Continued Support for Ukraine Is Fading

Zelensky is now tasked with carrying forward a war that many believe has limited chances of victory.

By Philip Giraldi

You are feted by Washington’s most celebrated and powerful and featured as Time magazine’s Man of the Year. You return home in triumph bearing pledges of tens of billions of dollars in support for your war against a feared and hated invader. But a year later, everything looks a lot different with all the backslappers and glad handers curiously unwilling to get together to talk strategy. You are angry and show it, leaving with little more than a lot of promises that you know to be empty. When you get home, you realize that the end is coming. What a difference a year makes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky!

The decline and fall of Zelensky has been detailed in a lengthy Time magazine article entitled “‘Nobody Believes in Our Victory Like I Do.’ Inside Volodymyr Zelensky’s Struggle to Keep Ukraine in the Fight”, the same journal that was celebrating him over a year ago. The article is extraordinary in terms of what it reveals about the inner workings of the Ukrainian war effort. It was written by Simon Shuster, a Time journalist who covered Zelensky’s visit to Washington and New York in September and then returned with the president back to Ukraine for follow-up interviews and inquiry. Shuster was given extraordinary access both to Zelensky for in depth interviews and to Ukrainian senior officers and other officials and he was able to enter into frank exchanges about what was happening to the country, its army and its government as the war continues well into its second year with winter weather looming and doubts surfacing about NATO and US continuing support for Kiev.

The tale begins with Zelensky’s planned visit to Washington after his stop in New York City to attend the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. Zelensky’s actual message to the General Assembly was not quite so incendiary and impulsive as some of his other interactions while on his visit, but he offered little new. He reportedly received an obligatory “warm welcome” from those in attendance, but “he delivered his address to a half-full house, with many delegations declining to appear and listen to what he had to say.” He warned those present that “The goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into a weapon against you, against the international rules-based order. We have to stop it. We must act united to defeat the aggressor.” Zelensky did go overboard when he referred to Russia and Russians as “evil” and as “terrorists” and accused them of carrying out a “genocide” against Ukraine.

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Zelensky’s frustrations spilled over in Washington on the following day where he met both with President Joe Biden and with some members of Congress and also dropped by the Pentagon and left flowers at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington Virginia. But Congressional leaders refused to let Zelensky deliver a public address on Capitol Hill and aides who tried to arrange in-person appearances for him on Fox News and in an interview with Oprah Winfrey were rebuffed. His meeting at the White House with the president did go relatively well with the announcement of a new aid package in the works including “significant air defense capabilities,” and, according to one report, some of the much sought after ATACMS long range missile systems. The White House also presented Zelensky with a list of anti-corruption reforms that were essential for the continuance of US aid, which was less welcome. Nevertheless, in spite of the lip service pledge of continuing support, to his evident disappointment, Zelensky was not given a hero’s welcome like he received last year. He met privately with Kevin McCarthy, speaker of the House, and several other GOP hawks who will be instrumental in approving any aid, as well as with Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer who promised to be “in his corner.” McCarthy boldly asked what Zelensky needed to win the war and to provide lawmakers with “a vision of a plan for victory.” Zelensky asked for more weapons and aid and warned that without aid “We will lose!” Nevertheless, it seems that many conservative Republicans and some progressive Democrats were fed up with the war and are concerned over the lack of accountability combined with the all too evident notoriously high level of corruption within the Ukrainian government.

Phil Giraldi (fmr. CIA) : Support for Ukraine is Collapsing

Shuster picks up the narrative at an event in Washington, where Volodymyr Zelensky was running late because the meetings at the White House and the Pentagon had delayed him by more than an hour, and when he finally arrived to begin his speech at the National Archives at 6:41 pm, he was clearly nervous and upset at the delay. His speech was in front of an audience that included congressional leaders and top officials from the Biden Administration. It was the major planned event of the visit, an opportunity to strengthen US support against Russia, but it did not go as planned with the Ukrainian president acting as though he wanted to “get it over with.”

