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18 May, 2023 21:19

Ukraine has ‘five months left’ to impress US – FT

The West cannot keep its military aid to Kiev flowing “forever,” several senior officials told the Financial Times
Ukraine has ‘five months left’ to impress US – FT

Ukraine has five months to demonstrate some “advances” to the US and other Western backers, to convince them of its plans for the conflict with Russia, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing several European and American officials.

Washington is entering an election cycle and has to show that the massive military support the US and its allies have been providing to Ukraine has not been in vain, the paper also said.

“It is important for America to sell this war as a successful one, as well as for domestic purposes to prove that all of those aid packages have been successful in terms of Ukrainian advances,” a European official told the FT.

The polls show that public support for Ukraine is waning in the US, and President Biden’s administration has to show that the tens of billions of dollars it spent on assistance for Kiev made a major difference on the frontlines, the media outlet said.

According to FT sources, Washington believes the next five months are critical to the outcome of the conflict. “If we get to September and Ukraine has not made significant gains, then the international pressure on [the West] to bring them to negotiations will be enormous,” another source told the FT, on condition of anonymity.

September will see the UN General Assembly and G20 leaders’ summit take place one after another. Both events could be used to make the warring parties sit down at a negotiating table, FT said.

The Western military support for Kiev is also about to reach its limits, the sources warned. “The message [to Kiev] is basically that this is the best you’re going to get,” a European official told the paper. “There’s no more flexibility in the US budget to keep writing checks, and European arms factories are running at full capacity.”

The US continues to be Ukraine’s biggest backer when it comes to arms supplies. Washington’s allies are concerned about its capacity to maintain that support and expect it to decrease in 2024 amid a US presidential election. “We can’t keep the same level of assistance forever,” a European official said, adding that the current level of support might be sustained for a year or two but no longer.