The ongoing war in Ukraine has taken another grim turn, revealing the depths of despair and hopelessness among Russian soldiers on the front lines. I have spent, and will continue spending, many hours watching drone footage from the Ukrainian battlefields, where a disturbing development has emerged. Russian soldiers, upon hearing the approach of an FPV drone, are holding unpinned grenades to their heads. If the drone misses, they throw the bombs away; if hit, even with non-fatal injuries, they release the explosives, leading to an instant, gruesome self-inflicted death.

This alarming behavior is an unambiguous indication of an army in crisis – demoralized, leaderless, and drifting. The lack of proper medical care and evacuation protocols have left these soldiers feeling abandoned and without hope. It is a tragic and heart-wrenching sight – a spectacle that stresses the urgent need for continued support for Ukraine in their fight against Russian aggression.

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It is clear the Ukrainians are not facing a motivated, well organized and committed enemy, rather conscripts and unwilling combatants forced into war with no trust in their commanders or their comrades. No doubt as soon as Moscow finds out about this quick exit from the battlefield, it will no longer issue grenades to its pawns of war.

Courage in the face of the keyboard warriors

Amidst this grim reality, self-proclaimed experts with no real-world combat experience, who have probably never fired a weapon in conflict, claim that all is lost for Ukraine. How dare they.

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These armchair generals must step back and listen to those who truly understand the realities of war against Russia – the Ukrainians themselves who are repeatedly asking only for more weapons and ammunition.

To quote Carl von Clausewitz: "Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior." The Ukrainian people have demonstrated this courage in spades, defending their nation with dignity and unwavering resolve. This is in sharp contrast to the keyboard cowards who daily declare Ukraine defeated and without hope for victory.

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I’m not a rainbows-and-sunshine thinker by any stretch of the imagination, but neither am I a defeatist. I realize the Ukrainians are in a dire situation, but history has certainly shown us the importance of standing firm in the face of adversity.

Had England succumbed to the naysayers, or the experts of the day during its darkest hours of World War II, we might all be speaking German now. Ukraine's bravery in the face of Russian aggression is a testament to the indomitable spirit if its people. This is beautifully demonstrated by the heart-warming viral video of a Ukrainian female sharpshooter (well, one might assume she is a sniper given the large high-powered rifle slung over her shoulder). Dressed in combat fatigues, calmly crossing a busy city street to presumably return to the front lines, she greets a passer-by with an indomitable smile and a wave.

Time is ticking

Sun Tzu taught us that "the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." While Russia may appear to have the upper hand on paper, the reality of war is determined on the battlefield where morale and determination can outweigh numerical advantages. Ukraine has proven time and again that its fighters possess the willpower to resist and overcome.

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Now is the time for the international community to redouble its efforts in supporting Ukraine’s Armed Forces. They ask not for soldiers, but for the tools to defend themselves – weapons and ammunition. With these resources, they can continue to push back against Russian aggression and protect their sovereignty.

I would wager that, properly equipped and armed, the Ukrainians would defeat the Russians or, at the very least, stop the invasion in its tracks. Have they not already proved their mettle? Time, however, is running out. As Napoleon put it: “Space we can recover, time never.”

And make no mistake, the stakes could not be higher. A victorious Vladimir Putin, bolstered by his nation's move to a war footing and the mobilization of its industrial might, will only seek to expand his campaign of conquest and subjugation if he were to achieve victory in Ukraine. Those who think otherwise are away with the fairies.

The Western world must stand united in its support for Ukraine, not only for the sake of the Ukrainian people but for the preservation of democracy and the global order which, at the moment, is teetering on the brink.

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The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

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