The Russian War in Ukraine: A War Between the US and the U.S. with Precision Warfare, Humanitarian Aid, and Security
Both Biden and Zelensky have a long standing partnership. Zelensky gushed over Biden as he went from the Oval Office to the East Room on Capitol Hill.
The statement said that Biden underscored his engagement with allies and partners and providedUkraine with security, economic, and humanitarian assistance.
A senior Defense Department official added that work was continuing on improving Ukrainian air defenses, including “finding Soviet-era capabilities to make sure that countries were ready (and) could donate them and help move those capabilities.”
The US had yet to deliver NASAMS, according to the Department of Defense. At the time, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said two systems were expected to be delivered in the next two months, with the remaining six to arrive at an undetermined date.
It’s difficult to figure out what Russian missile inventories are. In May, President Volodymr Zelensky said Russia had launched 2,154 missiles and had probably used up 60% of its precision-missile arsenal. That appears to be more of a guess than a reality.
In October of last year, Russian missiles and drones destroyed almost a third of Ukrainian power stations, plunging millions of people into darkness and signaling a significant change in Russian strategy.
There’s now a race between the Ukrainians’ ability to acquire new air defense hardware, train on it and deploy it – and the Russians’ ability to inflict massive damage on Ukrainian infrastructure (civilian and military) with their deep stocks of missiles, not all of which are precision weapons.
The senior State Department official said that Zelensky’s room has gotten smaller as Russia’s atrocities have grown.
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Administration officials are doubtful additional Ukraine aid will be passed this fiscal year. They think that the current spending package is the last major one of Ukraine aid.
Kirby said it was obvious that he was feeling the pressure at home and overseas, but only he could say how he would react.
Last week, Biden delivered a stark warning about the dangers of Putin’s nuclear threats, invoking the prospect of “Armageddon.” Multiple US officials said the comment was not based on any new intelligence about Putin or Russia’s nuclear posture.
As Ukraine races to shore up its missile defenses in the wake of the assault, the math for Moscow is simple: A percentage of projectiles are bound to get through.
Some of that inventory was dispatched this week. But Russia has recently resorted to using much older and less precise KH-22 missiles (originally made as an anti-ship weapon), of which it still has large inventories, according to Western officials. They are designed to remove aircraft carriers. Dozens of casualties were caused by a KH-22 at a shopping mall in June.
The amount of Russian inventories that are being exhausted is unknown, and whether Russia will resort to older, less accurate but equally powerful missiles in the future.
The Russians have also been adapting the S-300 – normally an air defense missile – as an offensive weapon, with some effect. Their speed makes them hard to intercept, and has wreaked havoc in Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv. But they are hardly accurate.
There’s no doubt this week’s missile attacks, beyond causing dozens of casualties, have inflicted significant damage. Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told CNN on Tuesday that around 30% of the country’s energy infrastructure had been hit by Russian missiles since Monday.
He told CNN’s Richard Quest that this was the “first time from the beginning of the war” that Russia has “dramatically targeted” energy infrastructure.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that Ukraine needed “more” systems to better halt missile attacks. “These air defense systems are making a difference because many of the incoming missiles (this week) were actually shot down by the Ukrainian air defense systems provided by NATO Allies,” he said. As long as they are not shot down, there is a need for more.
Ukrainian air defense battalions have become innovative: One video from Monday, referenced by Zelensky, showed a soldier using a shoulder-held missile to bring down a Russian projectile, purportedly a cruise missile.
The US has seen some evidence that the Iranian drones have experienced many failures, according to the deputy Undersecretary of defense for policy.
Ukraine’s wish-list – circulated at Wednesday’s meeting – included missiles for their existing systems and a “transition to Western-origin layered air defense system” as well as “early warning capabilities.”
He said that although the system would not control all of the airspace, it was designed to control priority targets that the Ukrainians need to protect. What you’re looking at really is short-range low-altitude systems and then medium-range medium altitude and then long-range and high altitude systems, and it’s a mix of all of these.”
