Patrick J. O Brien

With Ukraine in peril, Zelenskyy pleads for aid!


The last few weeks have been unlike any we have seen before in the Ukrainian Russian conflict.  Russia has launched a deliberate and devastating series of attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, taking advantage of gaps and shortages in Ukraine’s air defences systematically targeted nearly every single power plant in the country. Just on guided bombs alone, Ukrainians have reported 7,000 in four months, which is about 16 guided bombs a day. And this constant shelling in the east is part of Putin’s strategy, 

To have witnessed firsthand the insurmountable suffering and destruction caused by this war whilst reporting from Ukraine, a war which has seen millions of people, many of whom are women, children, fleeing leaving everything behind is not for all. These families are in limbo as they try to figure out their next move, starting over in a new place or returning to uncertainty or possibly danger. People are facing uncertainty as the conflict continues. The numbers are staggering, six million people are internally displaced,10 million people have fled Ukraine, and 15 million people need humanitarian assistance. The residual effects of the conflict, mental health challenges, wage losses, family separation impact both those who have fled and those who remain. 

Although there has been unimaginable suffering, we have also witnessed the true power of humanity at a time when people need it most. Across Ukraine and surrounding countries where people have fled, humanitarian networks have been working around the clock to address the needs of those impacted.  

In front-line towns and villages, people have exhausted their meagre resources and rely on aid to survive. In the Donetsk and Kharkiv Regions, families shelter in damaged houses with no piped water, gas or electricity. Constant bombardments force people to spend their days in basements. Children cannot play outside, let alone attend school. 

“Every day Russian terrorists cut off power to Kharkiv and other cities, and every day we hear that new aid is coming soon. The reality must finally match the words, and Russian terror’s real losses must be ensured,” Zelenskiy told a news conference in Vilnius after a summit of Central European leaders. Zelenskyy thanked U.S. political leaders last week for approving an aid package to Ukraine , saying the new aid will give the country a chance at “victory” as it defends itself from Russia. 

Zelensky is trying to keep his country’s long and largely stalemated defense against Russia on the minds of political leaders, as Israel’s war with Hamas, which passed the 100-day mark, has siphoned off much of the world’s attention and sparked concerns about a wider conflict in the Middle East. “Anyone thinks this is only about us, this is only about Ukraine, they are fundamentally mistaken,” he said “Possible directions and even timeline of a new Russian aggression beyond Ukraine become more and more obvious.” 

“Putin embodies war” and will not change, he said. While lashing out at Putin for mass deportations, leveling cities and “the terrifying feeling that the war may never end,” he also offered pointed criticism for a world that told him not to escalate tensions ahead of Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022. 

“I think this support will really strengthen the armed forces, I pray, and we will have a chance at victory if Ukraine really gets the weapons system, which we need so much, which thousands of soldiers need so much,” stated Zelenskyy 

From my own point of view Ukraine is bracing for a long war. The question is can the country ensure that Western aid keeps flowing as the fight extends into 2024 and possibly beyond, well that remains to be seen. Vladimir Putin is openly preparing his country for a long war and is encouraged by mounting signs of weakness among Ukraine’s Western allies. To defeat the Kremlin dictator and end the threat posed by resurgent Russian imperialism, Ukraine and its international partners must stop thinking in terms of individual offensives and adopt a more long-term approach to this historic task. For the exhausted Ukrainian artillery gunners holding off Russian forces near the eastern town of Kupiansk, the U.S. aid package expected to finally pass this week is a lifeline and, potentially, a gamechanger, although that could take some time.



About the Author
Patrick J O Brien is an acclaimed journalist and Director of Exante who has been working in the media for almost 25 years. Patrick who hails from Ireland is based in Malta and a contributor to some of the world’s leading financial and political magazines. Recently he returned from Ukraine where he was reporting at ground level on the escalation of war and spent time documenting the work of the Red Cross and many human right organisations