This piece of graffiti that appeared in Kiev captures the essence of the moment. The U.S. is flooding Israel with material aid, which is accompanied by broad public support in America for Israel. Ukraine? It is rapidly becoming an afterthought. Zelensky and entourage are yesterday’s news. This cartoon tells the story.
The dire position of Ukraine is presented in a scathing Time Magazine article this week:
One year ago, Time celebrated Zelensky as its Man of the Year. What a difference a year makes.
Here is what Time wrote last year:
For most of his life, he felt nostalgia for the culture and history Ukraine shared with Russia. “There were these amazing Soviet comedies,” Zelensky told me. Among his heroes growing up were filmmakers like Leonid Gaidai, whose works were heavily censored but still charming and often hilarious; one depicted Ivan the Terrible swapping lives with a superintendent at a Soviet apartment building. “These are the classics of my generation, but I’m incapable of watching them now,” the President says. “They revolt me.” Memories of his youth are now colored by the atrocities that Russian forces committed this year in service of Moscow’s imperial ambitions. In April, less than two months into the invasion, Zelensky told me he had aged and changed “from all this wisdom that I never wanted.” Now, half a year later, the transformation was starker. Aides who once saw him as a lightweight now praise his toughness. Slights that might once have upset him now elicit no more than a shrug. Some of his allies miss the old Zelensky, the practical joker with the boyish smile. But they realize he needs to be different now, much harder and deaf to distractions, or else his country might not survive.
Time Magazine is singing a different tune now:
But his convictions haven’t changed. Despite the recent setbacks on the battlefield, he does not intend to give up fighting or to sue for any kind of peace. On the contrary, his belief in Ukraine’s ultimate victory over Russia has hardened into a form that worries some of his advisers. It is immovable, verging on the messianic. “He deludes himself,” one of his closest aides tells me in frustration. “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.”. . . The cold will also make military advances more difficult, locking down the front lines at least until the spring. But Zelensky has refused to accept that. “Freezing the war, to me, means losing it,” he says. Before the winter sets in, his aides warned me to expect major changes in their military strategy and a major shake-up in the President’s team. At least one minister would need to be fired, along with a senior general in charge of the counteroffensive, they said, to ensure accountability for Ukraine’s slow progress at the front. “We’re not moving forward,” says one of Zelensky’s close aides. Some front-line commanders, he continues, have begun refusing orders to advance, even when they came directly from the office of the President. “They just want to sit in the trenches and hold the line,” he says. “But we can’t win a war that way.” When I raised these claims with a senior military officer, he said that some commanders have little choice in second-guessing orders from the top. At one point in early October, he said, the political leadership in Kyiv demanded an operation to “retake” the city of Horlivka, a strategic outpost in eastern Ukraine that the Russians have held and fiercely defended for nearly a decade. The answer came back in the form of a question: With what? “They don’t have the men or the weapons,” says the officer. “Where are the weapons? Where is the artillery? Where are the new recruits?”
There is growing doubt that Zelensky will survive in office as he clashes with General Zaluzhny. The strategic picture is growing worse, not better. But wait! All is not lost. Ukrainian soldiers who still want to fight and want a reliable payday, opportunity is knocking. Yes, sirree, Israel wants you. Weather conditions are better too. You won’t be shoveling mountains of snow in sub-zero temperatures in January. Plus, Hamas does not have tanks, kizhal missiles and attack aircraft. Here is the pitch.