US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington on May 31, 2022. EVAN VUCCI / AP
The contours of the desirable, the limits of the possible. Joe Biden took up the pen, Tuesday, May 31, in the New York Times, to specify its strategy of support for Ukraine, attacked militarily by Russia. While differences in tone, even in perspective, seemed to be taking shape lately between Washington and the Paris-Berlin axis, which keeps the line open with the Kremlin, the American president wanted, in this forum, to recall the parameters of the commitment of his administration. The latter considers that negotiations will be inevitable between kyiv and Moscow to put an end to the conflict, but that the time has not come to tackle them, as the situation on the ground is unstable and the Kremlin so unavailable.
“It is in our vital national interests to ensure a stable and peaceful Europe,” writes Joe Biden. This therefore places its policy in a form of continuity: coordination with the allies to strengthen the sanctions against Russia, consolidation of the eastern flank of NATO, with the candidacies of Sweden and Finland, and, finally, aid massive military attack on Ukraine, symbolized by the envelope of 40 billion dollars (37.3 billion euros) voted by Congress. In this framework, the Biden administration is crossing a new threshold in sophistication.
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While the Russian army is making progress in the Donbass, Washington has decided to respond to an urgent request from President Volodymyr Zelensky, as part of a new tranche of aid of 700 million dollars. Ukrainian forces will receive multiple rocket launcher systems (Himars), mounted on light armor, on the condition that they are not used to target Russia on its own territory. The firing range of these systems would reach nearly 80 kilometers, an unprecedented asset for kyiv, which will allow it, according to Joe Biden, to “aim more precisely at key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine”. The United States has given up on delivering more sophisticated systems, with a range of 300 kilometers.
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Since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24, the United States has provided kyiv with nearly $3.8 billion in security assistance, mostly in the form of arms deliveries, which are increasingly sophisticated and expensive. Recently, 108 Howitzer artillery systems have been deployed. But the Biden administration only conceives of this aid in the name of supporting Ukrainian sovereignty, of kyiv’s right to defend itself against external aggression.
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