Western systems are beginning to trickle in. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Tuesday that a “new era of air defense has begun” with the arrival of the first IRIS-T from Germany, and two units of the US National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAM) expected soon.
This is only the beginning. Before he left for the meeting withUkraine’s donors at the Brussels meeting, Reznikov said on his verified account that “And we need more.” Feeling optimistic.”
These are not off the shelf. The IRIS-T had to be made in Ukraine. Western governments have limited inventories of such systems. There is a missile attack onUkraine from three directions.
Zaluzhnyi praised Poland for transferring missiles and air-defense equipment to Ukraine in response to U.S. sanctions
Ukraine’s senior military commander, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, tweeted Tuesday his thanks to Poland as “brothers in arms” for training an air defense battalion that had destroyed nine of 11 Shaheeds.
He said Poland had given Ukraine “systems” to help destroy the drones. Last month there were reports that the Polish government had bought advanced Israeli equipment (Israel has a policy of not selling “advanced defensive technology” to Kyiv) and was then transferring it to Ukraine.
The US has not indicated to allies that it would be opposed to other countries sending their stock of F-16s to Ukraine, sources told CNN. US officials do not think that sending its own systems would be worth it in the long term when compared to Ukraine’s needs of rockets and air defense systems.
officials said that Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III could approve a directive as early as this week to transfer a battery abroad to Ukraine. President Biden would be given final approval.
After months of pressure from the Ukrainians, the US relented in December and agreed to send a missile defense battery, which had been considered too challenging to operate in the US.
Many questions remain about the potential transfer, which was reported earlier by CNN, including how long it would take to train Ukrainian soldiers on the system, presumably in Germany, and where the Patriots would be deployed inside Ukraine.
Mr. Zelensky listed financing for weapons first in his request to the group of 7 nations.
Patriot Missions to Ukraine and the Diplomacy between the United States and Russia: Predictions for House Speaker Ben Biden and House Speaker Pelosi
The Pentagon’s active-duty Patriot units frequently deploy for missions around the world, and experts say there are not deep stockpiles of Patriot missiles available for transfer to Ukraine in the same way that the U.S. provided a large quantity of artillery shells and rockets to Kyiv for use in combat.
A senior administration official said that Mr. Biden would not come to the meeting on Wednesday “with a message that is about pushing or prodding or poking Zelensky in any way” toward finding a diplomatic end to the war with Russia. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trip had not been formally announced, said Russia had given no indication it was willing to engage in good-faith talks about ending the war.
Mr. Zelensky is going to hold a news conference at the White House after his meeting with Mr. Biden. He will then head to Capitol Hill for what is likely to be an electrifying appearance before a joint session of Congress as Democratic control of the House — and the reign of Representative Nancy Pelosi of California as speaker — nears its end.
What to tell The Times before Using Anonymous Sources? How to tell the truth about the Ukrainian situation in the early 1920’s and the future of the US
What we consider before using anonymous sources. The sources may know what’s going on. Why is it they want to tell us? Have they proved reliable in the past? Is it possible to corroborate the information? The Times uses anonymous sources even after the questions have been satisfied. The journalist and the editor know the identity of the source.
White House officials, before the current predicament on Capitol Hill, were skeptical that Ukraine aid would dry up completely. They have noted that Senate GOP leaderMitch McConnell is one of the ardent supporters of Ukraine and that House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy is also very supportive.
Just as with Biden’s decision to provide a Patriot missile defense system, it has often taken a dramatic escalation or shift in battlefield conditions for the US to do more.
The second are precision-guided munitions for Ukrainian jets. Russia and the Ukrainians have a lot ofdumb bombs that are fired towards a target. Western standard precision weaponry has been given to the country of Ukraine.
The package is among the largest military equipment shipped from the Pentagon to Ukraine since the war began. As the weather starts to warm, Ukraine will be fighting in the spring.