Zelensky later told Shuster that he was experiencing frustration over his inability to convince his audience that Ukraine could win the war against Russia, albeit with considerable help. “Nobody believes in our victory like I do. Nobody,” he said. Making the case “takes all your power, your energy. You understand? It takes so much of everything.” He expanded on his concerns, observing that “The scariest thing is that part of the world got used to the war in Ukraine. Exhaustion with the war rolls along like a wave. You see it in the United States, in Europe. And we see that as soon as they start to get a little tired, it becomes like a show to them: ‘I can’t watch this rerun for the 10th time.’”

Indeed, opinion polls suggest that public support for the Ukraine war is sinking both in the US and in Europe. The highly promoted spring offensive by the Ukrainian Army has produced little in the way of territorial gains coupled with large losses in manpower and materiel. No one, not even Joe Biden, really sees victory just over the horizon, and the outbreak of war in Israel-Gaza means that the world’s attention will now be shifting to what is going on in the Middle East.

Shuster spoke with high level Ukrainian officials, all of whom noted that Zelensky had returned from the US a changed man. One said that he was “Angry” all the time while another member of the inner circle said “Now he walks in, gets the updates, gives the orders, and walks out” and still another described how “Most of all, Zelensky feels betrayed by his Western allies. They have left him without the means to win the war, only the means to survive it.”

This has left a stubborn Zelensky with a by now unrealistic belief that Ukraine can still win the war. One adviser opined that “He deludes himself. We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.” Zelensky flatly refuses to even consider entering into talks with the Russians to end the conflict and will not waver on conceding any Ukrainian territory to Moscow, a deal breaker. Zelensky claims to continue to fight because he honestly believes that if the Russians are not stopped in Ukraine, the war will spread. He told Shuster “I’ve long lived with this fear. A third world war could start in Ukraine, continue in Israel, and move on from there to Asia, and then explode somewhere else.” He thought that that was his core message in Washington: “Help Ukraine stop the war before it spreads, and before it’s too late.”

Zelensky is also facing trouble at home, where severe damage to some infrastructure will make for a miserable Christmas that he will be blamed for. And also there are reports of officers refusing to send their men on the offensive due to lack of weapons and high casualty rates but Zelensky insists the war will continue into the winter in an effort to rally foreign supporters. One adviser commented that even if the weapons flow were to increase “we don’t have the men to use them.” Men are now being drafted in their 40s and 50s and some new conscripts are even older than that being swept up off the street by something like press gangs. Government ministers and generals, including inner circle Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov, who have been perceived as reluctant to prosecute the war or too corrupt have been fired and it is expected that there will be more dismissals as the conflict grows more dismal in winter conditions.

To satisfy Washington by combatting corruption, Zelensky reportedly issued a guideline which was described by a staffer as “Don’t buy anything. Don’t take any vacations. Just sit at your desk, be quiet, and work.” In early October, a top presidential adviser asked Shuster to turn off his recording device so he could speak freely before saying that in spite of the pressure to reform “People are stealing like there’s no tomorrow.” Shuster’s article identifies several other examples of top-level corruption in the Ukrainian government that have not been addressed by the government.

In an effort to turn around the many problems confronting Zelensky, he pulled what he considered to be a shrewd move by contacting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and suggesting a visit to Israel to express solidarity in the war against Hamas. Netanyahu refused, reportedly saying “The time is not right!” but later changed his mind and Zelensky will be allowed to visit possibly by the end of November. Joe Biden was more forthcoming in a bid to help Ukraine by bundling $60 billion in aid into a package that also included $14.5 billion for Israel in the belief that anything for Israel would certainly fly through Congress with the money for Ukraine attached. As of this writing, the Republicans have sought to separate the two packages of aid and Zelensky told Shuster that he was pessimistic about the matter due to the politics in Washington.

Shuster’s article concludes with “…faced with the alternative of freezing the war or losing it, Zelensky sees no option but to press on through the winter and beyond. ‘I don’t think Ukraine can allow itself to get tired of war,’ he says. ‘Even if someone gets tired on the inside, a lot of us don’t admit it.’ The President least of all.”

Nevertheless, Zelensky knows exactly what is happening and one suspects he will be pulling the plug and retiring to one of his seven or so estates in Israel, Switzerland, Italy, and Florida where he will establish his bully pulpit and continue to complain that he was stabbed in the back by NATO and Washington. It was a war that should never have been fought in the first place and if Zelensky had been smarter before it began he would have found in Vladimir Putin a man who was willing to deal and who would have made efforts to avoid a war between the two nations that in reality have so much in common.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is Via The Unz Review

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Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.






