Russia commenced 2024 with the biggest air and drone strikes since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, attacking civilians and infrastructure in cities including Kyiv and Kharkiv, as ammunition for Western-provided air defense runs out and debates continue in Washington on whether to provide more.
With inflated expectations on territorial progress and shifted attention to the Israel-Hamas war, international media has largely deemed the ongoing counteroffensive a failure and the war on Ukraine a stalemate. However, contrary to expectations, Ukrainian strikes into the Black Sea and the Russian navy headquarters in Sevastopol have crippled Russian naval efforts in the region and broken the long-standing blockade on Ukrainian trade. As recently as late December, Ukrainian drone and missile strikes hit and destroyed key Russian warships and landing craft in occupied Crimea. Additionally, the Ukrainian military continues to repel Russian forces in cities in the east and south, inflicting unsustainable manpower and equipment attrition on the Russian military.
The dubious framing of the war as a stalemate has become an argument against further Western support for Ukraine and has led some to push for negotiations with the Kremlin. Such narratives discount the substantial successes Ukraine has enjoyed in the Black Sea and ignore that Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no real indication of moving away from his maximalist war aims for Ukraine and Europe.
What does Ukraine need to succeed in 2024? How did the media narrative of the failed counteroffensive form, and how can Ukraine’s Western allies best maintain international support for continued aid? What is the true danger of accommodating a continuously aggressive Kremlin?
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 01/09/2024