Will The Renewed US Support For Ukraine Be Enough?

(MENAFN- Jordan Times) NEW YORK - New US-supplied weapons and money are now on their way to Ukraine. Whether to provide additional military aid was a matter of debate for many months in the US Congress. In the end, Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson stared down the most right-wing elements of his party and put the matter to a vote. The proposal passed by a margin of 311 to 112, thanks to the support of Democrats. While the same package also provides security aid for Israel and Taiwan, the nearly $61 billion for Ukraine is the biggest component, and will make the biggest near-term difference.

The new aid package will help Ukraine pay for Patriot air-defence munitions, artillery shells, drones, counter-drone weapons, and missiles that can be fired from fighter planes. It is the first injection of cash that Congress has authorised since December 2022 and it is the single largest aid package that Kyiv will have received since the outbreak of the war.

Still, the US has also been helping in other ways. Even before the latest aid package was approved, the Pentagon had quietly shipped a new long-range missile system to Ukraine, whose troops immediately put it to use against a Russian airfield in Crimea and Russian troops in the Donbas region.

Less talked about is a feature of the new package that both helps Ukraine and hurts Russia financially. Under the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act, the Biden administration is authorised to seize Russian state assets frozen in the US, and to use them to help Ukraine.

Before doing so, US President Joe Biden wants to be sure that America's European and other G7 allies are on board with the plan. If they agree, the move would furnish another $5 billion for Ukraine, with the funds drawn directly from Russian central-bank assets. The European Union, meanwhile, is already reserving windfall profits generated from Russian central-bank assets frozen in Europe; these proceeds could give Ukraine another 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) per year.

Ukraine needed this help. Sixteen months of congressional inaction has left its exhausted forces short of the artillery and air-defense ammunition needed to halt Russia's recent advances along the frontlines, as well as its drone and missile strikes on Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure. This shortfall allowed Russian forces to grab more than 135 square miles of Ukrainian territory over the past four months, including the strategically valuable city of Avdiivka in February.

Fears that Russia was preparing a major summer push for more Ukrainian land raised the specter, in Kyiv and in Washington, DC, that a big breakthrough could leave Ukraine on the verge of military defeat by the end of this year. The latest surge of US material support now makes that much less likely. If Ukraine can build new fortifications along the frontline and secure the air-defence systems it needs to protect its cities and energy infrastructure, despite a shortage of these supplies created by the war in the Middle East, it can stabilise its defensive positions through 2025.

But though America's bid to close the ammunition gap between Ukraine and Russia can restore the on-the-ground stalemate established late last year, it will not put Ukraine back on the offensive. That is because Ukraine has another battlefield problem that its allies can do little to address: a shortage of soldiers.

Under a new law that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed reluctantly earlier this year, the age of military mobilisation was lowered from 27 to 25, the number of exemptions from service were reduced, and soldiers can be ordered to serve for longer periods. All of that will help if the new troops can be effectively trained and quickly deployed. But the law will not, by itself, change the game in Ukraine's favour.

Moreover, this is likely the last package that Ukraine can expect from the US until after the November presidential election. If Donald Trump wins, the Ukrainians could find themselves completely cut off from future help. And even if Biden wins, the American public's willingness to provide future $61 billion aid packages will be limited. In the meantime, Russia has many more young men it can throw into the battlefield meat grinder.

The US aid package thus provides a lifeline that can keep the Ukrainians in the fight through the end of 2024. That will give Ukraine's friends in Europe more time to produce and deliver more weapons and ammunition, and it could deal Zelensky a stronger hand in future negotiations to end the war.

But it is unlikely to help Ukraine avoid an eventual partition, one that cedes Russia some illegally taken land in exchange for the European future that most Ukrainians still want. After more than two years of brutal war, that is the painful reality Ukraine faces today.

Ian Bremmer, founder and president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, is a member of the executive committee of the UN High-level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence.


Jordan Times

Legal Disclaimer:
MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.