Russian gains push White House to revisit some ‘red lines’

10:04 03.06.2024 •

Photo: Washington Post

To combat Russia’s advances in Ukraine, President Biden is considering two tough new countermeasures: punishing China for supplying key technology to Moscow and lifting limits on Ukrainian use of U.S. short-range weapons to attack inside Russia, writes ‘The Washington Post’.

These moves would represent a significant escalation of Biden’s carefully calibrated policy of supporting Ukraine while seeking to avoid direct confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin or his key ally, China’s Xi Jinping. The fact that such moves are being considered now shows the administration’s growing concern about Ukraine’s vulnerability on the battlefield.

Ukraine’s vulnerability has increased partly because of the long delay in U.S. weapons shipments. While House Republicans dithered, Ukraine was forced to consider retreat. And many weapons the United States had hoped would bolster Ukraine — such as M1 Abrams tanks, HIMARS missile systems and F-16 fighter jets — proved vulnerable to Russian drones, electronic jamming and air defenses, respectively.

U.S. officials worry that Russia is massing troops and equipment just across the border inside Russia for its assault on Kharkiv and other cities in eastern Ukraine. U.S. artillery and short-range missiles could strike these targets without threatening deep strikes into Russia. But, for now, the United States restricts their use to inside Ukraine, so they aren’t able to strike the big Russian logistical and troop-marshalling centers just over the border. But that may be changing, as other NATO countries press Biden to loosen controls.

We might be nearing another inflection point in Ukraine.

As China leans harder into its partnership with a newly dominant Russia, Biden is weighing whether to deepen his alliance with Kyiv. This would bring new risks, but it would make sense if it could bolster a wobbly Ukraine and rebalance the negotiating table, which is where this war must eventually be settled.

Briefing with Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien: “…Then in the informal ministerial, this is to focus on events in Ukraine but also preparations for the Washington Summit, which is July 11th and 12th. And in that vein the secretary general has asked that the ministers discuss a range of decisions pertaining to Ukraine. We do not anticipate that there’ll be an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO, but we think there will be a substantial show of support for Ukraine as it works to win its war.”


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