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14 Aug, 2023 10:33

US war hawk blames Biden for Kiev’s ‘stalling’ counteroffensive

Ukraine’s lackluster battlefield performance is the natural result of Washington’s hesitancy, John Bolton has claimed
US war hawk blames Biden for Kiev’s ‘stalling’ counteroffensive

Failures in Ukraine’s much-touted counteroffensive against Russia stem from the West’s inability to provide Kiev with the necessary military equipment within a reasonable timeframe, former US National Security Advisor John Bolton has said.

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal published on Sunday, Bolton lamented that Kiev’s long-anticipated push, which started in early June, “isn’t making the headway some proponents had forecast,” adding that the disappointing results must become a “wake-up” call for Washington.

The former White House official – widely regarded as a foreign-policy hawk and who has advocated regime changes in Iran, Syria, Libya, and Cuba – insisted in his article that Kiev’s “inability to achieve major advances is the natural result of a US strategy aimed only at staving off Russian conquest,” while he also urged US President Joe Biden to start “vigorously working toward Ukrainian victory.”

“Ukraine’s offensive failures and Russia’s defensive successes share a common cause: the slow, faltering, non-strategic supply of military assistance by the West,” Bolton claimed, adding that the US-led support for Kiev has been hampered further by speculation that Moscow might escalate the conflict.

Bolton, who served in the Trump administration up to 2019, sought to allay those concerns, insisting that “there’s no evidence” that Russia has conventional military capability to threaten NATO or a desire to launch a nuclear strike. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it adheres to the policy that nuclear war should never be fought, and that it might resort to its atomic arsenal only if the very existence of the state is threatened.

The former national security adviser also dismissed the need for talks between Kiev and Moscow, arguing that these would only benefit Russia. Instead, he suggested that the West and Washington should radically tighten their sanctions regime.

In addition, he called on Washington to slap restrictions directly on China, citing its “enormous support” for Moscow. While Beijing remains Russia’s key trade partner, it has repeatedly denied that it was providing Moscow with military support.

Ukrainian forces initiated a large-scale offensive against Russian lines over two months ago, after being reinforced by hundreds of Western-supplied tanks and armored vehicles. However, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, Kiev has so far failed to gain any significant ground and has lost more than 43,000 service members since the start of the push.

Bolton’s view on the reasons for Ukraine’s difficulties is shared by a number of Ukrainian officials, including President Vladimir Zelensky, who has suggested that without long-range weapons, it’s difficult for Kiev not only to carry out its offensive, but also to hold the frontline.

Moscow has repeatedly warned Western countries against sending military assistance to Kiev, arguing that by doing so, they become engaged in a “proxy war” against Russia.