16 responses to “Continued Support for Ukraine Is Fading”

  1. paul edwards Avatar

    Zelensky has always been a venal, crooked, unprincipled jerk but those are not criminal offenses. What has been criminal is the American Empire’s sick, cowardly promotion of a totally unwarranted mini-war for the sole purpose of harassing, provoking, and threatening Russia by proxy, enlisting this sorry clown to pursue the total destruction of his pathetic country for what our stupid, arrogant government and its owners consider the way to retain its bullying hegemony over the entire world. They are too steeped in their own rotten Capitalist dogma to deal with the fact that the vaunted American Century lasted fifty years and has long been over. They need a nuclear war to make it clear, and they’re likely to get it.

    1. NINA FLANNERY Avatar

      Odds are not good. Shattering.

  2. Woopy Avatar

    One thing we know for sure is that the Ukraine debacle was never Zelenski’s war. Zelensky ran on a platform of peace for his presidency. He was recruited by Victoria newland, John McCain and other neocons to fight Russia. Following the United States attack on the legitimate government of Ukraine, Ukrainians begin attacking ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine and the war began. This was all at the beck and call of the US and its neocons. Zelenski was a little puppy dog following along wagging his tail collecting the money. Zelensky must be a billionaire 10 times over by now from the US taxpayer dollars. Janet Yellen, Secretary of the treasurer even flew over and personally handed him a check for 3 billion. The war was lost by the neocons and their puppy several months ago but Zelenski keeps on wagging his tail for more money.

  3. help! Avatar

    yes, of course, we should be happy that the big bully is winning. yes, the little scrawny kid in the schoolyard put up a good fight, but now it is clear he is stronger so let’s let him win and go home. why not. we do not care that it is wrong for the big bully to overpower the little kid and take his lunch money. if he can get it done more power to him.

    1. Sam Avatar

      Yes, which is the case with the Israeli Jews and the Palestinians.

      1. help! Avatar

        yes, but while the folks here see that israel is the bully they keep justifying putin’s illegal aggression against ukraine. they keep spouting putin’s talking points about how ukraine is fascist and how putin is protecting the poor russian speakers of ukraine. russian dominated in ukraine. but still all you hear on this site is that the poor poor russian speakers need to be defended so let’s brutalize all of ukraine

    2. braithwa842 Avatar

      Your narrative only works on readers that exist in complete ignorance because they got their information only from the main stream media.

      Which scrawny kid are you referring to? The Russians who stood up to the USA and won?

      Or are you referring to the Ukraine, whose democratically elected government was overthrown by the USA in 2014 and replaced with a Nazi regime and made to fight the Russians?

      The Ukraine did not officially enter NATO. Instead, NATO entered the Ukraine. The Ukraine army was trained and armed by NATO to NATO standards from 2014 to 2022. Agreements were made (Minsk accords ratified in the UN) which were trashed by NATO. The agreements were trashed because they were in the way of a war that neocons running the USA wanted. “The Big Bully” wanted a war with Russia using the Ukraine soldiers, and they got it.

      At the end 2021, after 8 years of NATO arming and training, the Ukraine had 100,000 troops and were attacking the Donbas. Russia brought that to an end. In early 2022, agreements between Russia and the Ukraine were made in Istanbul. Of course, peaceful co-existence is not what USA neocons has in mind, and NATO immediately trashed the agreements BECAUSE THEY WANTED THIS WAR!!! This was never a war between the Ukraine and Russia. It was always a war on Russia by the USA using Ukrainians as cannon fodder.

      1. nsakun Avatar

        ukraine desperately wants to join nato because it will be overrun by putin and his russians. nobody is making ukraine join nato. how can this not be obvious to anyone who is willing to be the least bit honest. nato is ukraine’s only chance to stop the russian empire expansion. why do you love empire so much when it is perpetrated by russians? why? you claim you hate empire when practiced by european countries. but all of a sudden when done by russians then it is something wonderful. very strange. unless you are russian??

