In the eastern part of Ukraine, where the winter season has arrived, a Ukrainian soldier near the town of Bakhmut has shared a somber view of the ongoing conflict. The soldier, known as “Mudryi,” went beyond the recent admission by Ukraine’s top military official that the war with Russia has reached a stalemate.
Mudryi told AFP in a phone interview, “I’ve been saying that for some time now already. Step by step we’re losing the war.” He expressed concern about the prolonged static nature of the conflict and its detrimental impact on Ukraine.
Since November of last year, there has been little movement on the frontlines between the Ukrainian army and Russian forces in the occupied areas of eastern and southern Ukraine. Despite repeated strikes from Russia and a Ukrainian counteroffensive, there has been minimal territorial change.
General Valery Zaluzhny of Ukraine surprised observers this week when he candidly stated that the warring parties have reached a deadlock along the extensive front. He compared the situation to World War I, emphasizing that there are unlikely to be any significant breakthroughs.
These remarks have dampened optimism surrounding Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive, which began in the summer after acquiring Western weapons and training new recruits. The push has made little progress, and AFP journalists discovered that Ukraine was still engaging Russian forces in a key village it previously claimed to recapture.
In response to General Zaluzhny’s comments, a senior Ukrainian official acknowledged that the country is at a turning point and must decide on a strategy to win the conflict with Russia. Presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak admitted that the period of fighting has encountered difficulties, while Oleksiy Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s security council, recognized the need for new approaches.
Ukrainian forces have called on their Western allies to provide F-16 fighter jets and long-range missiles to help penetrate deep Russian defensive lines. Ukrainian soldiers on the ground expressed concerns about the lack of training, weaponry, and artillery.
Despite the stalemate, General Zaluzhny received praise for suggesting measures to break the impasse, including innovation in drone and anti-artillery technology, as well as improved demining capacity. Ukrainian military analyst Mykola Bielieskov expressed optimism, stating that Ukraine will not lose while Russia will not win.
However, the Kremlin offered a different perspective, denying the existence of a stalemate and emphasizing its commitment to its military operation. In Kyiv, residents commended General Zaluzhny for his honesty and urged Ukrainian politicians to take his words seriously.
A 19-year-old resident of Kyiv, Krystyna, walking near the iconic Maidan square with her mother, highlighted the importance of action. She warned that if no action is taken, the sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians will be in vain.