Ukrainian servicemen take rest in a recently retaken village north of Kharkiv, east Ukraine, Sunday, May 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov) (Photo: via Associated Press)
Ukraine might just prevail in its ongoing war against Russia, according to the top Nato official.
Speaking at a Nato meeting on Sunday, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg placed his unwavering faith in Ukraine.
He explained: “Russia’s war in Ukraine is not going as Moscow had planned.
“Russia is not achieving its strategic objectives. Ukraine can win this war.”
While it’s clear that the Kremlin has been falling short of its goals ever since it launched its invasion back in February, it’s remained uncertain whether the Ukrainian resistance was strong enough to fully push Russia back.
Updates from the UK Ministry of Defence have repeatedly suggested that the Russian president Vladimir Putin’s forces are losing morale, troops and equipment as the war drags on – it’s believed Russia has lost around a third of its ground forces in the last three months.
It does still hold the port city of Mariupol but hundreds of Ukrainian troops are still refusing to surrender and are hiding in the steelworks, preventing Putin from claiming complete victory there.
The MoD has also said: “Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days.”
On top of Russia’s failures on the ground, the international ramifications of the invasion will infuriate the Kremlin too.
It’s well-known that one of the reasons Putin invaded Ukraine is out of fear the country could join Nato, as it becomes more aligned with the west – a move which Russia thought could leave it alienated.
However, there have been questions around how the west defines “winning” for Ukraine in the war.
In its most hopeful definition, this would mean pushing Russia out of all Ukrainian land, including the peninsula of Crimea which it annexed in 2014.
Alternatively, the Ukrainian forces could settle with reclaiming all of its land aside from Crimea, or even allow the self-claimed rebel republics Donetsk and Luhansk to stay with Russia.
Last month, Tory MP Tobias Ellwood told Radio 4′s Today programme: “The bigger question, not answered by Nato or indeed us, is what does success look like?
“We are doing enough to prevent Ukraine from losing but not enough to ensure they win.
“So what does our long-term mission objective look like? Is it pushing Russia back to pre-February lines or is it liberating the entire Donbas region? That’s absolutely critical in how we choose to up-arm the Ukrainians.”
There’s also a question mark hanging over whether Putin would actually be willing to give up and pull back from the war without some form of victory.
An intervention from Russia’s ally Belarus could also change the direction the war is currently heading in. The Ministry of Defence explained in its latest update that Belarus is now joining the war effort to distract the Ukrainian advances, and prevent them from reclaiming the Donbas region.
Even so, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised that his country will be safe enough to host Eurovision 2023, following the nation’s victory in the song contest over the weekend.
He said: “Step by step, we are forcing the occupiers to leave the Ukrainian land.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.