  4. braithwa842 Avatar

    ““Most of all, Zelensky feels betrayed by his Western allies. They have left him without the means to win the war …”

    Boris Johnston told him to abandon the Istanbul negotiations a year and a half ago because Russia’s collapse would be soon. Had Zelensky kept the agreements he made with Putin, his country would still include the Donbas, but with the Donbas retaining some level of autonomy and 200,000 soldiers would still be alive. I would say that Zelensky probably has some regrets. Did Zelensky believe Blow Jo 100%, or was his faith lubricated with loads of money?

    I would say that ordinary Germans, who were told similar stories, and whose economy is now trashed also have some regrets.

    Its a tragedy.

  5. doug Avatar

    The Americans hired the Ukrainians to fight the Russians, just as Russia hired Wagner to fight the Ukrainians. The underlying strategy was to bleed Russia, which concurrently bled Ukraine. I expect Zelensky to be overthrown and replaced by a high level military official. There may even be a shift towards Russia after the truth sinks in as to how badly the West and NATO used Ukraine for its own devious purposes. With friends like that who needs enemies.

  6. Annoyed guest Avatar
    Annoyed guest

    Why has ICH become a mouthpiece for pro-Russian and pro-Palestinian trolls? This article is merely a sophisticated attempt to reduce support for the Ukraine, when the military situation is a stalemate, as the defense is always too strong. The Ukraine can only win once it gets better weapons, and specifically, planes to gain air superiority. People like Giraldi attempt to torpedo the attempts of the Ukraine to kick out a foreign aggressor. Worse still are the numerous trolls who think that the USA instigated the war, which it clearly did not, not least in view of its relatively tepid response to calls for help from the Ukraine.

    I know nothing of the organization that Mr. Giraldi is a member of, but his very slanted article gives some strong hints.

    1. paul edwards Avatar

      You appear to be an ignorant, propagandized imbecile, which is not a punishable offense but why parade your shame in a public forum?

      1. meechanken Avatar

        You are correct, he is an ignorant, propagandized imbecile.

        1. Sam Avatar

          Paul and Meechanken, resist the temptation and don’t encourage him.

    2. braithwa842 Avatar

      “… who think that the USA instigated the war, which it CLEARLY did not …”

      Clearly it did. Its not as if there was ever any doubt. It not only instigated the war, but it obstructed and prevented every agreement that might have ended the war. This is also not in doubt.

      It overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine in 2014. Nuland’s telephone call exposed this. Nuland publicly boasted about the success of this operation and the use of $1B to make it happen. So there is hardly any doubt about that.

      It is also not in doubt which puppets Nuland put in place. In the exposed telephone call, Nuland insisted that they would put a Nazi minority in power.

      The overthrow of the Ukraine was not complete. Russian parts of the Ukraine, specifically the Donbas, refused to recognize the new puppet regime and the USA began military operations IMMEDIATELY, providing the Ukraine with military hardware, sending a host of military “advisors” to tell the Ukraine military what to do, and training the Ukraine soldiers to NATO standards. The Ukrainian population has become the cannon fodder for a war on Russia by the USA. It has been a tragedy.

      There has been no stalemate over the past two years. Yes, your MSM continually boasted of “winning”, “winning”, “winning”, and now that complete failure is staring them in the face, they are calling it a “stalemate”. The “tepid response” is only now that even the MSM us beginning to realize the full extent of failure.

      There are only two types of people who would say what you said. A paid pen will of course say what it is paid to say. The other type is one who got his or her information ONLY from the lying main stream media, and thus has NO CLUES.

      The latter category of people probably thought Saddam Hussein was threatening the world with weapons of mass destruction, probably thought that Assad was using chemical weapons, and probably thinks that the USA is in Syria to fight ISIS. This is why alternative media is important, and the reason it has expanded. It fills a need amongst people who realize that they are being lied to and want to know the truth.

      Dont be a stranger. You are in the right place to start learning that you have been lied to.

  7. Kevin Fitzmaurice-Brown Avatar
    Kevin Fitzmaurice-Brown

    according to some researchers 175,000 weapons and armoured vehicles has vanished from Ukraine.