The Red Lines of War: Vladimir Zelensky and the United States Against the Russia-Russia War in Ukraine, and his Visit to Paris
With the exception of its nuclear forces, Moscow is running out of new cards to play, as it struggles to equip and rally its conventional forces. It is unlikely that a nuclear force will be used in the future, as China and India have joined the West in opposing it.
Western analysts have said that Russia has grumbled about these deliveries but has been more cautious in its response to crossing what might have been seen as red lines.
This is not easy. Kevin McCarthy, the new Speaker of the House, warned the Biden administration not to expect a “blank cheque” from the Republicans.
While the Trumpist elements of the party believed that aid to eastern Europe should not be very much, they were unsure of how much it should really be.
The bill for defeating Russia in a long and dark conflict is relatively light for Washington, given its trillion dollar annual defense budget.
He is an inspiring rhetorician, and – as a former reality TV star turned unexpected president – the embodiment of how Putin’s war of choice has turned ordinary Ukrainians into wartime heroes.
She said Zelensky’s historic address “strengthened both Democrats and Republicans who understand what is at stake in this fight against Putin and Russian aggression and now with their ally, Iran, as well.”
He said it was “important for the American people, and for the world, to hear directly from you, Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight, and the need to continue to stand together through 2023.”
Clinton, who previously met Russian President Vladimir Putin as US secretary of state, said the leader was “probably impossible to actually predict,” as the war turns in Ukraine’s favor and his popularity fades at home.
“I think around now, what [Putin] is considering is how to throw more bodies, and that’s what they will be – bodies of Russian conscripts – into the fight in Ukraine,” Clinton said.
Zelensky touched down in Britain a time when Kyiv is urging the West to send more weapons and military support to counter Russian advances. On Wednesday evening he traveled to Paris, and was greeted at the Elysee Palace by the French President and the German Chancellor.
The symbolism of the historic visit was heavy as Zelensky wore a green sweatshirt and the president wore a blue and yellow tie on the House floor.
Yet the new phase isn’t only on the battlefield. Around the world, leaders are confronting the bitter fallout of Russia’s invasion. Higher energy and food prices, in part generated by tough sanctions on Moscow, have caused trouble for politicians in Europe and the United States.
Zelensky claimed on Wednesday that the road to end the war would not involve making concessions to Russia.
He said that “just peace” is not a road to peace that involves giving up territory or sovereignty.
John Kirby, an official from the National Security Council, said last week that US officials have given input on a 10-point peace plan Zelensky has been showcasing.
It was up to Zelensky to decide how he wanted the war to end, said Biden, who had held a view that left a lot of questions unanswered.
Zelensky peppered his address to lawmakers with references to American history, from the critical Battle of Saratoga during the American Revolutionary War to the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
He telegraphed before the speech that he would deliver his address in English. Even his attire – the now-familiar Army green shirt, cargo pants and boots – seemed designed to remind his audience they were in the presence of a wartime leader.
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Zelensky’s ability to appeal to his audience has been demonstrated by the way he has performed during the conflict.
On Wednesday, he sought to harness Americans’ emotional response to his country’s suffering, evoking dark winter nights as Russia seeks to interrupt Ukraine’s power supply.
We will be celebrating Christmas in two days. Maybe candlelit. Not because it’s more romantic, no, but because there will not be – there will be no electricity,” he said.
But he also seemed aware that many Americans – including some Republicans in Congress – have wondered aloud why billions of US dollars are needed for a conflict thousands of miles away. The cause was more important to him than his homeland.
“London has stood with Kyiv since day one,” he said. “Since the first seconds and minutes of the full-scale war. Great Britain, you extended your helping hand when the world had not yet come to understand how to react.”
Biden directed his national security aides to get a Patriot battery for Ukraine in order to give it better air defense capabilities.
Zelensky’s candid request for more Patriots – and Biden’s lighthearted response – amounted to a window into one of the world’s most complicated relationships.
That hasn’t always sat well with Biden or his team. But as he has with a host of other foreign leaders, Biden appeared intent Wednesday on translating physical proximity into a better understanding of his counterpart.
