Americans grow numb as war in Ukraine drags on past 1-year mark

One year in, attention to stories around the war in Ukraine has mostly flatlined in the U.S., suggesting Americans are no longer gripped by the storylines that shocked them at the war's outset last February.

Why it matters: The interest from Americans mirrors the progress on the ground in Ukraine, where Russian forces continue to bombard the eastern part of the country, but to no clear end.

Details: Interest in the war spiked last March when it became clear that Russia's offensive would have a major impact on geopolitics and the global economy.

  • At the beginning of April, the horrors of the war began to be truly exposed, most notably in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where mass graves and the bodies of civilians strewn in the streets were found after Russian forces retreated.

State of play: Since then, major shifts in the war caused minor surges in U.S. traffic to news stories, according to data from Memo, a media monitoring platform.

  • In May, the evacuation of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol drove incremental spikes in interest in stories about the war.
  • In September, the start of Russian mobilization efforts and the announcement that Russia would annex four regions in eastern Ukraine also drove a spike in attention to the war.

Be smart: Similar news consumption patterns can be observed on other channels.

  • Social media interactions with stories about the war plummeted after September and have remained relatively low, with the exception of a small spike in the past week around one-year anniversary stories about the war, per social media analysis company NewsWhip.
  • On television, networks have remained committed to covering the war, but they've run into viewer fatigue.

What to watch: Military analysts are bracing for a potential spring offensive by Russian forces, which could prompt more attention to the war again.

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