Ukrainian commanders and civilian officials overestimate the ability of the US to supply the country with weapons and ammo amid the conflict with Russia and are asking for things that simply don’t exist, American officials have told the New York Times.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has provided Kiev with $111 billion in military and economic assistance since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. However, the White House recently warned that funds for the government of Vladimir Zelensky had almost run out, with hardline Republican lawmakers blocking the approval of another $106 billion ‘national security package’ for Ukraine and Israel.
Many in Kiev still “do not realize how precarious continued US funding for the war is,” the NYT said in an article on Monday. The unnamed US officials, who talked to the paper, insisted that “Ukraine will have to fight on a tighter budget.”
Some Ukrainian decision-makers have “unrealistic expectations about what the US will supply,” the sources said. “They are asking for millions of rounds of artillery, for example, from Western stockpiles that do not exist.”
After the failure of Kiev’s counteroffensive, the US and Ukraine are currently trying to work out “a new strategy,” the implementation of which is expected to begin in early 2024 in order to “revive Kiev’s fortunes,” the officials said.
According to the report, they are unable to find common ground so far. Washington wants Kiev to just focus on holding onto the territory it still controls, while building up forces and supplies over the course of the next year.
However, the Ukrainian military appears eager to continue to attack the Russian army on the ground or through airstrikes in order to “score symbolic victories” that they believe would attract more attention to the conflict around the globe, the sources explained.
“The stakes are huge” because “without both a new strategy and additional funding … Ukraine could lose the war,” the officials warned.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that deliveries of weapons to Ukraine by the West will only prolong the fighting and increase the risk of a direct military confrontation between Russia and NATO. Russian officials have also argued that the provision of arms, intelligence-sharing, and training Ukrainian troops means that the US and its allies have already become de facto parties to the conflict.
Amid discussions on the new strategy, the Pentagon has decided that Lieutenant General Antonio A. Aguto Jr, who oversees aid to Ukraine from a base in Germany, is going to spend lengthy periods of time on the ground in Kiev, they added.
Speaking about the dependence of Kiev on Western aid, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that Ukrainian troops were “running out of [everything]” because “they don’t have their own base.”
“When you don’t have your own base, don’t have your own ideology, don’t have your own industry, don’t have your own money, don’t have anything of your own, then there is no future,” Putin stated.