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20 Mar, 2023 11:16

Ukraine only has one chance – Czech president

Kiev may not get enough foreign aid to continue fighting next year, Petr Pavel has warned
Ukraine only has one chance – Czech president

With the US set to refocus attention on domestic issues next year, Ukraine may not get funding for continued military action, Czech President Petr Pavel has said. The former army officer said Kiev’s armed forces may therefore have just one shot at conducting a major push against Russian troops.

“The window of opportunity is open this year. After next winter, it will be extremely difficult to maintain the current level of aid,” Pavel told the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita.

“Ukraine will only have one attempt to launch a major counter-offensive,” he added as quoted by the outlet on Monday. If it fails, “it will be extremely difficult to obtain funds for the next one.”

Pavel, a retired general who served as chair of the NATO Military Committee until 2018, predicted that US interest in aiding the Ukrainian army would likely dwindle in 2024. The political focus in the country will shift to the presidential campaign, and US-China relations are likely to be the top foreign policy issue. European nations will likely reduce their funding of Ukraine too, the politician predicted.

He said it was up to Ukraine to decide what constitutes a victory over Russia, which Pavel assured would happen. But if it fails despite all Western help, there will be a “long war of attrition.”

“You cannot pretend that the only possible solution is complete success,” he said.

Pavel’s preferred outcome for the conflict is a weakened Russia that prefers “cooperation, not aggression.” He stated that it would take a change of the “Russian regime from within” before the EU would go back to business as usual with the country.

Kiev has declared full control of the territories it claims sovereignty over as the objective of its military campaign. It has refused talks with Moscow as long as President Vladimir Putin remains in office. Washington, for its part, has pledged to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to defeat Russia.

Russia considers the hostilities in Ukraine to be part of a US-led proxy war, with Ukrainian troops being used as “cannon fodder” by Washington.