Today a critical point in the war, as economic pain from the conflict ripples around the world and Russia’s military advances slow down, with both sides exhausted after five months of bloody fighting. Rising energy and food prices, coupled with the prospect of a Russian natural-gas shutdown this winter, are threatening to push Europe into recession, testing Western resolve just as Moscow seeks to divide the Western alliance.
Recent shipments of U.S. and allied weapons, particularly the Himars multiple-launch rocket systems and 155 mm howitzers, have helped to blunt Russia’s offensive in Donbas and stabilize the situation there, Mr. Zelensky said. The Russians used to fire 12,000 artillery shells daily against 1,000 to 2,000 by Ukraine, he said. Now, he added, Ukraine can fire some 6,000 shells a day while Russia is beginning to feel a shortage of ammunition and troops.
Any cease-fire that allows Russia to keep Ukrainian territories seized since the invasion in February would only encourage an even wider conflict, giving Moscow a badly-needed opportunity to replenish and rearm for the next round, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned.
“Freezing the conflict with the Russian Federation means a pause that gives the Russian Federation a break for rest,” Mr. Zelensky said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “They will not use this pause to change their geopolitics or to renounce their claims on the former Soviet republics.”
But it is a matter of values. Diplomatic concessions to Moscow today might stabilize the markets somewhat, but would only provide a temporary respite and boomerang in the future.