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“Hurt But Far From Down”: Ukraine Isn’t Doing So Well Three Years Into The War, Says Expert

As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia surpasses its second year, the initial optimism surrounding Ukraine’s resilience is giving way to sobering realities.

Suriya Jayanti, Energy Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, provides insights into the evolving dynamics within Ukraine, shedding light on the challenges it faces domestically and internationally.

Erosion of Early Enthusiasm

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The dismissal of General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, a key architect of Ukraine’s initial defensive successes, reflects a sobering reality: the early euphoria of Ukraine’s resistance against Russia has faded, leaving the country in dire need of revitalization.

Stagnation Amidst Ongoing Conflict

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Despite valiant efforts, the war shows no signs of abating, with Russia’s relentless assault persisting unabated by Western sanctions.

Ukraine’s failed counteroffensive in 2023 further underscores the stagnation in the conflict, dampening both morale and global attention.

Loss of Lives

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The loss of human lives has been devastating.

In August, U.S. experts estimated that of the initial 200,000 fighting soldiers in Ukraine, 75,000 had died.

Toll on Ukrainian Society

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The toll of prolonged conflict is evident in Ukraine’s social fabric, with a decline in public support for the war reflected in dwindling polling numbers and increasing attempts by military-aged men to evade conscription.

Scandals and Corruption

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Recent scandals, including corruption allegations in arms procurement and misappropriation of funds in state-owned enterprises, have tarnished Ukraine’s image and undermined public trust in the government’s integrity.

This includes a $40 million corruption scandal involving arms procurement. Another concerns five employees of the state-owned nuclear firm Energoatom who are alleged to have embezzled $2.65 million from a project supported by the United States.

Economic Struggles

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Ukraine also grapples with economic challenges, including widespread damage to infrastructure, soaring inflation, and rising unemployment, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis within the country.

There is a housing crisis as a result of the residential buildings suffering damage worth well over $54 billion. Remittances are rapidly declining, unemployment is above 15%, and average inflation is over 21%.

Diminishing International Support

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While Western governments officially pledge support to Ukraine, domestic pressures and competing global crises have led to a waning commitment, reflected in dwindling public support for further aid.

Concerns for Democracy and Rule of Law

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The postponement of elections, curbing of civil liberties, and consolidation of power under martial law raise concerns about the erosion of democracy and rule of law in Ukraine, posing additional challenges amidst the conflict.

Zelensky’s Leadership Amidst Adversity

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President Zelensky’s leadership remains pivotal in navigating Ukraine through these turbulent times, albeit amid growing skepticism and fatigue both domestically and abroad.

Implications for the Future

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As Ukraine braces for the uncertainties ahead, the stakes are high.

The outcome of the conflict in 2024 will likely shape Ukraine’s trajectory and determine its ability to sustain the fight against Russian aggression.

Continued Resilience Amidst Adversity

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Despite the formidable challenges, Ukraine’s resilience endures, with its determination and courage continuing to inspire the world. As Surya concludes, “Ukraine is hurt, but far from down.”

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