There is no mistaking the unease in Ukraine as it ends a second year of war with Russia. Gone is earlier optimism over recovering captured territory and ending the war on strong terms. Instead, Ukrainians are facing a difficult year ahead in which battlefield conditions and the international geostrategic environment are all less favourable. And deteriorating domestic conditions are just as worrisome.

The remarkable organic relationship between Ukrainian society and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government since Russia’s invasion began is under strain. That level of support is extraordinary, even unnatural, other than in situations of national emergency. A country with strong regional identities, a history of poor governance and where politicians are held in low public esteem, was brought together by a war of national survival...

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