Ukraine and the US consider a new strategy after Kiev’s failed counterattack
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Ukraine and the US consider a new strategy after Kiev’s failed counterattack

(Dan Tri) – US and Ukrainian military leaders are looking for a new strategy, which may begin to be implemented next year, to revive Kiev’s fortunes and show Washington’s support for Kiev in the war with Russia.

The US has provided huge military and economic support to Ukraine during the war with Russia (Photo: NYT).

The push for a new approach comes after Ukraine’s months-long counteroffensive failed to meet expectations, and after weeks of tension between top US officials and their allies.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine arrived in Washington on December 11 to hastily arrange meetings this week with his US counterpart Joe Biden and Congress to discuss the immediate direction.

Republicans in the US Congress recently opposed continued financial support for Kiev, sparking fierce debate in the country’s political arena.

`We cannot let Russia win,` President Biden said last week when pressing Congress to approve a new round of funding for Ukraine.

The Russian army, after defeat in the first days, has begun to reverse reality and is rebuilding its military strength.

The US is increasing direct military advice to Ukraine, sending a 3-star general to Kiev to spend more time in the field.

Washington is also promoting a conservative strategy, focused on holding the territory Ukraine currently administers, digging in and building up supplies and forces throughout the year.

The bet is huge

But this is really a huge bet.

Administration officials say Moscow is betting on Washington to reduce its support, citing President Vladimir Putin’s recent statements that if Ukraine runs out of ammunition provided by NATO, Russia will prevail.

Ukraine and the US consider a new strategy after Kiev's failed counterattack

Ukrainians crossed into northern Ukraine after traveling from Russian-controlled land in Ukraine on a bus in November (Photo: NYT).

The US has provided enormous military and economic support to Ukraine, more than $111 billion in the past two years.

But a significant number of Republicans in the US Congress are now firmly opposed to further spending for Kiev while others are demanding a new strategy be considered before voting for any aid money.

American officials say many Ukrainian leaders do not realize how precarious America’s continued funding of the war is.

US officials believe that in the near future Ukraine will have to fight with a tighter budget.

The goal is to have enough leverage to get Russia to consider engaging in meaningful negotiations by the end of next year or in 2025.

At the same time, Ukrainian officials are reviewing strategies that build on last fall’s successful deep-dive attacks on the Crimean peninsula.

A former senior Ukrainian military official said the new plan is being finalized and is `very bold`.

Ukraine’s problem

President Zelensky came to Washington to make a final lobbying effort with his counterpart Biden and members of Congress to secure billions of dollars in US aid.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials are racing to bolster the country’s military capabilities and strengthen ties with allies in case the United States cannot find a way to approve a new aid package to Kiev.

Ukrainian hospitals were flooded with wounded soldiers.

But U.S. officials say Ukraine’s deep incursions into Crimea this fall proved deadly and were a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing counteroffensive.

Ukraine and the US consider a new strategy after Kiev's failed counterattack

Ukraine’s failures occurred before internal disputes broke out in the US over financial support for Kiev (Photo: NYT).

General Christopher Cavoli, the top US commander in Europe, has increasingly played a larger role in coordinating with Ukrainian officials.

While the White House has decided not to send US military advisers permanently in the country, General Aguto’s regular rotation in and out of Kiev will gradually end that restriction.

American and Ukrainian strategists initially did not realize the formidable defensive power of Russian forces.

Russia’s deep defense system includes more large-scale minefields than ever before.

Previously, breakthroughs along the front line could be exploited, allowing the attacking force to gain an advantage before the opponent could react.

Russian UAVs can cut off communications between front-line troops and Ukrainian Command.

Washington considers eastern Ukraine, including the Donbass region, strategically less important than the occupied southern coast.

`They must fight smart and effectively. If Ukraine and the West make the right investments to pursue a long-term strategy, Ukraine can regain the advantage,` said Michael Kofman, senior fellow.

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