Ukraine has found itself in a battle for media attention and financial assistance as Putin’s invasion continues into the winter.
Time has never been on Ukraine’s side. A prolonged war has long served to benefit Russia’s tyrannical leader Vladimir Putin. As Ukraine enters its 20th month since the Russian invasion, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s fear that war fatigue would dissuade interest amongst Western countries may be coming true.
What was first believed to be a swift victory for Russia soon became a war of attrition, in which the upper hand belonged to Ukraine. Now, with the eyes of the world shifting to the Middle East, Putin’s patience seems to be paying off.
In early October, Putin launched a noteworthy offensive attack on the territory of Avdiivka in the Donetsk Oblast. This attack led to significant Russian gains around Avdiivka that prevented Ukrainian forces from sending reinforcements in critical areas of the Zaporizhia Oblast. The attack should have made headlines weeks ago, but was barely mentioned in mainstream media.
Media coverage has evolved over the years to cover developing stories all over the world. This shift has forced the media to adapt by covering breaking news faster than ever before. As attention spans shrink, countries like Ukraine fall victim to decreasing air time as demand for coverage of newer events takes over.
American support for the war has been steadily declining as public sentiment in the US shifts against giving financial aid to Ukraine. Some Republican senators have also voiced their concern over continued military and financial assistance to Ukraine. The Israel-Hamas war has pushed this sentiment further as politicians in Congress have put assistance to Ukraine on hold as they send funds to Israel.
This compromises Ukraine’s position, which relies on financial support from countries such as the US, especially now that Putin is increasing the number of attacks on Ukraine’s territory.
Ukraine’s future is being further jeopardized by the increasing cost of oil since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. As a large exporter of oil, Russia has been able to capitalize on this increase. Before Oct. 7, Russian oil was being sold at almost $80 per barrel. Reports from Oct. 20 show that oil from the Russian Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline was selling at over $88 per barrel. With Russia being one of the most sanctioned countries in the world, rising oil prices can only benefit Putin in his quest to destroy Ukraine.
Ukraine has lost entire cities in the Donbas and Donetsk regions. Russia has seen more than 315,000 of its men killed. What’s clear is that Ukraine will need sustained commitment of military and financial assistance if they are to survive this invasion. As it stands, time is on Putin’s side. As the world fails to pay attention, Ukraine will continue to suffer the consequences.