US Secretary of State Antony Blinken came a away from a NATO meeting of foreign ministers on Wednesday with the conclusion that the alliance is holding strong on supporting Ukraine, despite the avalanche of negative reports on how Ukrainian forces are fairing on the battlefield.
He told a press briefing there is "no sense of fatigue" among NATO allies and they are remaining firm. "We must and we will continue to support Ukraine," he said following the NATO meeting in Brussels.
His words seemed by design a flat rejection of the avalanche of headlines which go to back to at least the summer which warned of increasing 'war fatigue' among Western publics and among political leadership.
But more specifically there have been echoes of fatigue voiced by NATO countries' top leadership:
In particular, Giorgia Meloni, the Italian prime minister, fell victim to a prank call from a pair of Russian comedians where she acknowledged international "fatigue" over the war in Ukraine.
"There is a lot of fatigue, I have to say the truth, from all the sides," she said.
"The problem is to find a way out which can be acceptable for both, without destroying the international law."
Ms Meloni since said she regretted the comments and that Italy will continue to back Ukraine.
The fact that Blinken now has to address the question of alliance members' fatigue head on is itself very telling. It also comes after the Israel-Gaza conflict has for the past eight weeks dominated the globe's attention. Gone are the days of Zelensky addressing packed out parliaments and Western audiences greeting him as if he's a rock star.
Winter is coming, and the already stalemated front line situation will likely get a lot worse. NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg warned of precisely this in Brussels, saying Russia amassed a large missile stockpile ahead of winter, as cited in Reuters. Other sources have also pointed to Russia's amassing more missiles...
Something to 🚩about Russian activity. I’ve had concerns that the pause in missile launches means they are storing up for large strikes. This week multiple large Shahed strikes at night. Bombers recently resumed shuttling around between bases after a quiet period/1 @konrad_muzyka pic.twitter.com/H5PJM8SHnq— Dara Massicot (@MassDara) November 29, 2023
"It is important that our solidarity with Ukraine is not only demonstrated in words but also in deeds," Stoltenberg continued, arguing that the Western allies must do more. "These are concrete actions, we need more of them and we need sustained and stepped up support."
Both the US and Kiev have meanwhile denied recent and growing reports that Washington is pressuring the Zelensky government behind the scenes to negotiate for ceasefire, which would necessitate territorial concessions. Yet, the US government's own social media accounts strongly suggest otherwise...
The West is now telling Zelensky, more or less explicitly and right out in the open: time to wrap this up. https://t.co/BnjnaejN7e— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 20, 2023
Ukraine is still vowing it "won't back down" and has consistently refused to so much as consider or discuss the prospect of direct peace negotiations so long as President Vladimir Putin is in power.