Socialist Alternative

Ukraine’s Second Winter At War

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The Ukrainian counter-offensive has been unsuccessful and the conflict will continue to be a protracted one, rather than the quick conflict Zelensky insisted would be Ukraine’s best chance to defeat the Russian invasion.  As it stands now, it’s hard to accept the narrative that Russian forces are on the verge of defeat.

There are cracks forming in US imperialism’s support. At the time of writing, Zelensky is in Washington DC pleading for a further $68 billion in military aid to Ukraine, but Republicans blocked the emergency funding bill, which also allotted military aid to Israel. Popular support in the US for a “blank check” for aid to Ukraine has also declined significantly. 

Military aid from Western imperialist powers like the US and in lesser amounts the UK, is coming with increasing reluctance and delay, though the leaders of both countries insist it remains important. Since the beginning of the war the ISA has opposed military aid from Western imperialist countries; the shipments of increasingly destructive weapons only serve to fuel the war which is a disaster for working people.

Now Ukrainians look ahead to another winter where Russian troops will attack vital infrastructure, energy and heating especially, and the conscripted members of their families remain on the front lines with no scheduled end in sight. The bloody trench warfare, while a thorn in Russia’s side, is not going to see an end to the occupation.

Ukrainian people suffer, still under martial law from the start of the war that makes it illegal to demonstrate or go on strike, and the government is considering laws lowering the draft age for students who previously would have gotten an exception for education. Despite laws against it, there have been demonstrations of 50 to 100 people in Kyiv, and 25,000 people signed a petition demanding that military service not remain open-ended. 

Corruption scandals have rocked Ukraine’s structure of draft officials, and Zelensky fired all the heads of regional recruitment offices this summer. People are paying between $500 and $10,000 for documents to avoid the draft and leave the country, some of these bribes taken by draft officials themselves.

US imperialism’s main goal in supporting Ukraine was to weaken China’s ally, Russia, and score a victory in the midst of the ongoing global conflict between US and Chinese capitalism. With no easy win in sight, support for Ukraine and the war is waning in the US, even amongst the leaders of the two mainstream parties. Support for the war is weakening in Ukraine as well, as the conflict wears on and on.

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