“It is all about looking someone in the eye. It is indeed, that I mean it sincerely. He believes there is no substitute for sitting down face to face with a friend and looking them in the eye.
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Ukrainians have gotten armored vehicles from the US in the past, such as MRAP vehicles and armored utility vehicles. The US gave money for the reconditioning of old Soviet tanks.
Biden affirmed the new commitment in a telephone call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday. Germany will also send Ukraine new fighting vehicles, along with a Patriot missile battery to protect against Russian air attacks.
Those systems had been at the top of Zelensky’s wish list because it will allow his military to target Russian missiles flying at a higher altitude than they were able to target previously.
The Biden administration’s largest drawdown of military assistance to the country was announced on Friday, but there are also worries that Republicans in Washington could stand in the way of future aid.
One diplomat told CNN they believe the impasse “definitely” signals trouble for Ukraine aid moving forward, as many of those who have fought McCarthy’s speakership have in the past spoken out against additional assistance for Kyiv.
Two of the Republicans who had opposed McCarthy until Friday afternoon – Florida Rep. Byron Donalds and Texas Rep. Chip Roy – had called on the House to change leadership and debate rules over Ukraine aid. Other Ukraine aid skeptics have continued to oppose McCarthy’s bid.
Several members who switched their votes to support McCarthy said they are encouraged by a framework of an agreement but did not provide any details about the deal.
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That number was even higher than President Joe Biden requested – a reflection of Democrats’ concern that additional funding wouldn’t be as forthcoming in a GOP-led House. The view inside the White House was that the number would sustain US support for months, and it was thought to be an insurance policy against Republican resistance.
There are Rules changes in the budgetary process that could make it more difficult for Congress to pass new aid in September.
There are concerns among foreign diplomats about the implications of the negotiations with the House speaker for the future of US support for Ukraine.
The diplomat said that the Freedom Caucus is pro-Ukrainian, and that this was a sign of legislative paralysis.
Others noted they were watching closely to see the kinds of maneuvers McCarthy would make to secure the role, which could potentially include cuts to aid.
Another diplomat told CNN they’re personally concerned about “the policy concessions McCarthy has to make, and if they are going to affect US role in the world.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday welcomed the latest drawdown, saying it was an “awesome Christmas present for Ukraine!” Legislators in Ukraine told CNN they are not concerned about the future of assistance, because of the bipartisan and public support they have received for their country.
“My understanding is that there are training courses we can do in Europe,” Reznikov says. It’s more convenient because we have to have the same weather and landscape.
He says that Ukrainian troops will go to the United States to train with the military for about 10 weeks.
Training could be half a year for the Leopard tanks. But I hope that we will do it during one month or probably two months,” he says adds.
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“One year ago everyone rejected HIMARS and no one could imagine Abrams tanks,” the official said, referring to US missile systems provided to Ukraine last year, and the Biden administration’s decision last week to give Ukraine the flagship American battle tank.
He says that he is certain that the F-16s is realistic, noting that Ukraine has secured other weapons that at first appeared to be out of reach.
Zelenky’s specific goal of obtaining US F-16 fighter jets has become an increasingly controversial ask. Both Biden and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have previously opposed such a move due to concerns about how it could escalate the conflict.
Reznikov says he knows Western allies are scrutinizing Ukraine’s government closely. Ukrainian journalists recently reported that Reznikov’s own ministry was sometimes purchasing food and other supplies for troops at inflated prices.
McCaul said during his congressional trip toUkraine that the US and its NATO allies supported Ukraine against Russian aggression. A very productive meeting was had by President Zelensky. We talked about what his needs are, when it comes to winning this war. And he is providing this delegation with the list of the weapons the Ukraine needs to win.”
Before the Russian invasion, most defense ministry expenses were public. Most of them are classified for security reasons. He says transparency is a delicate issue during wartime, but he is working with parliament to change laws and make defense expenditures at least “semi-transparent.”
