‘We May Come To An End’: Two Years Into The War, Ukrainian Soldiers Say US Weapons Aid Is Now Life And Death

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Ukrainian soldiers came to D.C. on the eve of the State of the Union Address with one purpose: convince the U.S. to authorize more military aid in their war against Russia. Without more aid, they said, Ukraine was sure to lose.

“Unless we receive that support, we may come to an end,” Yuliia Paievska, a veteran and medic with the Ukrainian Medical Forces Command, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The dire warning from battle-hardened Ukrainian soldiers lined up with the alarming news coverage from the frontlines, as Ukraine is slowing losing ground and being forced to withdraw from key positions on the battlefield. But the soldiers’ pleas for aid clashed with another reality: prolonging an unwinnable war that will likely cost thousands of more lives. (RELATED: Iran Sending Powerful Missiles To Russia After Biden Admin Let Sanctions Expire: REPORT)

“There is no capacity, regardless of whether $60 billion gets sent or not, for Ukraine to win,” retired Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, senior fellow and military expert at Defense Priorities and host of the Daniel Davis Deep Dive show, told the DCNF, underscoring the challenges of a lack of Ukrainian manpower and a bolstered Russian military.

(Photo by SERGEY SHESTAK/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – This still image taken from a footage by AFP shows Ukrainian servicemen firing with a D-30 howitzer at Russian positions near Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on March 21, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by SERGEY SHESTAK/AFP via Getty Images)

There is an ongoing debate as to whether more military and weapons aid could make a difference in Ukraine’s war efforts. Ukraine has taken in over $100 billion in military aid from the international community since the start of the war, including from the U.S. and its NATO and European partners, according to the Kiel Institute.

The aid includes infantry and arms equipment, air defense systems and missiles, artillery units, tanks, tactical vehicles, combat and surveillance drones, and logistics support infrastructure such as radar and satellite services, according to The Council on Foreign Relations.

The Biden administration, which has called on Congress to quickly approve an additional $60 funding package for Ukraine, argues that if aid is not provided to Kyiv and Russia wins the war, Moscow may turn its ire on surrounding NATO member nations. Congress is currently deliberating whether to pass the package.

“I can say that every unit of weapons that was delivered to Ukraine has been 100% useful and helpful,” Ukrainian National Guard 2nd Lt. Dmytro Finashyn, told the DCNF. “What is the cost of metal and gunpowder compared to one human life?  And everybody saw how effective they are. All of that serves us 100%. And we certainly protect those resources very carefully… how can you fight without American weapons? Not so good.”

Ukraine and supporters of the country’s war effort argue that U.S. and international aid has played a pivotal role in bolstering Kyiv’s defenses against Russia’s advances. Russia has spent roughly $200 billion on its war effort and lost hundreds of thousands of troops in the process, only to make slow and small territorial gains since the war started over two years ago.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces members told the DCNF that they believed they could win the war if provided with military aid and cast doubt on the possibility of victory if it is withheld. They argued that it would not have been possible to largely stonewall Russia and make it this far in the conflict had it not been for the aid that was delivered in the earlier phases of the war.

“All I can say is that, after our first initial effort to set back the Russians during the first weeks of the invasion, which we did pretty well, if American assistance had not arrived very timely after that first wave, we would not have withstood bringing them across the country would have vanished,” Paievska told the DCNF. “So we’re very thankful.”

The Ukrainian military members also told the DCNF that a peace settlement is currently out of the question, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin are untrustworthy and will not stop until they have seized Ukraine. Putin needs to face serious consequences from the international community, they said.

“Russians must be held responsible for every crime they committed. You cannot forgive them, [they] raped babies and ruined cities and murdered people,” Paievska told the DCNF. “I was in their captivity — I know that there is no one on that side that we can talk with.”

“There is no question that Ukraine is going to win ultimately,” Oleksandr Batalov, a veteran of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, told the DCNF. “We know this. We have faith in this. [But] as more time passes while somebody is thinking or debating, discussing, considering what assistance should be delivered, and whether and when – that costs more human lives.”

Critics and some lawmakers argue that U.S. military aid has not helped Ukraine make significant advances in its counteroffensive, which has thus far failed to achieve its goals. Much of the aid that’s been received has been spent on the frontlines of the war in Eastern Ukraine, with Kyiv most recently having to withdraw from the city of Avdiivka amid a shortage of men and weaponry.

Since the war began in February 2022, U.S. intelligence indicates that Ukraine has lost an estimated 70,000 troops, according to The New York Times. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in December the military plans to add 500,000 troops to the war effort. (RELATED: Putin Threatens Nuclear War If West Deepens Intervention In Russia-Ukraine War)

(Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

Ukrainian Military Forces servicemen of the 92nd mechanized brigade use tanks, self-propelled guns and other armored vehicles to conduct live-fire exercises near the town of Chuguev, in Kharkiv region, on February 10, 2022. – Russia’s deployment for a military exercise in Belarus and on the borders of Ukraine marks a “dangerous moment” for European security, NATO’s chief said on February 10, 2022. (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s not like they’re just teetering between victory and failure, and we just need a little bit more to get them over so that they can go to victory. They are on the downhill slide and there is no recovery from it,” Davis told the DCNF. “If we give $60 billion it might delay [a loss] a little bit, but it won’t change it.”

Russia’s military-industrial complex is in first gear and producing munitions, weapons and equipment at a swift rate. Moscow has also started relying more heavily on air forces to work in concert with its ground operations, something Ukraine hopes to do in the coming months.

“The Russian side’s industrial complex is cranking at full speed, 24/7… stuff is rolling off assembly lines,” Davis told the DCNF.

Davis said the vision for the end of a war should be a peace agreement brokered between Ukraine and Russia. Such a proposition has reportedly been privately considered by the Biden administration.

“They need to do a negotiated settlement as rapidly as possible to bring the killing and destruction to an end,” Davis told the DCNF. “Give Ukraine enough money to try their best and hold a lot of where they are, as long as that is concurrent with the public desire in an attempt to negotiate an end to the war.”

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