Ukraine war anniversary: Kyiv defies the odds but Russia is ‘stronger now’

Ukraine war anniversary: Kyiv defies the odds but Russia is ‘stronger now’

WATCH HERE: GB News special report assesses the Ukraine war two years on

GB News
Mark White

By Mark White

Published: 23/02/2024

- 05:00

Updated: 23/02/2024

- 09:18

In this special report, GB News assesses the Ukraine war two years on

A desperate shortage of ammunition and missiles, along with a fatigued and depleted military, has raised growing concerns over Ukraine's ability to continue fighting effectively, as the war with Russia enters its third year.

Throughout the past twelve months, Kyiv's counter-offensive has failed to gain any major advances and has been largely bogged down in slower, attritional warfare.

The US government's continued failure to get congressional approval for its latest military aid package has only added to the sense of pessimism on the eve of the second anniversary since Russian tanks rolled across the Ukrainian border.

Through large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine, the war with Russia continues to rage.

Ukraine war collage and Putin

GB News assesses the Ukraine war two years on in a special report

Reuters/Getty Images

The destruction and the number of casualties inflicted on both sides is immense.

The Ukrainian military was widely praised for its early successes, driving the numerically superior and better-equipped Russian army back from significant chunks of the territory it seized in the early days of the invasion.

But military analysts agree the war of late appears to have reached a stalemate.

Former British Army officer Major General Tim Cross told GB News: “When I think about it now, I can’t help but think about the First World War - the 1916-1917 attempts at offensive operations, capturing very little ground, a lot of casualties, and doesn't seem to be making any advances one way or the other.

Ukrainian soldier

The number of casualties inflicted on both sides is immense


“So I think we're in a stalemate situation, I rather suspect this is going to be the case for some time.”

There is no doubt Ukraine has defied the odds in ensuring Russia, for now at least, is unable to do much more than defend the current territory it holds.

An assessment of Ukraine’s achievements so far by the UK’s Ministry of Defence estimates the country’s armed forces have recaptured 50 per cent of the territory Russia seized in 2022.

More than 350,000 Russian troops are believed to have been killed or injured, 2,600 Russian Tanks have been destroyed over the past two years and almost 5,000 Russian armoured vehicles have also been destroyed.

On the Ukrainian side, at least 30,000 civilians have been killed, probably far higher.

HIMARS firing in Ukraine

More than 350,000 Russian troops are believed to have been killed or injured

GETTY Images

The number of military deaths is closely guarded, but some estimates put it as high as 70,000.

Tim Cross believes Russia is “in a stronger position now” than it was a year ago.

“So I think we’re in quite a difficult phase. And my instinct is, although it will end in negotiation at some point, that isn’t going to happen for quite a while.”

With last year’s counter-offensive failing to achieve the significant gains Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelenskyy had hoped for, he has now removed his top general.

And there is now serious concern surrounding the continued support from the United States, with the Republicans repeatedly blocking a $60billion military aid package for Ukraine.

The spectre of a new Donald Trump presidency just adds to the concern in Kyiv that Ukraine’s biggest supplier of military aid may no longer be as committed to its defence.

Missile strike in Kharkiv

There is serious concern surrounding the continued support from the US


For now, the UK remains steadfast in its support, providing more than £7billion in military aid over the past two years.

A £200million pound programme to provide thousands of extra military drones for Ukraine has now also been agreed.

Over the past two years, the British military has trained 60,000 Ukrainian troops.

The UK has also provided 6 million rounds of small arms ammunition and 8,000 rounds of tank artillery.

But this is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to what is needed on Ukraine’s frontlines.

Vladimir Putin

There seems little prospect of Vladimir Putin's removal


Ukraine requires an additional 240,000 shells each month, just to keep pace with Moscow.

Last year alone, Kyiv managed to manufacture 300,000 drones and is already stepping up its arms manufacturing capacity.

But Russia has not only switched to a war footing within its manufacturing base, it is also being supplied with large amounts of missiles, drones and other munitions from allies, including Iran and North Korea.

Russian opposition politician Ilya Ponomarev told GB News he believes that ultimately, the war in Ukraine is unlikely to be won on the battlefield, and will hinge instead on a new leader in the Kremlin.

“Also, we are experiencing a bit of war fatigue among some Western nations," he said.

“That makes what we do, as the armed wing of the Russian opposition, even more important.

“Because, I think that this war at the end of the day, will not end in Ukraine, it will end in Moscow.

“The origin of the problem is in Moscow and it should be treated in Moscow, and that’s what I’m currently doing.

“I am campaigning for all the different Western nations to come to this realisation and help our regiments and front-line groups in Russia to grow and be able to change this regime from within.”

For now at least, there seems little prospect of Vladimir Putin's removal, enforced or otherwise.

He is on course to once again win next month's Presidential elections.

In Ukraine, after another year of massive battlefield losses on both sides, neither side has the advantage.

But Ukraine and Russia agree on one thing, there's no prospect of a ceasefire and negotiations anytime soon.

The conflict is set to rage on, testing not just Ukraine's ability to keep fighting, but its allies' resolve in staying the course.

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