Ukraine needs fighter jets. Wings for freedom: The Ukrainian prime minister’s message to the UK’s Prime Minister, Prime Minister Sunak, on Wednesday
“It’s not a piece of cake, but I will do it,” he says. Zero tolerance with corruption is what my principle is. We have to be a new Ukraine, with the European standard, not the old-fashioned Soviet Ukraine with a legacy of corruption.
The Ukrainians are undeterred. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister stated that the country needs fighter jets and long-range missiles.
But that push is being met with skepticism by US and allied officials who say the jets would be impractical, both because they require considerable training and because Russia has extensive anti-aircraft systems that could easily shoot them down.
The Ukrainian military official told CNN that they need to push for long-range missiles, despite the fact that Fighter jets are not easy to use.
The UK didn’t want to give its fighter jets toUkraine because it wasn’t the right approach. Wednesday’s announcement raises hopes that there will be a shift in attitude in the future. The UK also said it will provide Ukraine with “longer-range capabilities,” Downing Street said, without going into details.
Last week, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, Sabrina Singh, said that they are giving them what they think they can do. “The F-16 – this is a very complicated system.”
Dutch prime minister Rutte told reporters on Monday that sending the planes would be a big step if it comes to that. And Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki indicated on Monday that Warsaw would only send its fighter jets “in full coordination” with its NATO partners.
Zelensky also met with Ukrainian troops being trained by British forces on Wednesday, telling a press conference that his battlefield priority is for Ukraine to obtain more weapons.
This symbol might be able to help us out in our next coalition. I appeal to you and our world with a simple phrase: Combat aircraft for Ukraine. Wings for freedom.”
The message Zelensky directed at Prime Minister Sunak and the Cabinet was particularly pointed out by the fact that the late Queen Elizabeth lay in state in the same area where Barack Obama stood for a similar cause.
Sunak greeted Zelensky at Stansted Airport, north of London, after he landed aboard a UK Royal Air Force C-17 transport plane. Sunak tweeted a picture of the pair embracing on the runway. The caption reads, “Welcome to the UK, President ZelenskyGloryyUa.”
Zelensky said in a Telegram post following his audience with the King that he congratulated King Charles “on his recent accession to the throne and wished peace and prosperity to the British people.”
“It is an honor for me to be the first President of Ukraine in the history of Ukrainian-British relations to be honored by the British monarch with an audience,” he added.
Zelensky and Sunak at Lulworth Camp: We Need More Fighters and Arms for the Cold War and We Need to Stay Strong
We don’t have a way out. We have to stand firm. Zelensky and Sunak spoke at Lulworth Camp in England about the need for tanks, fighter jets, and armored vehicles.
There is a possibility of a Russian spring offensive, and Britain is sending more military equipment to fight it. Sunak said the UK would expand training to Ukrainian fighter pilots and marines, while also promising a long-term investment in Ukraine’s military.
During a press conference with Sunak on Wednesday, Zelensky said that the request for Eurofighter Typhoon jets was not solely in the UK’s hands, and suggested thatUkraine would intensify their diplomacy around it.
“Once again, I heard from Mr. Prime Minister the desire to provide fighter jets, and officially he declared they can begin training our pilots,” Zelensky said. “When it comes to Typhoons, not everything depends just on the decision of Great Britain.”
Zelensky said he didn’t know training a pilot like that takes three years. You know, come on, we will be sending you pilots who have already trained for two and a half years.”
Ben Wallace is investigating which aircraft could be given toUkraine, but no decision has been made on whether or not to supply jets.
The trip was described as a “hasty event,” a “theatrical performance” and a “fundraising event” by the Russian embassy in London.
The consequences of Bakhmut’s death toll on Russia and the whole world: the United Kingdom as a military-political force
“We would like to remind London: in the event of such a scenario the death toll of yet another round of escalation, as well as and its military-political consequences for the European continent and the whole world will be on the United Kingdom’s hands,” the embassy said.
The UK package targets 6 entities who give military equipment, as well as eight individuals and one entity that helps maintain wealth and power amongst a group of Kremlin elites.
