The White House is developing a new defense strategy for Ukraine, focusing on aiding its armed forces to push back Russian attacks and work towards a long-term consolidation of both defense capabilities and the Ukrainian economy, a Washington Post report quoted unnamed White House officials as saying.
One important clause in the document is the need to abandon the goal of getting back control over the occupied territories. At least for the near future.
According to one source, the idea is to give Kyiv the opportunity to hold its ground on the battlefield and to redirect it onto a different trajectory, making it much stronger by the end of 2024.
The new strategy is alleged to be sharply different from last year's approach, which obliged the U.S. and allies supply weapons and equipment to Ukraine and to train it troops in a hope to push back Russian forces from the eastern and southern parts under occupation.
However, this plan failed primarily due to well-fortified minefields and trenches on the front lines from the Russian side, It's clear that for Ukrainians it will be difficult to further exert heavy pressure on all fronts as they tried to demonstrate last year, the outlet cited a high-ranking administration official.
Western countries, according to the report, want Kyiv to focus on a tactic that has been more successful recently – engaging in long-range fighting, deterring the Black Sea Fleet, and tying up Russian forces inside Crimea through missile strikes and diversions.
The U.S. plan is part of efforts by almost three dozen countries, each contributing a document with specific commitments for Ukraine. The U.S. hopes to reach an agreement on the new strategy in the spring of 2024. The 10-year plan will “guarantee” support for short-term military operations by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the buildup of a stronger army, capable of deterring Russian aggression.
Roughly one fifth of Ukrainian sovereign territory (603,000 square kilometers) has been under Russian occupation as of 28 January 2024. Credit: LiveuaMap.com
The stalemate resulting from the formidable Russian defenses is not the only reason the West insists on changing the strategy. The Ukrainian armed forces are depleted, the war fatigue is high, and the weapons reserves are low, while the electoral agendas in the U.S. and the E.U. require answers about the efficacy of Ukraine funding.
It is not clear whether the Ukrainian government will accept the new deal, considering that President Volodimir Zelenski has repeatedly ruled out any land concessions to the Russians and stressed the need to continue the war until total victory.
Kyiv has not commented yet on the report. Nor there is an official confirmation of the new strategy.
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