Nato appears to have abandoned hopes of a Ukrainian victory. Speaking in Norway, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg’s chief of staff, Stian Jenssen, said that a peace deal might involve Kyiv ceding territory to Russia in return for Nato membership.
His comments sparked fury in Ukraine, and rightly so. While Jenssen later apologised for the way he had expressed his views, he did not retract them. Stoltenberg’s subsequent insistence that peace talks will happen on Kyiv’s terms will not have quashed suspicions that Jenssen has revealed how the West really sees the war.
A recent US intelligence assessment indicated that Kyiv’s counteroffensive will fail to achieve its objective of cutting Russia’s land corridor to Crimea. The gloomy conclusion drawn by some is that despite ongoing offensives by both Russia and Ukraine, neither side will make gains of strategic significance.
The answer to this apparent stalemate is not to pressure Ukraine into conceding Russian annexation of its land, but to change the facts on the ground. That can only be done by redoubling efforts to supply Kyiv with sufficient combat resources to drive Russia out, if not this year then next.
Yet two years after the ignominious retreat from Afghanistan, the West seems again to be