According to UK government data, the UK government has imposed sanctions on hundreds of Russian citizens and entities since last February when Russia invaded Ukraine.
A spokesman for the armed forces, Col. Serhiy Cherevaty, said on Ukrainian television that soldiers need to keep their focus on building defensive lines. But he also said that part of the reason for the order a day earlier barring civilians, including aid workers, from entering the city was to keep military operations secret.
As a prize, Bakhmut doesn’t offer a lot of strategic value for either Moscow or Kyiv. Its significance comes more from the amount of blood spilled to claim it.
“Even if Bakhmut were to fall, it would not have a strategic impact on the overall war,” said the National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby. It won’t have an impact on the fighting in that part of the country.
In Brussels, Western officials deflected questions about whether Ukraine would win its campaign to secure still more powerful weapons to use against its Russian enemy.
The U.S. Army as an Ideal Post-War Order: Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon Staff Analysis of the Requests for Fighting in Ukraine
Mr. Austin did not make any announcement on Tuesday when asked if fighters had been discussed.
He acknowledged that the Ukrainians often request more than the US is willing to give, and that in some cases the Biden administration eventually handed over weapons it had initially resisted.
The US began training Ukrainian forces on a modern, combined arms fighting strategy after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. Russia launched a invasion of Ukraine last year, but the efforts have since resumed with renewed purpose. In December, the US announced it would greatly increase the number of soldiers trained on battlefield tactics, including coordinating infantry maneuvers.
Officials told CNN that the plan is not necessarily a starting point for negotiations with Russia. It represents a vision of an ideal post-war order that can hopefully convince the Ukrainians to keep supporting the country for as long as it takes.
Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all speak to their counterparts from time to time.
Sullivan and Milley also hold regular joint calls with top Zelensky adviser Andriy Yermak and Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces. These calls give Sullivan and Milley a chance to get the latest reports from the battlefield and assess the Ukrainian military’s needs.
The Pentagon conducts an analysis of the requests to assess the effect they will have on the battlefield, how quickly the Ukrainians can train and integrate the weapons, and the impact on US military readiness, after they are funneled over to the Ukrainians.
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One senior State Department official said that they had never seen bureaucracy work as fast as it is working, but that they needed to do more.
The US had argued that the system was too complex for the Ukrainians. Russia’s targeted campaign on civilian infrastructure jettisoned those arguments.
A senior administration official said the president was incensed by this and pushed his aides to help defend against the problem.
The air defenses of Ukraine are spread too thin, so it will be hard for the government to protect its troops from Russia’s targeted campaign.
An effort to get US allies to also get Ukraine more air defense capability was launched during a daily meeting at the White House by Sullivan and other National Security Council officials.
“We really went around the world and found for them, not only additional systems that other countries had and persuade them to transfer them, but parts,” the official said, allowing Ukraine to get non-operational S-300 systems back online.
Germany and the Netherlands pledged components for the missile system after Biden decided to give a battery.
“At every stage of conflict, we have adapted to make sure the Ukrainians had what they needed to be successful – and they have,” a senior administration official said. “We have adapted, they have adapted.”
The battle of logistics has become a grinding war of attrition, and is also a battle of attrition, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The war in Ukranian is consuming a huge amount of military equipment. The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production.”
A senior European official said last week that the European Commission hopes to have a proposal ready by March for how to increase the production of ammunition across the bloc. The official noted that it is a complex problem, because ammunition production is expensive and will require that the defense industry upgrade its facilities.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated earlier in the month that Europe and NATO need to increase their production capacity if the West is going to fulfill Ukraine’s needs.
US officials say the Ukrainian military wanted to wage a war using heavy shelling against their enemy’s lines.
The first group of Ukrainians training on this style of fighting finished at a German training area last week, according to the Pentagon. There is a general named PatRyder. The first group of soldiers began the five-week training course.
