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US aid gives Kyiv respite but battlefield shift remains far off

Daryna Krasnolutska, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

U.S. approval of more than $60 billion in aid throws a lifeline to Ukraine’s beleaguered military, though it’s unlikely to turn the tide in the war on its own.

Much will depend on how quickly U.S. assistance can get to the front line after the House of Representatives approved the military and economic assistance on Saturday. As the package was stalled for six months in Congress, Kyiv’s military has grappled with an ever-more acute shortage of ammunition and manpower, while Kremlin forces press their advantage.

The aid offers a respite to Ukraine’s military and will help it slow the Kremlin’s advances, conduct an “effective defense” and minimize losses, according to Mykola Bielieskov, research fellow at the National Institute for Strategic Studies in Kyiv. But more aid is needed to go further, he said, a difficult prospect in the U.S. with Republican resistance in Congress.

“The question is whether there will be aid and in what volume in 2025 and beyond — as Putin’s strategy is to wait it out,” he said.

Russia has escalated its barrages of missile and drone attacks as the war crossed over into a third year, decimating swathes of Ukraine’s power-generating infrastructure and destroying residential buildings in city centers. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the U.S. legislation, which should clear further hurdles this week, will bolster his military.

“We did lose the initiative,” Zelenskyy told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “Now we have all the chance to stabilize the situation and to overtake the initiative.”

 

The legislation is set to make it to President Joe Biden’s desk this week after the Senate takes up the package as soon as Tuesday. The U.S. Defense Department could get weapons moving to Ukraine “very quickly” once the aid flows, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said last week.

Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., said Friday that delivery logistics have been in the works all along.

“The Pentagon and our Defense Ministry didn’t stop working daily together at finding weapons, identifying them and such packages are being prepared,” Markarova told Ukrainian television.

Some of the equipment, which will likely include longer-range Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, could be on the way by the end of the week, Democrat Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

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