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Ukraine, low on most everything, enters ‘new phase’ of war

Dec 05, 2023

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The war in Ukraine is entering a new phase. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said winter always brings “a new phase” to fighting, but Ukrainians are hoping this winter also brings a new phase of funding.

If it wasn’t obvious already, Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive is firmly over. Now, that doesn’t mean each side won’t try to press for more ground along the frontlines, but any larger-scale ground operations are likely done until spring.

Straight Arrow News has reported on the hard-fought, albeit meager gains from the counteroffensive before, and how a lack of sufficient weapons in sufficient numbers had a negative impact on Ukrainians’ wartime progress. Suffice it to say, the summer counteroffensive did not yield the sort of results Kyiv, or its Western allies, wanted.

Ukraine Armed Forces focused much of its efforts in the south around Zaporizhzhia. The frontlines there are mostly static now.

In eastern Ukraine, Avdiivka became the site of some of the war’s fiercest battles. Around one thousand Russian troops per day died in November, most trying to take Avdiivka. Those numbers are comparable to daily Russian casualties in World War I.

In what may prove the most consequential recent battlefield victory, Ukraine now has a beachhead on the left bank of the Dnipro River, south of Kherson. Ukrainian marines, some of whom reportedly can’t even swim, were able to establish the new foothold in the middle of November.

Since then, Ukraine has employed every tool in its kit to expand the beachhead. But barring any major breakthrough, the battle lines will probably stay about the same for the next few months. These conditions do not favor the Ukrainians, and that means the new phase of the war could be one of transition. Despite all the promises from the United States, support may be running out.

President Zelenskyy admitted in late November that his military was running low on most everything, from weapons and ammo to soldiers. So, a prolonged stalemate will only benefit Russia, which is seemingly content on losing tens of thousands more troops if it means winning the war.

Ukraine is also running low on aid from the United States. Shalanda Young, the director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, said in an open letter to Congress that the $111 billion pot of money the U.S. set aside for Ukraine aid will dry up by year’s end. If that happens, Young said Ukraine will be “kneecapped” on the battlefield, and risks losing the war.

President Joe Biden wants Congress to approve his $106 billion aid package that would send money and weapons to Israel, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the U.S. southern border. Republicans in Congress said they won’t pass aid to Ukraine unless it’s tied to immigration reform.

Ukraine Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny said the stalemate in Ukraine can’t end without a major technological breakthrough or an increase in Western weapons. More European allies are increasing their weapons donations to Ukraine, and the country’s own domestic weapons production is getting better, but losing American aid at this time in the war would be devastating.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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THE WAR IN UKRAINE IS ENTERING A NEW PHASE. UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT, VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, SAYS WINTER ALWAYS BRINGS A NEW PHASE TO FIGHTING, BUT UKRAINIANS ARE HOPING THIS WINTER ALSO BRINGS A NEW PHASE OF FUNDING.

IF IT WASN’T OBVIOUS ALREADY, UKRAINE’S SUMMER COUNTEROFFENSIVE IS FIRMLY OVER. NOW, THAT DOESN’T MEAN EACH SIDE WON’T TRY TO PRESS FOR MORE GROUND ALONG THE FRONTLINES. BUT ANY LARGER-SCALE GROUND OPERATIONS ARE LIKELY DONE UNTIL SPRING.

WE’VE REPORTED ON THE HARD-FOUGHT, ALBEIT MEAGER GAINS FROM THE COUNTEROFFENSIVE BEFORE. BUT SUFFICE IT TO SAY, IT DID NOT YIELD THE SORT OF RESULTS UKRAINE, OR ITS WESTERN ALLIES, WANTED.

UKRAINE FOCUSED MUCH OF ITS EFFORTS IN THE SOUTH AROUND ZAPORIZHIZHIA. THE FRONTLINES THERE ARE MOSTLY STATIC NOW.

IN EASTERN UKRAINE, AVDIIVKA BECAME THE SITE OF SOME OF THE WAR’S FIERCEST BATTLES. AROUND A THOUSAND RUSSIAN TROOPS A DAY DIED IN NOVEMBER, MOST TRYING TO TAKE AVDIIVKA. BRITISH MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SAYS IT’S THE HIGHEST RECORDED RUSSIAN LOSSES SINCE WORLD WAR I.

IN WHAT MAY PROVE THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL RECENT BATTLEFIELD VICTORY, UKRAINE NOW HAS A BEACHHEAD ON THE LEFT BANK OF THE DNIPRO RIVER, SOUTH OF KHERSON. UKRAINIAN MARINES, SOME OF WHOM REPORTEDLY CAN’T EVEN SWIM, WERE ABLE TO ESTABLISH THE NEW FOOTHOLD IN MID NOVEMBER.

SINCE THEN, UKRAINE HAS EMPLOYED EVERY TOOL IN ITS KIT TO EXPAND THE BEACHHEAD, BUT BARRING ANY MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH THE BATTLE LINES WILL PROBABLY STAY ABOUT THE SAME FOR THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. WHICH DOES NOT FAVOR THE UKRAINIANS AND MEANS THE NEW PHASE OF THE WAR COULD BE ONE OF TRANSITION. BECAUSE DESPITE ALL THE PROMISES FROM THE UNITED STATES, SUPPORT MAY BE RUNNING OUT.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY ADMITTED IN LATE NOVEMBER HIS MILITARY WAS RUNNING LOW ON MOST EVERYTHING, FROM WEAPONS AND AMMO TO SOLDIERS. SO, A PROLONGED STALEMATE WILL ONLY BENEFIT RUSSIA, WHICH IS SEEMINGLY CONTENT ON LOSING TENS OF THOUSANDS MORE TROOPS IF IT MEANS WINNING THE WAR.

UKRAINE IS ALSO RUNNING LOW ON AID FROM THE UNITED STATES. SHALANDA YOUNG, THE DIRECTOR OF THE WHITE HOUSE’S OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, SAYS THE $111 BILLION POT OF MONEY THE U.S. SET ASIDE FOR AID TO UKRAINE WILL DRY UP BY YEAR’S END. IF THAT HAPPENS, YOUNG SAYS UKRAINE WILL BE KNEECAPPED ON THE BATTLEFIELD, AND RISKS LOSING THE WAR.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN WANTS CONGRESS TO APPROVE HIS $106 BILLION AID PACKAGE THAT WOULD SEND MONEY AND WEAPONS TO ISRAEL AND UKRAINE, AS WELL AS HELP BOLSTER DEFENSES IN THE PACIFIC, AND FUND GREATER BORDER SECURITY. REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS SAY THEY WON’T PASS AID TO UKRAINE UNLESS IT’S TIED TO IMMIGRATION REFORM.

UKRAINE’S COMMANDER AND CHIEF, VALERY ZALUZHNY, SAID THE STALEMATE IN UKRAINE CAN’T END WITHOUT A MAJOR TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH OR INCREASE IN WESTERN WEAPONS. MORE EUROPEAN ALLIES ARE INCREASING THEIR WEAPONS DONATIONS TO UKRAINE, AND THE COUNTRY’S OWN DOMESTIC WEAPONS PRODUCTION IS GETTING BETTER, BUT LOSING AMERICAN AID AT THIS TIME IN THE WAR WOULD BE DEVASTATING.