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Justin Ling is a freelance investigative journalist who writes the Bug-eyed and Shameless newsletter.

Ukraine’s fight for survival is “pointless,” the Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy declared recently. It is a war happening on some “faraway foreign lands,” Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre shrugged earlier this month. U.S. Senator J.D. Vance suggested the best way to end the war is for Ukraine “to cede some territory to the Russians.”

It’s been a tough few months for Ukraine, and the vultures are swirling. Mr. Ramaswamy is keen to present support for Ukraine as warmongering. Mr. Poilievre has tilted at a Ukrainian trade deal in a quixotic war on carbon pricing. Mr. Vance and his fellow legislators have used Ukrainian military aid as a bargaining chip in Congress.

These feckless politicians, to varying degrees, have all contributed to a growing apathy for Ukraine’s cause. In chasing domestic political gains, they have depressed their supporters’ desire to aid in the fight: Recent polls have shown that only a third of Republicans and Conservatives support continued aid to Ukraine, levels far below their rival partisans. Emboldened, a rump of far-right ideologues in Congress are holding up billions of dollars of aid.

Opposition to the Ukrainian trade deal, a fight against more aid, and calls for Ukraine to volunteer for its own cannibalization have been driven by frustrated progress on the battlefield and political chop-licking at home. It will only get worse in 2024, unless we press these opportunists to reckon with the consequences of surrender.

Earlier in December, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky headed to Washington – taking a break from prosecuting an actual war in order to fight a political one – and was asked whether Ukraine should cede land to end the war.

“We are talking about human beings,” Mr. Zelensky responded. “They are being tortured. They are being raped. And they have been killed. And those voices which offer to give up our territory? They also want to give up our people.”

This isn’t an academic exercise. Russian forces occupied Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, for little more than a month in early 2022. Every day of their presence was hell for the town’s residents. Photos and satellite images show unarmed residents lying dead in the street, their hands tied behind their backs. At least 31 children were killed. At a nearby summer camp, bullet holes mark the walls of a concrete basement: Locals report it was used as a torture chamber. In Kherson, which Russia occupied for roughly seven months, schools were in the process of being converted into pro-Moscow indoctrination camps for youth.

In cities that are still occupied, like Mariupol, the atrocities have continued for nearly two years. Ukrainians are being forced to accept Russian passports, according to the Ukraine Conflict Observatory – if they refuse, they could be detained or, paradoxically, deported to Russia. Their children are being kidnapped en masse, with the Observatory calculating that at least 6,000 youth are in Russia’s custody. While Moscow has tried to cut off these regions from the outside world, reports of rampant war crimes still filter through.

Ukraine’s fight is not for land or glory, but to free hundreds of thousands of people who are enduring the repression and suffering of a military occupation. Any politician looking to capitulate on Ukraine’s behalf should have to answer for what happens to those Ukrainians who are still being held hostage.

More than just cruel indifference, these armchair generals are also just wrong. It’s true that the conflict has ground down into what General Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top commander, calls “positional” warfare. But it is not a stalemate.

Born out of necessity and survival, Ukraine has achieved some remarkable technological innovations on the battlefield. It has built autonomous naval vehicles. It has figured out how to run complex tactical manoeuvres, informed by off-the-shelf drones and satellites. It has faced an onslaught of some of the world’s most advanced missiles and managed to defend its skies.

But Ukraine continues to need our help. It has been forced to ration NATO-standard 155mm shells, as Russia resupplies its own artillery systems with North Korean and Iranian ammunition. Unfathomably large minefields pockmark occupied Ukraine. Kyiv needs more tanks, more shells, more money, more everything.

No nation has done enough. But at least the levels of support delivered by U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have given Ukraine the ability to make marginal gains while it figures out how to break out of this positional conflict. They need to be nudged into doing more, not less. Some Conservatives want to step up, more concerned with principle than political expediency. James Bezan, the Tory defence critic, has been considerably more supportive of Kyiv than his Leader. A bipartisan delegation arrived at the Halifax Security Forum this November, and vowed to continue fighting to get Ukraine what it needs.

But we must hound those who put their own political fortune ahead of Ukraine’s survival. That means you, Mr. Poilievre.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the city of Sumy was currently occupied by Russia.

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