As the war continues, Ukraine has been able to hold off Russian victories over the past month, thanks in large part to continued support from the United States and its European allies, and aid on the ground from partisans.
After months of brutal war in which Ukraine has lost ground, Kiev has managed to halt the Russian advance of late and force Russia to suffer heavy casualties, with up to 500 Russian troops being killed or wounded every day, according to some estimates.
John Spencer, a retired army officer and chair of urban war studies for the Madison Policy Forum research institute, said that while Ukraine has lost tactical ground in some regions, its forces have managed to weaken the Russian military.
“They’ve also let the Russians use resources that they can’t replenish,” Mr Spencer said. “You don’t want to say they win the war because there is so much to fight, but with every measure you come up with, especially geopolitical and military, they achieve more than outweigh the gains.”
Russia still has a huge advantage in the size of its weapons arsenal, and Ukraine has suffered badly over the course of the war. At one point, as many as 200 soldiers were killed every day; the number of civilian casualties has exceeded 5,000, according to United Nations estimates; and several cities of the land have been razed to the ground. But Moscow has not made major territorial gains since its capture of the eastern province of Luhansk in late June.
Ukraine received support on Thursday when defense ministers of 26 countries, including Britain and Denmark, pledged about $1.55 billion in military aid to Ukraine. Ben Wallace, Britain’s defense secretary, said the aid includes additional multiple missile systems and long-range missiles.
“We are not getting tired,” Mr Wallace said of his country’s continued support for Ukraine.
Morten Bodskov, the Danish defense minister, said his country would not only help with weapons, but also help train soldiers. Mr Bodskov said Denmark’s position on supporting Ukraine is “unshakable”.
Before the aid was announced, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the 26 countries and said that the weapons sent to Ukraine should have “such air force and such range that Russia would be forced to finally think about a peaceful solution.”
The aid, which Mr. Zelensky has repeatedly asked for since the start of the war, came on top of another package from the United States announced earlier this week. The Pentagon said Monday it would send more ammunition in a new shipment of up to $1 billion worth of weapons and supplies. In doing so, the United States has sent more than $9 billion in aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24.
Mr Spencer said maintaining such continued support from Western countries “has taken as much struggle as actually fighting Russian troops, insofar as it has shown the world that they are waging a just war.”
Aid for the country has come not only in the form of aid packages, but also through aid on the ground in the form of partisans, resistance fighters helping the Ukrainian army in Russian-occupied territory.
At least five fighter-bombers and three multi-role jets were “almost certainly destroyed or seriously damaged” in an explosion this week at an air base in Crimea, according to a report by British military intelligence on Friday. Crimea — which Moscow annexed in 2014 — has largely avoided attacks since February, and its base has been far from a recognizable front line.
A senior Ukrainian official said the attacks were carried out with the help of partisans, but the government has not taken responsibility for the attack.