza has concealed an uncomfortable truth about the one started by Vladimir Putin, says Thomas Fazi in UnHerd: “Ukraine – and the West – are losing.” Even the most ardent supporters of the “maximalist victory-at-all-costs narrative” are now starting to admit that the Nato-backed counteroffensive has failed – that despite billions of dollars and tens of thousands of casualties, Ukraine has made barely any territorial gains, while Russia continues to make “significant advances”. Volodymyr Zelensky’s former presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych has called it a “disaster”.
Ukraine’s commander-in-chief General Valery Zaluzhny says the war is at a stalemate, and that “there will most likely be no deep and beautiful breakthrough”. He also points out that Ukrainian casualties are unsustainably high. “Sooner or later,” he says, “we are going to find that we simply don’t have enough people to fight.” Meanwhile US support for Ukraine is “nearing its expiry date”. President Biden is struggling to get Congress to approve his latest round of funding, and a Trump election victory next year would all but guarantee an end to American aid for Kyiv. The one person who seems unwilling to face reality is Zelensky. In a recent interview the president rejected the idea that the war has reached stalemate, and reaffirmed that he is not prepared to negotiate with the “fucking terrorist Putin”. Several of his advisors told Time Magazine that their boss was deluding himself. “We’re not winning,” said one. “But try telling him that.”