Regarding Ukraine, the mood at this year’s Munich Security Conference was gloomy. Here, Michał Baranowski argues that Ukraine’s allies can act to help prevent the feared scenarios from being realized.

Two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, many NATO leaders worry not only that Ukraine is not faring well, but also that Russia could reconstitute its forces and attack a NATO member state directly. The mood at this year’s Munich Security Conference was doom and gloom. But are these negative scenarios justified? Is the West helpless to avert a catastrophic outcome?

Much has been said about the drivers of the darkest scenarios: gridlock in the US Congress starving Ukrainian forces of crucial ammunition, Donald Trump’s statement undermining the credibility of US commitment to European defense, Russia’s faster-than-expected reconstitution of  military capabilities, and the recent tactical pull-back of Ukrainian forces from Avdiivka. We know all this. We cannot and should not dismiss these trend drivers, but trends do not necessarily become outcomes. And perhaps more importantly, positive developments are receiving insufficient attention, leaving the Western community in a strategic stupor that risks inaction—or worse, leads some to conclude that it is time to push Ukraine to sue for peace.

What, then, is going well? While the focus has been on the land war, Ukraine has been making huge strides in the maritime domain. Ukraine has built an A2/AD (anti-access/area denial) bubble over the northwestern Black Sea, allowing it to restart exports. This was possible because Kyiv received long-range missiles, especially Storm Shadow cruise missiles, and also because of inteligence sharing. These capabilities, along with unmanned maritime drones, allowed Ukrainian forces to push the Russian navy into the eastern Black Sea and to sink vessels such as the Tsezar Kunikov, one of nearly two dozen Russian warships that Ukraine has destroyed since the beginning of the war. And all this without a navy.

On land, Russia is suffering huge losses of personnel and equipment. It has lost well over 300,000 soldiers since the beginning of the war. In the siege of Avdiivka alone, Russia has lost more men than it lost in its war in Afghanistan. These losses are outpacing recruitment, and training and equipment are also a problem. While it is true that Russia’s military production has exceeded Western predictions, the country is losing these new capabilities faster than it is able to produce them.

All this is to say that Russia is not ten feet tall. It will face significant difficulties, especially in the long term. But for Ukraine, getting to the long term requires surviving the short term. The West understands what is at stake, and that it needs to double down on military support for Ukraine in its fight for transatlantic security. The time is now. The scenario of a war coming to NATO’s borders is frightening, but whether it comes about depends on us in the West.