Typically in American politics we speak of a “October surprise». Since our elections take place in November, the surprise in October is usually an earthquake or unexpected political event that changes the direction of a presidential election. Although there were no elections this year, we experienced a big surprise with the Hamas attacks against Israel. Given the close ties of USA When it comes to Israel, it is no surprise that the American political class appears to have completely shifted focus from its support for Ukraine to Israel. Watching the news here in the United States, it’s easy to imagine that events in old Europe have come to a complete standstill.
This is a shame, of course, as the war in Ukraine continues as fiercely as before as winter approaches and the second anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion. The good news is that the White House has not reduced its support for Ukraine, and aid to the Ukrainian forces unaffected by the Israeli war continues. Training on critical systems such as long-range missiles and preparations for the transfer of game-changing US F-16 fighter jets continue. All of these systems are expected to be deployed early next year.
Tactically, Ukrainian forces continue to make progress, particularly in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. In recent weeks, the Ukrainian military has established permanent bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Dniper, directly threatening, albeit from a distance, Russian-occupied Crimea. Attacks with long-range missiles and drones are penetrating deeper into Russian territory, preparing for the arrival of aircraft that attack advanced Russian air defense systems.
Similar attacks in Sevastopol and against ships at sea have essentially advanced the situation Russian Black Sea Fleet in front of the port of Crimea and against non-military ports further east along the Black Sea. This makes it harder for Russia to maintain its war and merchant fleet, but also threatens Ukraine with invasions along its coast and makes it easier to intercept ships carrying Ukrainian grain to starving populations in poor southern countries.
The Russian army has decided that the City of Andiivkanear occupied Donetsk, be that Bakhmut this year a place where they can launch their attacks with maximum military and human effort. This year, however, progress is measured in meters, not kilometers, and comes at a huge cost: there are hundreds of deaths and dozens of destroyed vehicles every day. At this point it does not appear that Andiivka will fall, but the offensive appears to be absorbing many of the Russian military units at the front. This is confirmed by the Ukrainians on the front line in the city of Kherson, who appear to be facing very weakened Russian units that had been spotted weeks earlier in the city of Andiivka.
Winter is approaching and with it danger Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure This caused so much suffering last year. Russia appears to be no closer to political collapse than it was a year ago. With the departure of the tycoon Yevgeny Prigozhin and the paramilitary group Wagner, There appears to be no significant threat to the political power of Vladimir Putin and the criminal clique that supports him in this war and allows him to continue to rule.
The only way to achieve political change that brings Russia to the negotiating table to end the war with Ukraine is continue to win victories on the battlefield, resist attacks and convince the Russian people that the price of Putin’s dreams is too high to pay. So that is the task for the new year 2024. Ukraine continues to defend the West, and the West must maintain the support that allows it to do so.