When Russia invaded in February 2022, the courage, determination and skill of Ukrainian fighters quickly captured imaginations in Europe and the US. Once Russian forces were forced to abandon plans to win a decisive victory, Western leaders moved to help Kyiv. From the beginning, US and European officials worked hard to avoid an expansion of the war to bring Nato into direct conflict with Russia, but Western military, financial and humanitarian assistance began to flow in increasingly impressive volumes.

But 21 months of war have now made clear that Ukraine can’t post a quick victory either. Russian forces still occupy about 18% of Ukraine’s territory, and though threats to other parts of the country have been limited to missile and drone attacks, Ukraine’s much-anticipated counteroffensive has failed to change the war. In occupied Ukraine and in Moscow, Russians have dug in for a war of attrition that Putin believes his forces are better equipped than Ukraine to endure. ..

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