After the failure of the initial invasion, the friends of the Ukrainian people and the supporters of their right to defend themselves against Mr Putin’s aggression assumed that it would be possible for the Ukrainians to recover their stolen territory reasonably quickly and declare the war over. Ukrainian morale was so high and the condition of the Russian military so poor that such optimism seemed justified.
All through 2023, hopes were invested in the Ukrainian counteroffensive, but they have not been realised. The war has settled into a defensive battle over entrenched front lines that can be moved, slowly, only at great cost in lives and materiel.
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