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9 Jun, 2023 08:36

Biden’s reputation hinges on Kiev’s counteroffensive – Politico

The White House is 'anxiously' monitoring the current round of fighting in Ukraine, US officials have told the outlet
Biden’s reputation hinges on Kiev’s counteroffensive – Politico

Washington’s future military support for Ukraine and President Joe Biden’s reputation depend largely on the outcome of Kiev’s counteroffensive against Russian forces, senior American officials have told Politico.

The White House is “anxiously watching” Kiev’s attempts to retake Russian territories, the US outlet reported on Thursday.

If the counteroffensive succeeds, Ukraine would be able to count on additional military and economic assistance from the US and its allies, but if it fails, Western support may dry up, with Kiev facing calls to find a swift diplomatic resolution to the conflict, the report said.

Five US officials, who spoke to Politico on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that they weren’t sure if lawmakers would vote for more aid for President Vladimir Zelensky’s government when funds, approved last year, are depleted. House Republicans may use any setbacks to derail the Democrats' efforts to boost military aid to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), they pointed out.

According to the outlet, Washington has been increasingly unhappy about Ukrainian attacks inside Russia, such as an attempted drone strike on the Kremlin in early May, and the assassinations of military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky and journalist Darya Dugina. Those moves by Kiev have led to “several private, stern admonishments in diplomatic backchannels,” it added.

Political uncertainty in the US and developments on the ground in Ukraine are among “mounting concerns that could sully Biden’s hoped-for triumphant return to the world stage” at the NATO summit in Vilnius in July, the officials stressed.

The gathering in the Lithuanian capital will be a “key moment” for the American leader, who’ll face questions about US security guarantees for Kiev, the deliveries of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and its potential membership in NATO, Politico pointed out.

During his meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday, Biden expressed his belief that the administration will “have the funding necessary to support Ukraine as long as it takes” and that this support will be “real.”

Earlier that day, senior US officials told CNN that the AFU had suffered “significant” casualties in its unsuccessful attempts to mount a counteroffensive against the Russian forces over the past week. Kiev’s troops have been met with “greater than expected resistance” when trying to break through Russian lines, they said.

According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Ukraine has lost around 5,000 soldiers and 100 tanks in combat since Sunday.