The TIME publishes an article of Suriya Jayanti, an Eastern Europe energy policy expert. She served for 10 years as a U.S. diplomat, including as the Energy Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, and as international energy counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She is currently the Managing Director of Eney, a U.S.-Ukrainian decarbonization company.
“It has been said that, given how massively Ukrainian troops were believed be outmatched early in Russia’s invasion, not losing the war is itself a form of victory for Ukraine. The difference between expectations and the surprising resilience of Ukraine’s military makes it easy to misinterpret the current situation in Ukraine’s favor. But not winning is still not winning. Ukraine is in far worse shape than commonly believed and needs, and will continue to need, a staggering amount of aid and support to actually win.
We love an underdog. We love a plucky little guy who beats the odds. It fuels hope for our ordinary selves and allows us to feel we are on the morally superior side. This is why Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed so successfully to the world. His defiance against the odds gave us someone to root for against a bully. While cheering on the scrappy, outmatched Ukrainians, we could also assuage some of our shame at leaving them - to whom we had made promises of protection, “security guarantees” - to die alone in the snow and the mud.
Unfortunately, Zelensky’s leadership and the outpouring of international military and humanitarian assistance it has elicited have not prevented a shocking level of destruction to Ukraine’s cities, economy, and society. The fact that Kyiv has not fallen and Russian troops have retreated to the east masks that Ukraine is in worse shape than portrayed in the media.
Ukraine needs more than symbols, and more than weapons. Not losing is not winning, and it will take a long and deep commitment by the western world to help Ukraine both win and then heal”, - writes the author.