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Ukrainian officials are concerned that Russia’s protracted war in the country – now entering its fourth month – could make Western allies pull of their steadfast support.
The US, along with its allies, has supplied Ukraine with billions of dollars in aid and weapons to defend itself against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
European and other allied countries have taken in millions of refugees displaced in the conflict in which Russia has been accused of war crimes against civilians. The US has said it’s willing to accept around 100,000 refugees.
And while videos and images of alleged atrocities have shocked the world, domestic crises and nearly three and a half months have pulled focus from the largest war in Europe since World War II. Now, Kyiv officials are concerned about international “war fatigue.”
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Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a “special military operation” that by all accounts has been much slower and less successful than Putin envisioned.
Russian troops had initially tried to take Kyiv but eventually moved mainly to the disputed Donbas region in the east.
Ukraine believes Russia could leverage a possible wanting focus on the war by the West to force the defenders into agreeing to give up land.
“The fatigue is growing, people want some kind of outcome (that is beneficial) for themselves, and we want (another) outcome for ourselves,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said recently.
Political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko told the Associated Press, “It is obvious that Russia is determined to wear down the West and is now building its strategy on the assumption that Western countries will get tired and gradually begin to change their militant rhetoric to a more accommodating one.” .”
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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 invasion 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.”
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Even a remark by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that Ukraine should consider territorial concessions drew a retort from Zelenskyy that it was tantamount to European powers in 1938 letting Nazi Germany claim parts of Czechoslovakia to curb Adolf Hitler’s aggression.
Allied leaders are still with Ukraine: last week President Biden said the US plans to send advanced rocket systems and munitions to the country that will enable it to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield and promised he won’t pressure Ukraine to make concessions.
Macron may also visit Kyiv next week after a trip to Romania, according to French newspaper Le Parisien.
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Germany, despite early hesitancy on weapons, has also pledged to send its most modern air defense systems yet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.