The plan includes calls for the restoration of Ukraine’s state borders with Russia and the withdrawal of Russian troops, a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes, and the release of all Ukrainian prisoners of war.
“I think strategically the allies are getting to the realization that this is going to be a longer war,” said Salm, the Estonian defense secretary. In order to manage this strategy, you need to have an end goal.
The senior State Department official said the US understands this position. An end goal “has to be something that any democratically elected leader in Ukraine can sell to his or her public,” the official said. “But I think he’s committed to get there.”
The bottom line is that Putin would accept nothing less than a full overthrow of Kyiv, even if that meant agreeing to a slower end to the war, said US and western officials.
The United States is prepared to support Ukraine for the long haul in the war against Russia and is confident Kyiv will prevail, senior Biden administration officials told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria at a unique CNN town hall marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
Both Sullivan and Samantha Power, administrator of the US Agency for International Development, took questions at the town hall from Americans and Ukrainians Thursday, on topics ranging from how the US will keep arming Ukraine to an assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions and the role China may play in the conflict.
Lera, a 14-year-old Ukrainian girl, asked Power whether she could rely on American to feel safe in her country. Power responded that the US was committed to making Ukrainians feel as safe as possible despite the war.
Sullivan argued that the main objective of the conflict was stopping Russia from taking over the capital of Kyiv.
“Sitting here today, we do not see movements in Russia’s nuclear forces that lead us to believe that something fundamentally has changed from how things have been over the course of the past year,” Sullivan said.
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The funding included in the $2 billion package includes equipment for mine clearing and secure communications.
Sullivan was asked by a Ukrainian soldier named Yegor, currently serving on the front lines, whether the US would be able to increase production of ammunition and other weapons to Ukraine, such as 155-millimeter artillery shells and HIMARS.
“One of the things that we are working hard at – at President Biden’s direction – is to increase the production of all of these types of ammunition,” Sullivan said. “This is not something we can do with the snap of a finger, but it’s something that we are putting immense effort and resources into.”
Zakaria asked Sullivan for his first reaction Thursday evening to a 12-point plan Beijing released calling for the end of hostilities in Ukraine and pitching itself as a mediator between Moscow and Kyiv.
“Well my first reaction to it is they could stop at point one, which is respect the sovereignty of all nations,” Sullivan said. “This war could end tomorrow if Russia stopped attacking Ukraine and withdrew its forces. The United States wasn’t attacking Russia, and NATO wasn’t attacking Russia. This was a war of choice waged by Putin.
He believes that China wont supply weapons to Russia. He said such a move would cause problems forUkraine and that it would raise the risks of a third world war.
Still, Sullivan argued that the idea that the two countries are becoming “unbreakable allies” is disproven because China has taken a careful stance toward Russia’s war, noting they abstained instead of voting with Moscow on a recent United Nations resolution.
Biden was accused of using billions of dollars in the US’s foreign aid for something better at home by some of his Republican critics.
I would encourage those senators to do these things at home. But are you saying that American is incapable of also helping to serve as a powerful force of good in the world?” Sullivan spoke.
“I think there’s a pessimism in this argument that these senators are making. President Biden believes that we can do it, and we should do it, and we are doing it.
Power argued that US support for Ukraine is actually one of the rare issues where there is strong bipartisanship in today’s Washington, when she was asked by a Ukrainian mother about the commonality between the citizens of the two countries.
“We have your backs, we stand with you, not just here on the battle front but in trying to help you feel as much safety as you can when one man and his wicked vision has tried to take that away,” Power said.
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When the war ends, Power acknowledged the long road to rebuild the country. At this time, there are at least some estimates of damage at $130 billion.
Power said that the international financial institutions and the US Agency for International Development helped to rebuild the infrastructure and get private industry to return to peaceful parts of Ukraine.
But she stated that major projects are still ahead, and that the Biden administration is aware of the need to make sure the money spent on reconstruction is well spent.
Most of the big items will only happen when there is a negotiated peace, Power said.
