US warns Ukraine that war is reaching pivotal point
As the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, US officials have informed Ukrainian authorities that a critical moment is approaching to change the trajectory of the war.
Source: The Washington Post
Quote from The Washington Post: “The war in recent months has become a slow grind in eastern Ukraine, with neither side gaining the upper hand. Biden officials believe the critical juncture will come this spring, when Russia is expected to launch an offensive and Ukraine mounts a counteroffensive in an effort to reclaim lost territory.”
Details: The critical nature of the next few months has reportedly already been explicitly stated to Kyiv by senior Biden officials, including Jon Finer, deputy national security adviser; Wendy Sherman, deputy secretary of state; and Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defence, all of whom visited Ukraine last month.
In addition, a week before these officials visited, CIA Director William Burns visited Ukraine. He briefed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Russia’s military plans for the coming months and emphasised the urgency of the moment.
The Biden administration is currently working with Congress to approve another US$10 billion in direct budgetary aid to Kyiv and is expected to announce another major military aid package next week and impose new sanctions on the Kremlin around the same time.
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the full-scale war, the West is also seeking to signal to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin that support for Ukraine is not waning.
But some experts warn that neither Russia nor Ukraine will gain a decisive military advantage in the foreseeable future.
Biden and his top aides say they are determined to support Ukraine for as long and as fully as possible. But they warn that the policy course could become tougher after Ukraine exhausts the current congressional aid package, which could happen as early as this summer.
At the same time, according to the news outlet, there is underlying Western tension over how Ukraine should focus its resources in the coming months.
It is noted that for many months, Ukraine has spent significant resources and troops defending Bakhmut in eastern Donbas. However, American military analysts are convinced that it is unrealistic to simultaneously defend Bakhmut and launch a spring counteroffensive to regain the territories temporarily occupied by Russia.
The United States considers the liberation of land more important.
US officials believe that if Ukraine continues to fight wherever Russia sends troops, it will work in Moscow’s favour. Therefore, they urged Ukraine to prioritise the timing and conduct of the spring counteroffensive, especially as the United States and Europe train Ukrainian soldiers to use the most sophisticated weapons that are already appearing on the battlefield.
The Biden administration is also convinced that Russia’s capture of Bakhmut “will not lead to significant strategic shifts on the battlefield” because it “will not result in any significant strategic shift in the battlefield” because “it’s a dot on the map for which they [Russians – ed.] have expended an extraordinary amount of blood and treasure”.
In addition, US intelligence officials believe that the liberation of the heavily fortified Crimean peninsula is beyond the capabilities of the Ukrainian army.
At the same time, Biden’s aides say that they are sticking to the best course of action: giving Ukraine the opportunity to regain as much territory as possible in the coming months before sitting down with Putin.
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