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Foreign Policy Research Institute

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Warning of Twenty

Photo: Servicemen of UAF raise the flag of Ukraine over the liberated village of Visokopilya in Kherson Oblast
Source: Ukrainian truth

Despite the fact that the Ukrainian armed forces have stopped the advance of Russian troops along the entire front line and are steadily maintaining their defense, a significant numerical advantage still remains on the side of the Russian Federation. This makes it impossible for the Armed Forces to take counter-offensive actions to liberate Ukrainian territories occupied by Russian troops. In this regard, in order to increase the effectiveness of the offensive actions of the Armed Forces, Ukraine needs to further increase the supply of weapons and accelerate this process, taking into account the approach of winter, which will significantly complicate the potential advance.

Ukraine's partners abroad, first of all in the USA, understand this state of affairs. The United States has provided major aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, but still there are different groups in Washington that have different visions for further support for Ukraine. At the government level, these are, first of all, 2 groups - Joe Burns, director of the CIA, and Jack Sullivan, Joe Biden's national security assistant, and the second group is represented by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin. The approach of the first group consists in limiting aid in order not to "provoke Putin", the latter - in increasing aid.

Discussions are already underway in the USA regarding further support, and the Ukrainian leadership hopes for the earliest possible start of the Lend-Lease. Understanding this pivotal problem, the solution of which may decide the fate of Ukraine, on August 17, 2022, a group of about 20 American national security experts appealed to the US leadership to increase military support for Ukraine. Among the signatories are: former commanders of NATO's joint forces in Europe Generals Philip Breedlove and Wesley Clark, former US ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst, ex-commander of the US Army in Europe Lt. General Ben Hodges, former ambassadors to Ukraine William Taylor and Marie Yovanovitch, former special representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker and former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, ex-US Ambassador to Russia and NATO Alexander Vershbow.

The letter states that the war in Ukraine has reached a decisive moment and therefore the Biden administration must move more quickly and strategically, in meeting Ukrainian requests for weapons systems. And when it decides to send more advanced weapons, like HIMARS artillery, it should send them in larger quantities that maximize their impact on the battlefield. Experts noted that Ukraine needs long-range systems, ATACMS munitions, with a range of 300 km, necessary to strike Russian military targets anywhere in Ukraine, including occupied Crimea. Ukraine also needs a constant supply of ammunition and spare parts for artillery platforms, supplied from various countries, some of which are not interchangeable.[1]

The group of experts wrote the letter in time, at a period when, as Politico notes, military support for Ukraine began to decrease. Jake Sullivan's approach has already turned out to be a failure, because the Russian leadership perceives US concessions as weakness pushing Kremlin to further aggression. Every new weaponry that came to Ukraine did not lead to a nuclear war, but to an increase in Ukraine's ability to resist. Therefore, the success of the Ukrainian counter-offensive also depends to some extent on which approach - Sullivan/Burns or Blinken/Austin - will be finally chosen in the White House's policy regarding Ukraine. 

The Russian-Ukrainian war approached a decisive point. The Russian Federation is no longer capable of advancing in a broad front. At the same time, the Ukrainian army has not yet received enough weapons for a large-scale counter-offensive operation. While the Russian Federation manages to replenish its losses with new manpower. In such conditions, events at the front largely depend on increasing military aid to provide Ukraine with means that would enable successful offensive actions and lead to liberation of part of the territory before the onset of winter.

1. DEBRA CAGAN, JOHN HERBST AND ALEXANDER VERSHBOW, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS, US must arm Ukraine now, before it’s too late, 08.17.2022,