A funeral procession leaves the church of the military garrison of St. Peter and St. Paul in Lviv to cross the central square of Rynok on its way to the old Lychakiv cemetery. People come out of cafes and their offices, some kneel, to pay tribute to a soldier who lost his life while trying to stop the Russian advance and prevent more death and destruction. The deceased soldier is Artemiy Dymyd, 27 years oldfrom the ancient family of teachers, priests and artists.

He liked to travel, he jumped from country to country with ease: “One day I was in Mexico riding a motorcycle, the next day I was in France”remembers his brother. When Russia invaded Ukraine, he was in the United States. She didn’t hesitate for a minute. He immediately bought a bulletproof vest and got on a flight to enlist in the Army and help protect the country from him. Artem was killed by a Russian mine near Donetsk few days ago. At her funeral, after singing the last lullaby to her son, her mother insists on the need to keep fighting: “It’s liberty or death for us!”

His words are a fitting reminder for Ukrainians who are feeling the brunt of psychological, physical and financial stress. Hundreds of thousands of newly recruited soldiers are leaving for the front lines, a third of all businesses have ceased to function, tens of thousands of people have lost their homes, while many families remain separated with millions of children and women refugees abroad.

As images of the deceased flood the media and social networks, the initial burst of adrenaline and enthusiasm after Russia was detained in northern Ukraine has subsided. Society has begun to question some actions of his leadership. Doubts arise as to whether more could have been done in the south of the country to prevent the capture of Kherson and the rapid encirclement of Mariupol.

Still, all eyes are on maintaining the enormous effort to repel Russian aggression. Ukrainians feel that they simply have no choice but to continue fighting. “The price of freedom is high. It is very difficult, because the enemy has the advantage in artillery. But every meter of land occupied by the invader is flooded with his blood”insists the Ukrainian military top Valerii Zaluszhnyi in his Telegram account.

The volunteer military doctor, Daria, tells LA RAZÓN that she trusts Zaluzhnyi: ”He is our superman. We repel the Russian occupiers in the north both because of the courage of the troops and because of the decisions of the command.” He adds, “of course we would not like to fight until the last drop of blood, we want to save the most important thing we have, our life. Neverthelessif we are offered peace on enemy terms, no one will agree. It would mean defeat and harassment over the years, as in Bucha or Irpin. Now the Ukraine is a wall between the Russian orcs and Europe. We have no right to be afraid of them.”

Military analyst Mykola Bielieskov is sure that, given all the circumstances, the Ukrainian Army has done everything possible. It has destroyed the myth of a powerful Russian Army, inflicting heavy damage to the east and repelling the advance near Kyiv and Kharkiv. Bielieskov insists on his blog: “It’s a miracle how well we fight given that we can only fire 5-6,000 artillery shells a day, while the enemy fires 10 times more.”

The war in Ukraine has seen the largest battles in Europe since World War II, but it’s more akin to World War I trench warfare, with its slow, drawn-out artillery duels and limited breakthroughs. Drones and reconnaissance units pick targets and direct artillery fire. Artillery moves quickly to avoid detection by the enemy. Infantry and tanks advance only if the enemy is destroyed by shelling. Both sides use planes and aviation to attack enemy positions. Russia continues to strike missile targets throughout Ukraine, while Ukraine has begun hitting targets deeper into Russian-controlled territories.

Нарубали москалів |  Cut down the muscovites

Bielieskov’s and many Ukrainians’ main fear is that the status quo will continue much longer with Russia keeping territories in the south and east under control and slowly eroding the Ukrainian military and infrastructure. They’re afraid that international attention is turning away from domestic concerns amid rising prices and Russian pressure on energy exports. With Ukrainian ports blocked and millions of people abroad, its economy would be strangled.

Still, 93% of Ukrainians believe they can win this war. To do this, their defiance and courage must be matched with many more weapons than they have already obtained from their Western partners. The chances of anything changing in Russia, with its tight control over media and social life as well as its belligerent anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western rhetoric, are slim. What will determine the course of the war will be whether the free world continues to support Ukraine.