In Ukraine and Europe, a concern: Has Putin outlasted the US?


The July 2022 delivery to Ukraine of the sophisticated American HIMARS multiple rocket launcher offered ironclad evidence that the United States would, in President Joe Biden’s words, stand with Ukraine “as long as it takes” to repel Russia’s aggression.

But these days, concerns are growing in Ukraine that the U.S. and some Western partners are tiring of the war Russian President Vladimir Putin launched nearly two years ago.

Why We Wrote This

America’s robust support for Ukraine has resonated across Europe and beyond. Yet as Congress holds up new aid, and Ukraine’s supplies dwindle, comes a question: Has the U.S. support shifted from “as long as it takes” to “as long as we could”?

As Congress sits on a $60 billion Ukraine aid package that Mr. Biden first proposed in October, the idling of air defense systems due to a lack of ammunition is increasingly exposing Ukrainian cities to Russian missile strikes. Some military experts foresee rapidly deteriorating Ukrainian battlefield positions and even accelerating territorial losses in coming months.

Moreover, some predict dire consequences if Washington’s abandonment of Ukraine solidifies a global perception that the U.S. is an exhausted and divided superpower that no longer stands by its word.

“There’s no question that for at least a year, Putin’s strategy has been to wait out the U.S. and Europe,” says Mark Cancian at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “So if we turn our back on Ukraine now it will be vindication of his thinking that in a conflict, the U.S. and NATO will eventually get tired.”

Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines of the war with Russia were jubilant when HIMARS, the U.S. Army’s coveted multiple rocket launcher, arrived on the battlefield in July 2022.

Not only was the launcher considered light-years ahead of the mostly Soviet-era equipment that the Ukrainians had at their disposal. But perhaps even more important, delivery of the sophisticated American weaponry offered ironclad evidence that the United States would, in President Joe Biden’s words, stand with Ukraine “as long as it takes” to repel the Russian aggression.

As recently as last week, a HIMARS rocket attack obliterated a group of elite Russian drone pilots operating in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province.

Why We Wrote This

America’s robust support for Ukraine has resonated across Europe and beyond. Yet as Congress holds up new aid, and Ukraine’s supplies dwindle, comes a question: Has the U.S. support shifted from “as long as it takes” to “as long as we could”?

But these days, the HIMARS is also becoming a symbol of something else.

Amid stalled U.S. assistance, and a trickling supply of arms and ammunition, the launchers are reminders of how the U.S. and some Western partners are tiring of a war Russian President Vladimir Putin launched two years ago next month.

As Congress sits on a $60 billion Ukraine aid package that Mr. Biden first proposed in October, the idling of air defense systems due to a lack of ammunition is increasingly exposing Ukrainian cities to Russian missile strikes. And soldiers are running dangerously low on the ammunition that has enabled them to hold off the Russians.



This article was originally published by a www.csmonitor.com . Read the Original article here. .