Ukrainians worry that war fatigue will hurt their cause as attention turns to Gaza

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — When Timofey Postoyuk and his friends created an online fundraising effort for Ukraine, donations poured in from around the world, helping to purchase essential equipment for Ukraine’s armed forces.

As fighting with Russia continued and war fatigue worsened, donations slowed, but money continued to flow steadily. then Israel-Hamas war It broke out on October 7.

As another major conflict begins, news from the Middle East floods social media networks, including X, formerly known as Twitter. “Our fundraising posts and updates get lost among those tweets,” Postoyuk said.

The result has been a broad shift in world attention away from Ukraine and toward the fighting in Gaza – a trend that worries many Ukrainians. They fear that a combination of global fatigue, competing political agendas, and limited resources will reduce aid to their military, hurting the country’s ability to continue its confrontation with Russia.

“The longer we talk about our war, the less people care about it,” said 21-year-old Ivan Mahoryak, who lives in Lviv, western Ukraine. Like many other Ukrainians, he feels as if the world has stopped caring about the issue War in Ukraine Even before Hamas attacked Israel.

He said that fatigue arises from the fact that the dynamics on the ground are much lower than in 2022, when the Ukrainian armed forces were able to fully or partially take control of the region. The Russians were expelled from several regions.

“In some places, the front line is still there. But that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.” His brother, two cousins ​​and many of his colleagues and friends are in the Ukrainian army and continue to fight Russian forces.

FILE – Sunset over a destroyed building in Izyum, Ukraine, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen, File)

FILE - An officer from the Ukrainian 59th Mechanized Brigade controls a drone from a shelter on the outskirts of Donetsk, site of fierce battles with Russian forces, Ukraine, Friday, May 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE – An officer from the Ukrainian 59th Mechanized Brigade controls a drone from a shelter on the outskirts of Donetsk, site of fierce battles with Russian forces, Ukraine, Friday, May 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

This year’s highly publicized counteroffensive, which began in June, has progressed at a much slower pace, with Ukrainian forces still present. Struggling to expel the Russians Who holed up in captured lands. Additional US funding for Ukraine is at risk due to political battles in Washington, where the new war is consuming attention at the highest levels.

Divisions over Ukraine have also emerged in the European Union, which says so It cannot provide all the ammunition it promised. EU summits and other high-level global meetings now tend to do just that Focus on the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

US President Joe Biden was keen to link American support for Israel and Ukraine, saying that both are the same Vital to national security. Biden’s Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, made an official visit to Ukraine on November 8 to show that the United States’ commitment has not wavered.

“The fact that I am here is one way to demonstrate that, in addition to the great interest we have in what is going on in the Middle East, we have greater interest, focus and commitment than ever before,” he said, standing outside St. Michael’s Church in Kiev. Ukraine”.

But many Ukrainians are worried.

President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted to fatigue earlier in November. “A lot of people, of course, in the world are tired,” he said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The war in the Middle East also represents an opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin to take the spotlight away from Ukraine.

Zelensky added: “Of course, Russia is very happy about this war.”

Millions of Ukrainians are burdened with the realization that the war Russia started in their country will not end anytime soon.

“No matter how scary it may seem, I am preparing myself for the fact that this war will continue for the rest of my life,” said Zoya Krasovska, a 34-year-old Lviv resident, who says her greatest fear is that the Allies will entertain her. Resources for other conflicts.

“It’s like receiving a diagnosis of a terminal illness, where you don’t stop living because of it, but you live with the awareness that it’s with you forever,” Krasowska said.

Unlike 2022, when morale was high despite blackouts, disrupted water services and blackouts, this year Ukrainians are facing frustration caused by a sluggish counterattack and a lack of advanced weapons. Domestic politics It became more of a focus.

Postoyuk, development director of the Netherlands-based Road to Ukraine Fund, said the team expects a drop in donations, but not to this extent. Since the war broke out between Israel and Hamas, it takes at least twice as long to raise enough money to buy a car for the army — usually $8,000 to $14,000.

Through their work, they were able to raise approximately $147,000, funds that supported 13 brigades and provided vehicles that included 15 pickup trucks, three SUVs, an ambulance, and a drone.

He said that for the first time in the history of the Fund, donations from inside Ukraine exceeded those received from abroad.

He added, “Ukraine’s war for independence is no longer on the agenda, at least for the time being.”

Ivan Bezdudny, a 26-year-old from Kiev, is consumed by the war in his country. For the past two years, he has been involved in documentation Russian war crimes. Nothing has changed for him personally since the outbreak of war in the Middle East.

He is not afraid that diminishing interest in the war in Ukraine will affect the war in Ukraine for a long time.

He said: “When the wave of interest in Israel and Hamas subsides, and I tend to believe that this will not last long… the level of interest we received will remain.” “Maybe not as high as it was in February or March of last year, but probably higher than it is now.”


Associated Press writers Laurie Hinnant in Paris and Samia Kolab in Kiev, Ukraine, contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage on https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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