Bloomberg: “The US is going to be less and less interested in what’s happening in Ukraine”

11:30 28.08.2023 •

Photo: The Trumpet

Ukraine’s allies now worry the war is dragging into a long fight that may strengthen Vladimir Putin’s hand as hopes fade that Kyiv’s forces will deliver a definitive breakthrough this year, Bloomberg notes.

More than two months into its counteroffensive, Kyiv has so far managed to make only tactical advances against heavily dug-in Russian forces, despite having committed many of the units trained and armed by the US and Europe for the operation. The window for further big actions is narrowing as wet and cold weather looms in the autumn.

Ukraine and its allies vow to keep up the fight as long as needed, but officials concede it will be a tall order to repeat the levels of massive support that made the current push possible. Stocks of ammunition in particular are depleted and production in the US and Europe won’t be ramped up until late 2024. F-16 fighters likely won’t arrive until next year, either.

The fight to pass the next funding bill for Ukraine in Congress this fall is expected to be the toughest yet and this week’s Republican presidential candidate debate underlined the growing hostility in the party toward sending weapons and aid to Kyiv.

If fighting grinds to an impasse over the winter, “it’s a really big problem, there’s going to be war fatigue,” said Samantha de Bendern, an associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. “The US is going to be less and less interested in what’s happening in Ukraine and it’s going to be more and more difficult for Europeans to convince the Americans that Ukraine is an American problem.”

Earlier this year, the US and Europe were optimistic about significant progress as they poured armored vehicles, missile systems and other weapons into Ukraine, sending entire units for training in NATO countries. That hope has been replaced with a grudging recognition that even advanced weapons and tactics aren’t enough to rapidly defeat Russia’s massive and still-capable defenses.

The US would have preferred Ukraine stick with concentrated efforts to punch through Russian lines. But without enough air support to suppress Russian defenses, Ukraine would have faced even more punishing losses that would have been difficult to sustain.

And Russia has been successful at ramping up its ammunition and other supplies. It has enough ammunition of various kinds for about a year because they’ve been able to import sanctioned components or substitute them, allowing them to produce at a rate faster than in Europe by adapting and cutting corners, one official said.


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