One of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s closest aides has told Time Magazine that the Ukrainian leader has deluded himself into thinking Ukraine can win an ultimate victory against Russia after the failed counteroffensive and amid waning support for the conflict in the West.
The report said that despite the setbacks, Zelensky “does not intend to give up fighting or to sue for any kind of peace. On the contrary, his belief in Ukraine’s ultimate victory over Russia has hardened into a form that worries some of his advisers. It is immovable, verging on the messianic.”
Stunning reversal. After naming him person of the year last year, Time magazine now calls Zelensky “deluded” (in the article), lonely, supportless, essentially framing him as a loser.
I.e. The West is starting to understand they’ve lost in Ukraine and they’ll blame it on him. https://t.co/HGvfMryLwT
— Arnaud Bertrand (@RnaudBertrand) October 31, 2023
The aide said Zelensky “deludes himself,” adding, “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.” The report said that the idea of negotiating peace or a temporary truce with Russia remains taboo to Zelensky.
“For us it would mean leaving this wound open for future generations,” Zelensky told Time. “Maybe it will calm some people down inside our country, and outside, at least those who want to wrap things up at any price. But for me, that’s a problem, because we are left with this explosive force. We only delay its detonation.”
A senior Ukrainian military officer told the magazine that the armed forces has had to second guess orders that came from Kyiv’s political leadership, including an order to capture the Donetsk city of Horlivka.
“They don’t have the men or the weapons,” the officer said. “Where are the weapons? Where is the artillery? Where are the new recruits?”
Ukraine is not just running low on weapons to fight the war but also manpower. One of Zelensky’s aides said even if Ukraine’s Western backers supplied all the arms they need, “we don’t have the men to use them.”
The report also detailed the corruption in the Ukrainian government that led to Zelensky’s recent move to sack former Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. The author of the Time story, Simon Shuster, said he naively thought a Ukrainian official would think twice before taking a bribe, but an adviser to Zelensky told him otherwise. “Simon, you’re mistaken,” the adviser said. “People are stealing like there’s no tomorrow.”