“But we have to make sure resources are going to be well spent,” she added. You want to make sure that the safeguards are put in place so that other people know about the huge investments and that citizens know that this is money that is going.
KYIV, Ukraine — In a wide-ranging, hourslong news conference in a basement in the heart of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that he was confident his country could win the war this year, expressed hope that China would not provide lethal military aid to Russia and implored Israel to get off the fence and side with his nation.
Not one to shrink from questions or to shy away from calling out even allies if he feels they could be doing more to help Ukraine, he nevertheless tread carefully when talking about China.
Mr. Zelensky ignored the question about Beijing possibly providing Moscow with lethal weapons. When it was raised a second time, he said that working to ensure China did not arm Russia was one of his top priorities.
Mr. Zelensky told the reporter that the question wasn’t about geography or politics, but about basic principles.
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Does China believe that innocents should not be killed? Nuclear power plants shouldn’t be occupied. That respect for the sovereign rights of a nation means an invader should withdraw?
“I am already starting public diplomatic relations here,” he said, before switching to English to stress his openness to direct talks with China. We have so many issues that we need to talk about them with one another.
Iran is already providing attack drones to Russia, and the West has warned the Moscow is also seeking to acquire ballistic missiles. This is where Mr. Zelensky was asked about Israel. Israel and Ukraine share a common enemy, he was asked, so why are they not stronger allies?
He said he understood Israel’s history with Russia but wanted it to take a more aggressive stance against it after the war started.
There were hard questions about possible internal disputes in his government. A journalist from Azeri country wanted to take a photo with the Ukrainian leader for his son. (Mr. Zelensky obliged.)
The Ukrainian leader said the darkest moment of the war for him personally was when he saw the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers for the first time, in Bucha. He said it was horrible.
Even though theanswer to how and whenUkraine can win the war would only be determined on the battlefield, there were many questions about it.
The meeting, set against the backdrop of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, is a stark example of how far apart members within the Republican Party are on how to handle US involvement in the war moving forward. Since the GOP took control of the House, there has been an increased divide, even as Speaker Kevin McCarthy tried to remain neutral on the issue.
Zelensky, who met with House Foreign Affairs committee chairman Michael McCaul and four other House GOP members, told the group he planned to send them a list of weapons, which includes F-16 fighter jets, that he believes are necessary to speed up the end of the war with Russia.
“He said we’ll stay here as long as it takes. I hope it doesn’t take so long to win this conflict. And to do so, we have strong bipartisan support to give Ukraine everything that it needs to win,” McCaul added.
That position, however, may become increasingly untenable as upcoming spending fights, congressional hearings and the 2024 presidential race firmly place the question of whether to add to the $113 billion the US has already sent Ukraine front and center – and as some Republicans push back on the prospect of additional aid.
The plan is starting to take shape among the Republicans who believe the only way to win the hearts and minds of the Ukrainian people is by sending weapons, like F-16 fighter jets and longer range missiles.
The F-16s, Russia, and the United States: Comments on McCarthy, Blinken, Mills, Issa, Self, Ellzey and Kibben
McCarthy supports the investigation into the misuse of previous US aid, according to a second person familiar with the talks. McCarthy also approved Comer sending the letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power seeking documents and information to understand how the departments and the agency are conducting oversight of these funds.
The supreme allied commander for Europe and head of US European command told 10 Republicans in a closed-door meeting that the F-16s would help beat the Ukrainians. The source said that, yes, when asked if that was the case.
Multiple sources say that the comments by Cavoli reflect a more cautious approach to the issue by Milley who has long viewed any move that could cause a Russian reaction with suspicion, even though senior US officials have said publicly that there is no need for that.
As the push for providing those weapons intensifies, McCaul plans to hold a hearing this spring on alleged Russian war crimes, a McCaul spokesperson told CNN.
In addition to McCaul, GOP Reps. Darrell Issa of California, Keith Self of Texas, Max Miller of Ohio, Jake Ellzey of Texas, as well as Margaret Kibben, the House chaplain, were part of the delegation.