West seems to be sick and tired of Ukraine war. “The reality is that the Biden administration’s Ukraine strategy is increasingly being tested by political, policy and resource constraints,” writes ‘Defence News’.
In the weeks and months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his special military operation, the administration was able to tap into the deeply ingrained, justifiable outrage expressed on Capitol Hill to get Ukraine the military assistance it needed to defend itself. About three weeks after the first Russian missiles fell, Congress tacked on $13 billion in emergency aid for Kyiv to the 2022 omnibus. In total, Congress has appropriated $113 billion in aid to Ukraine in four tranches — about 60%, or $67 billion, was earmarked for military assistance.
But what was possible yesterday might not be possible today. Having passed the war’s 18-month mark, a growing crop of lawmakers are questioning whether the U.S. can keep up the current level of support in perpetuity.
Ukraine aid is a major topic of debate within the Republican Party writ large. While GOP congressional leadership remains largely onboard, the rank and file are either opposed to writing more checks or are tying additional aid to more stringent accountability measures such as the formation of a special inspector general.
55% of Americans surveyed by CNN in July said Congress shouldn’t authorize more war funding, while 51% said the U.S. has already done enough for Ukraine.
This year is proving to be far harder and more complicated for Ukrainian troops. The 10-weeklong Ukrainian counteroffensive along three points of the 600-mile front line can best be described as grueling. Anybody who anticipated a replay of the Kharkiv episode set themselves up for disappointment. The days when whole chunks of Ukrainian territory could be reclaimed are likely long gone, replaced with a highly intense combat environment in which those on the offensive reclaim tiny bits of land at a high cost in men and materiel.
While it’s too early to say that Kyiv’s counteroffensive has failed, neither can one assume it will eventually succeed. The U.S. intelligence community is skeptical this can be done this year, if ever.
Biden, therefore, will have to be prepared for a scenario in which Russia’s defensive lines are simply too strong to break through. This is more likely than the full Russian troop withdrawal the Ukrainian government has been aiming for over the last year and a half.
Meanwhile, Europe, which has more of a security imperative in boosting Ukraine’s victory or at least preventing its defeat, should use the time to exhibit primary leadership over this issue.
Tough but necessary choices are around the corner, ‘Defence News’ concludes.
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