Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has warned that Ukraine would have “a week left to live” if the country’s Western partners stopped the delivery of weapons. Speaking at the annual Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi on October 5, Putin claimed Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russia’s ongoing invasion was entirely dependent on the support of the West, and gave a clear indication of what would happen to the country if this support was no longer forthcoming. “Imagine if supplies stopped tomorrow. They would have a week left to live until ammunition was exhausted,” he stated.

Putin’s chilling comments come at a time when the future over Western military aid for Ukraine is the subject of discussion on both sides of the Atlantic. The United States, which has been the largest single supplier of arms since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began almost twenty months ago, is currently embroiled in a bitter domestic political battle that includes divisions over a proposed new multi-billion dollar weapons package for Ukraine. In Europe, the debate is focused on stuttering efforts to increase armament production as existing stockpiles run low amid the largest European conflict since World War II.

With no end in sight to the war, Putin’s warning underlines the genocidal objectives of Russia’s invasion and importance of continued international support for Ukraine. A growing number of politicians and academics have already publicly acknowledged that the Russian invasion is an act of genocide. In a September 2023 interview, Yale historian Timothy Snyder argued that most people in the West are actually well aware Russia is guilty of committing genocide in Ukraine, but claimed many remain deeply reluctant to say so as this would oblige them to intervene more decisively. Putin’s latest comments now leave little room for doubt over the fate that would await Ukrainians if the international community decided to end deliveries of military aid.

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