Amid demonstration of unity, Zelensky and Biden disagree on military supplies
The West continues to limit the supply of arms to Ukraine, fearing a big war.
Behind smiles, handshakes, and a new $1,85 billion military aid package, the Ukrainian president and his advisers continue to push Washington to provide advanced weapons that it doesn't want to do. Joe Biden. About it пишет The Washington Post.
The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the editors.
In addition to sincere expressions of Ukrainian gratitude and firm promises of continued American support, President Vladimir Zelensky and President Biden met on Wednesday with specific, and sometimes different, goals for their meeting.
With a $47 billion U.S. aid package requested by Biden for 2023, both have sought to win support for a new Republican-led House of Representatives taking office next month.
For Zelensky himself, the goal was call for more powerful weaponsto boost Ukraine's ability to launch a major offensive against entrenched Russian forces next year. There was little sign that he was doing well, at least in the short term.
Zelensky's adviser Michael Podolyak included four items in the top five needed weapons that the Biden administration refused to offer or help provide, including advanced battle tanks and long-range missiles. The fifth point - the Patriot air defense system - was included in the new help package.
U.S. Department of Defense officials have said that Ukraine already has enough tanks and that the American M1 Abrams requested by Kyiv are too complex to maintain and operate. Asked at a joint press conference with Zelensky about missiles that would allow Ukrainian forces to hit targets inside Russia, Biden warned that such weapons can destroy the unity of NATO in support of Ukraine, since the countries included in the alliance are not going to fight with Russia.
Thus, the fact that there is unanimity in the fight against Moscow does not mean that Washington and Kyiv are in step.
There is three different models of what an end to the war might look like through negotiations, each of which has supporters in the Biden administration. One of them, part of a peace plan proposed by Zelenskiy last month, involves Russia withdrawing from all of Ukraine it currently occupies, including Crimea and areas of eastern Donbas it seized in 2014. The other is a retreat to the lines of 2014. The third level of withdrawal will include Donbass, but not Crimea.
Zelensky made it clear that he would not support the last two options, noting that peace can only come when the Russian occupiers retreat from all occupied territory.
On the final annual meeting at the Ministry of Defense of Russia and president Vladimir Vladimirovich Putinand the Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu announced new initiatives that were indirect recognition of previous failures. Shoigu proposed to increase the size of the armed forces from 1 million this year to 1,5 million, deploy 20 new divisions and change the mobilization structure.
Putin said he approved of the changes, but noted combat issues that needed to be "specially addressed," including communications, command and control, and counter-battery warfare. He instructed Shoigu to provide Russian troops, many of whom are poorly equipped, with weapons, first-aid kits, rations and footwear "at the most advanced and highest level."
While Ukraine's top military leadership has said it expects a renewed Russian offensive, possibly even against Kyiv, within the next few months, a senior State Department official said the United States believes that The Kremlin is in conflict, with some Russian officials eager to capture more territory and others concerned about whether their forces are ready for major military operations.
But while there may be some internal disputes over tactics, according to US officials, no one has been found in the Kremlin. no controversy when it comes to strategy, or indications of serious proposals for the Russians to cut their losses, retreat, and seek peace.
Some senior Ukrainian officials claim that the only way to stop a Russian air attack is to hit where it started. We are talking about combined strikes against stationary targets of the enemy, primarily against airfields based on Russian attack aircraft, areas of launch sites for ballistic and cruise missiles. For this Ukraine needs long-range missiles, in particular, the US Army Tactical Missile System known as ATACMS, which appeared on Podolyak's wish list.
Other items on his list are Leopard and Marder battle tanks from Germany and M1 Abrams tanks from the US. They are equally unlikely in the short term.
Germany on Wednesday reiterated its reluctance to provide tanks until the US does so first. While one of Germany's priorities is “support Ukraine as much as we can” и "keep NATO out of direct conflict with Russia". Third, Germany will not go it alone. The fact is that to date, not a single Western-made main battle tank has been delivered to Ukraine.
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