KYIV, Ukraine (Dispatches) — As Russia-Ukraine war grinds into its fourth month, officials in Kyiv have expressed fears that the specter of “war fatigue” could erode the West’s resolve to help the country in the war.
The U.S. and its allies have given billions of dollars in weaponry to Ukraine. Europe has taken in millions of people displaced by the war. And there has been unprecedented unity in post-World War II Europe in imposing sanctions on President Vladimir Putin and his country.
But analysts say the Kremlin could exploit a dragged-out, entrenched conflict and possible waning interest among Western powers that might lead to pressuring Ukraine into a settlement.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy already has chafed at Western suggestions he should accept some sort of compromise. Ukraine, he said, would decide its own terms for peace.
“The fatigue is growing, people want some kind of outcome (that is beneficial) for themselves, and we want (another) outcome for ourselves,” he said.
An Italian peace proposal was dismissed, and French President Emmanuel Macron was met with an angry backlash after he was quoted as saying that although Putin’s war was a “historic error,” world powers shouldn’t “humiliate Russia, so when the fighting stops, we can build a way out together via diplomatic paths.” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said such talk “can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it.”
Every month of the war is costing Ukraine $5 billion, said Volodymyr Fesenko, political analyst with the Penta Center think tank, and that “makes Kyiv dependent on the consolidated position of the Western countries.”
Ukraine will need even more advanced weaponry to secure victory, along with Western determination to keep up the economic pain on Russia to weaken Moscow.
On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the two Britons and one Moroccan sentenced to death on Thursday in the Donetsk People’s Republic had committed crimes on the territory of the self-proclaimed state trying to break away from Ukraine.
Lavrov said: “At the moment, the trials you mentioned are being held on the basis of the legislation of the Donetsk People’s Republic, because the crimes in question were committed on the DPR’s territory.”