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Eugene Czolij: Ukraine’s Victory Day is within reach in 2023
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in the op-ed section are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of the Kyiv Independent.
With effective and timely support from the international community, particularly NATO member countries, in 2023 Ukraine will win the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
Is such an outcome truly possible?
While some political pundits sneeringly argue that it is not, many of them also believed that the Kremlin was right when it predicted that Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine would only last about three days.
Others fear that China will provide military support to Russia, giving the Russian army a fighting chance.
However, during a one-hour phone conversation on April 26, 2023 – their first since Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine – Chinese President Xi Jinping told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that “as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and a responsible great power … we would not add fuel to the fire.”
Even if China reneged on this statement and decided to support Russia militarily, at the cost of its short‑term economic relationship with the U.S. and the EU, China would only send weapons – not its army.
This would raise the cost of Ukraine’s victory but would not remedy a glaring problematic combination within Russia’s army that will inevitably lead to its defeat – namely, low morale and high incompetence.
In any event, a weakened, or even defeated, China-dependent Russia would not exactly be a bad outcome for China.
In 2022, NATO member countries provided hesitant and incremental military support to Ukraine.
Indeed, it was only once Ukraine demonstrated incredible heroism, strength, and resilience, as well as amazing combat effectiveness, that NATO member countries started to provide weapons that were more in line with Ukraine’s actual needs to defend its territorial integrity and restrain Russia’s expansionist ambitions.
Notwithstanding this costly procrastination by the West, according to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi, by the end of 2022, Ukraine liberated 40% of the territories that Russia invaded since Feb. 24, 2022.
This is undoubtedly the most relevant statistic and clearly demonstrates that Ukraine is indeed capable – with effective and timely Western support – to restore in 2023 its internationally recognized 1991 borders.
This capability should prompt NATO member countries to stop wavering and provide Ukraine with advanced Western equipment, including F-16 fighter jets and long-range missiles. Such assistance would surely help Ukraine win this unprovoked war in the very near future, and prevent further killings of civilians, including innocent children, as well as additional costly destruction of Ukraine’s cities and towns. Ukraine’s victory will also remove the most serious threat to the security of NATO member countries.
Ukraine’s military success will ultimately be a decisive victory for liberal democracies over authoritarian regimes, namely Russia, backed by Iran, North Korea, and Belarus. This will have a significantly positive impact on peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the world.
Ukraine’s victory shall also signal that the international community will no longer tolerate blatant violations of the fundamental values enshrined in the UN Charter, making this world a better place.