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27 Jan, 2024 13:56

US to change strategy on Ukraine – WaPo

The White House has reportedly shifted its focus to defensive tactics and will no longer help Kiev recapture lost territory
US to change strategy on Ukraine – WaPo

The US is working on a new strategy for Ukraine that would mark a departure from the failed forward push of 2023 and instead focus on frontline defense, the Washington Post has reported. The supposed adjustments come in response to Kiev’s failed counteroffensive last year, the newspaper added.

In an article on Friday, the newspaper quoted a senior White House official explaining that “it will be difficult for [Ukrainian forces] to try to mount the same kind of major push on all fronts that they tried to do last year.” In light of this, the hope is now much less ambitious – to ensure that Kiev does not lose any more ground to Moscow, the unnamed staffer told reporters.

This, however, does not mean that Ukraine’s military will just sit in their trenches, with what is described as a “swapping of territory” still likely in small cities and villages, the source told the WaPo.

Politico similarly reported of a realization in Washington and Brussels that a “total victory” for Ukraine was unlikely, at least in 2024, and that the US and EU are silently redirecting their efforts toward an eventual negotiated settlement.

The Post reported that the Ukrainian army in Zaporozhye Region is already preparing to emulate the Russian defense line that stopped their own advance last summer.

Its Western backers also want Kiev to focus more on long-distance missile strikes against Russian forces, including the Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea.

In the longer term, the Biden administration reportedly hopes to seal a ten-year-security agreement with Ukraine as early as this spring, similar to that recently signed between London and Kiev.

Under the would-be accord, Washington would commit to beefing up Kiev’s military as well as to strengthening its industrial and export base, among other things, the WaPo report claims.

However, these plans hinge on Congress giving the green light to President Biden’s $61-billion funding request, with Republicans appearing as uncompromising as ever, the newspaper pointed out.

According to the report, it is hoped that Washington’s long-term agreement with Ukraine would make it more difficult for the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump to slash aid, should he win the presidential election in November.

Trump has repeatedly called into question his country’s continued generous allocations for Kiev, and vowed, if returned to the White House, to end the bloodshed “in one day, 24 hours.”

Last week, CNN reported that the Biden administration was hoping to get “as much aid [as possible] in before January 2025” amid fears that Trump could throttle back the flow of cash, if reelected.