Biden’s team fears the aftermath of a failed Ukrainian counteroffensive
Behind closed doors, the administration worries about what Ukraine can accomplish.
The Biden administration is quietly preparing for the possibility that if Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive falls short of expectations, critics at home and allies abroad will argue that America has come up short, too.
Ukraine’s ever-imminent counteroffensive will attempt to retake Russian-seized territory most likely in the east and south, though for operational reasons no senior officials from Kyiv have detailed specifics.
Publicly, President Joe Biden’s team has offered unwavering support for Ukraine, pledging to load it up with weapons and economic aid for “as long as it takes.” But, if the impending fighting season yields limited gains, administration officials have expressed privately they fear being faced with a two-headed monster attacking it from the hawkish and dovish ends of the spectrum.
One side will say that Ukraine’s advances would’ve worked had the administration given Kyiv everything it asked for, namely longer-range missiles, fighter jets and more air defenses. The other side, administration officials worry, will claim Ukraine’s shortcoming proves it can’t force Russia out of its territory completely.
That doesn’t even account for the reaction of America’s allies, mainly in Europe, who may see a peace negotiation between Ukraine and Russia as a more attractive option if Kyiv can’t prove victory is around the corner.
Inside the administration, officials stress they’re doing everything possible to make the spring offensive succeed.
“We’ve nearly completed the requests of what [Ukraine] said they needed for the counteroffensive as we have surged weapons and equipment to Ukraine over the past few months,” said one administration official who, like others, was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive internal considerations.
But belief in the strategic cause is one thing. Belief in the tactics is another — and behind closed doors the administration is worried about what Ukraine can accomplish.
Those concerns recently spilled out into the open during a leak of classified information onto social media. A top secret assessment from early February stated that Ukraine would fall “well short” of its counteroffensive goals. More current American assessments are that Ukraine may make some progress in the south and east, but won’t be able to repeat last year’s success……………………………………………………………………….. more https://www.politico.com/news/2023/04/24/biden-ukraine-russia-counteroffensive-defense-00093384
No comments yet.