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What will and what won't be changed by the approval of U.S. aid?

1 May, 2024 Wednesday
12:23

Let's try to analyze how the approved U.S. aid package amounting to $61 billion will affect the course of the war, Ukraine's international standing, and public sentiment

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Approval of the aid package will not bring back the lost time and, most importantly, the lost lives that have largely resulted from this delay. In addition, the morale of society and the Ukrainian Defense Forces has also been affected. And no, this time cannot be turned back. And it is far from certain that everything lost due to the delay can be fully restored and 100% compensated. Therefore, we will see more and more tactical successes of the Russians for at least a few more weeks.

Yes, the lost time, the lack of sufficient weapons to compensate for the Russians' numerical superiority and air superiority (with the damned KABs) have a very high price. It is difficult to say whether they will reach the Sloviansk-Kramatorsk agglomeration or Pokrovsk in this process.

Therefore, we can state that this delay is Putin's biggest victory since the onset of the war. Both in foreign policy and with consequences for the internal stability of Ukrainian society and the combat capability of the Defense Forces. 

On the flip side, I've encountered projections suggesting that this package, to be gradually implemented, represents something akin to a "victory package." Military expert Malomuzh suggested that with the weaponry supplied by the United States in the latter half of summer, Ukraine might transition to offensive maneuvers. However, I find these predictions overly optimistic, stemming from the typical mindset of "things were bad, they got better, so they'll keep improving." To prepare for significant offensive actions, Ukraine will need to go a far more extensive path than it did in the summer of 2022 or spring of 2023.

But. Weapons and ammunition from this package (as well as additional supplies from Europe) will definitely buy us time, narrow Russia's ability to conduct offensive actions, and give us the opportunity to adapt. 

As far as I understand the logic of the Russians, their plan was as follows

  1. To combine tactical offensive actions on the front (which we are seeing now) with a massive information and psychological attack on society and the Defense Forces.
  2. Then, when the US does not provide assistance, when it limits European assistance with the help of its agents, when Ukrainian society is demoralized by this betrayal by its partners and by Russian PSYOPs, launch a strategic offensive in the summer.
  3. And then they will see whether to capture as much as they can (the main target would be Kharkiv and the Kramatorsk agglomeration) or force Ukraine to surrender and accept most of Russia's conditions.

The aid packages from the Europeans, the approval of American aid, and the drift of many American politicians toward greater support for Ukraine are all thwarting these plans. Because the window of opportunity from now until the arrival of the "Czech" package of shells (end of May - June) and American aid significantly narrows Russia's options - they will have to stop dreaming about capturing Kharkiv or reaching the administrative borders of the Donetsk region.

American weapons, Czech shells, and aid packages from other countries open up opportunities and time for Ukraine to:

  1. Stabilize the front line and have time to form deep fortifications. 
  2. Prepare reserves at least for additional rotation opportunities. It is still very difficult to analyze the feasibility of offensive actions.
  3. Stabilize the situation inside the country, restore critical infrastructure after the Russian attacks, and calm the public's spirits a bit.

It is quite possible that with such support, the Defense Forces will be able to break Russian logistics, reduce the degree of Russian dominance in the air, and level the advantage in artillery. But expectations should not be inflated. This is not a turning point, although under certain conditions it is the first step towards it.

Nor should we expect a change in the stance of the Trumpists. That is why we still need to look for opportunities to diversify supplies and financing, and think about the war "from a defense standpoint." Both in the military, diplomatic and economic sense. At least until November, when the intentions of the new or new/old administration become clear. 

Source

About the author. Yuriy Bohdanov, publicist, specialist in strategic communications in business, public administration and politics.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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