News articles on Ukraine do not magically appear. They are produced with the intent to send a particular message. So pay close attention to last week’s Time Magazine piece on Zelensky (not a positive), the Saturday piece from NBC News, and Ukrainian General Zaluzhny’s interview with the Economist.
My previous article addressed the Time Magazine article. Let’s take a look at what NBC and the Economist are saying. The NBC News article, which was published with the blessing of the Biden Administration, signals that Ukraine is going to get the Afghanistan treatment:
WASHINGTON — U.S. and European officials have begun quietly talking to the Ukrainian government about what possible peace negotiations with Russia might entail to end the war, according to one current senior U.S. official and one former senior U.S. official familiar with the discussions. . . .
The conversations have included very broad outlines of what Ukraine might need to give up to reach a deal, the officials said. Some of the talks, which officials described as delicate, took place last month during a meeting of representatives from more than 50 nations supporting Ukraine, including NATO members, known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the officials said.The discussions are an acknowledgment of the dynamics militarily on the ground in Ukraine and politically in the U.S. and Europe, officials said.
They began amid concerns among U.S. and European officials that the war has reached a stalemate and about the ability to continue providing aid to Ukraine, officials said. Biden administration officials also are worried that Ukraine is running out of forces, while Russia has a seemingly endless supply, officials said. Ukraine is also struggling with recruiting and has recently seen public protests about some of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s open-ended conscription requirements.
The challenge for Ukraine is simple and insurmountable — it is running out of men. The average age of Ukrainian soldiers on the frontlines is 43. That means Ukraine is now forced to rely on guys who are 50 and 60 years of age. Why? Because Ukraine has lost more than 500,000 killed in action and at least 700,000 wounded. Ukraine’s population, which was 40 million at the start of Russia’s invasion, is now estimated to be 27 million. Thirteen million Ukrainians have fled and are showing no signs of returning.
The Economist interview with Zaluzhny was just the tip of the ice berg. Zaluzhny also published an op-ed in the Economist and gave Zaluzhny a platform to publish a longer essay on its website. The bottomline from the interview is bleak:
Five months into its counter-offensive, Ukraine has managed to advance by just 17 kilometres. Russia fought for ten months around Bakhmut in the east “to take a town six by six kilometres”. Sharing his first comprehensive assessment of the campaign with The Economist in an interview this week, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, General Valery Zaluzhny, says the battlefield reminds him of the great conflict of a century ago. “Just like in the first world war we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate,” he says. The general concludes that it would take a massive technological leap to break the deadlock. “There will most likely be no deep and beautiful breakthrough.”
There is no stalemate. Zaluzhny is peddling a delusional hope. Russia is pressing all along the front line and reports from multiple sources, including Ukrainian, indicate Russia is on the verge of capturing Avdeevka, which has been the cornerstone of Ukraine’s defensive position in the Donbass.
While the Biden Administration continues to press on with its public position that it is continuing to stand with Ukraine, these leaks to news organizations by Biden officials signal that the U.S. will jettison Ukraine and will get rid of Zelensky. Ukraine is now an afterthought. The Washington political establishment is focused on trying to save Israel. Count Ukraine as another casualty of the war against Hamas.