As the fourth month of the war rages on in Eastern Ukraine, both the Ukrainian and Russian forces have been suffering from morale issues, plaguing their ability to achieve their respective war goals. Recent western intel revealed that some Ukrainian troops have deserted from their units while Russia has its own well-documented problems preventing its troops from running away from the fighting in Ukraine as well

The British Ministry of Defense has recently published an intelligence assessment that claims combat units from both sides are “committed to intense combat in the Donbas and are likely experiencing unstable morale.” They report that Ukrainian forces have “likely suffered desertions in recent weeks,” showing that the Ukrainian willpower to defend their territory could be waining.

While the Ukrainian Government will not admit to having morale issues, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent moves give us a look into the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ collective morale.

During his Father’s Day message last Sunday, Zelensky emphasized the role of fathers and protecting their children for the sake of the future. Scenes and photographs of parents and children during the war were presented during the video message, with Zelensky indicating that all fathers are fighting for their children’s future.

“Being a father is a great responsibility and a great happiness,” Zelensky wrote on Instagram. “It is strength, wisdom, motivation to go forward and not to give up,” urging his men not to give up the fight against the Russians and endure the war for the sake of the future of their children, families, and the entirety of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visiting a hospital in Mykolaiv (Kyle Orton). Source:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visiting a hospital in Mykolaiv (Kyle Orton/Twitter)

Other than this message doubling down on the role of fathers, President Zelensky has frequently been on the move, visiting the frontlines in the south and the east. In a separate SOFREP report, Zelensky made a rare trip from Kyiv to Mykolaiv and Odesa, where he would spend time with the Ukrainian troops and award them with medals. There, inspected damaged buildings and met with local officials and health workers. Mykolaiv is just 62 miles (100 km) northwest of Kherson, where Ukrainian forces are slowly advancing in an attempt to liberate the city from Russian control.

“It is important that you are alive. As long as you live, there is a strong Ukrainian wall that protects our country. I want to thank you from the people of Ukraine, from our state, for the great work you are doing, for your impeccable service,” Zelensky says.

In recent weeks, he also visited Kharkiv to uplift the troops’ morale. But unfortunately, Kharkiv is also one of the places where fighting had been raging on despite the focus of the action remaining in Severodonetsk.