Weekly roundup. Ukraine resists Russia’s invasion. Days 663-667

This week, the fighting continued to rage across the frontlines. Avdiyivka is the most complicated section on the eastern fronts. Russian forces continue to attack Ukrainian troops on the left bank of the Dnipro river in Kherson region. Russia has launched 7,400 missiles and 3,700 drones at Ukraine since the invasion, Ukraine’s Air Force said.

Ukrainian troops face shortages of artillery shells and have scaled back some military operations because of a shortfall of foreign assistance, Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi told Reuters earlier this week. An absolute majority of Ukrainians, unchanged from a year ago, continue to have trust in the Armed Forces and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, a survey found. At the same time, Ukrainians’ trust in President Zelenskyi dropped to 62 per cent in December 2023, down from 84 per cent in December 2022.

During a two-hour news conference on Tuesday, President Zelenskyi said that Ukraine’s top military commanders want up to 500,000 more Ukrainians to be mobilized into the Armed Forces. He said an additional UAH 500 billion (USD 13.2 billion) would be needed to support the army’s mobilization proposal. Ukraine would need to find those additional funds, he said. In the meantime, Ukrainian lawmakers are likely working on a bill to lower the draft age from 27 to 25 years.

Collapse of Western aid to likely lead to eventual collapse of Ukraine’s ability to hold off Russia, ISW says. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has assessed that the collapse of Western aid would likely lead to the eventual collapse of Ukraine’s ability to hold off the Russian military and that the current positional war in Ukraine is not a stable stalemate because the current instable balance could readily be tipped in either direction by decisions made in the West.

Continued Western security assistance that empowers Ukrainian forces to repel ongoing and future Russian offensive efforts and to liberate more Ukrainian territory is the only course of action at this time that can make the Russian failure to achieve Putin’s maximalist objectives in Ukraine permanent, ISW said in a report on December 21.