Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his US counterpart Joe Biden attend the “G7 + Partner Countries + Ukraine” meeting on the sidelines of the last day of the G7 Summit Leaders’ Meeting in Hiroshima, May 21, 2023. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP
One of the striking contrasts between the Biden administration and the previous one, that of Donald Trump, lies in its disciplined communication. For two and a half years, uncontrolled leaks have been rare and anonymous comments have often been coordinated in high places to get messages across. The succession, since the beginning of August, of articles in the American press purporting to reflect the disappointment and criticism of officials regarding the Ukrainian counter-offensive against the Russian army therefore appears all the more surprising.
Read also: War in Ukraine, live: kyiv continues to respond to criticism of the slowness of its counter-offensive: “It seems that everyone has become an expert on the war”
Divergence between civilians and military? The Biden administration is sticking to its strong line of support for kyiv, despite the likely prospect of a third year of conflict. The US presidential election in November 2024 is already looming and is causing understandable nervousness. Winter is expected to slow or interrupt the Ukrainian push south, despite recent advances around the villages of Robotyne and Verbove and the crossing of the first Russian defense line. The risk of a long accordion conflict, with pushes in both directions, seems high. Some experts do not rule out the hypothesis of a vast Russian offensive towards the Kharkiv region, taken over by kyiv forces in 2022.
“The Ukrainians are currently facing one of the most complex defensive networks we have seen in decades,” recalls Dara Massicot, an expert at the Rand think tank, close to defense circles. The US military doesn’t have much experience dealing with this, without air superiority. » On August 22, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan urged commentators to exercise a certain “level of humility” in assessing Ukrainian operations. Indeed, the American army has no recent experience of a similar theater of operations, with trenches and reinforced defenses, dug by a regular opposing army provided. The counter-insurgency model – if we can speak of a model, given the long-term results – applied in Afghanistan and Iraq is of no use here.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Robotyne, first Ukrainian breach in Russian defense lines
43 billion dollars to Ukraine
Insisting on the “dynamics” of such a conflict, Jake Sullivan refused to speak of an impasse. The advisor recalled that the current maneuvers were “sovereign decisions” by Ukraine, thus ruling out the idea of a form of co-production, which would associate the Biden administration with the absence of massive reconquests. He preferred to emphasize the sustainability of the American commitment, despite growing resistance in Congress, in particular among Trumpist elected officials in the House of Representatives. “Even though there are dissonant voices on the other side, we believe that, deep down, there is still a strong bipartisan base of support for our Ukraine policy and the support and defense of Ukraine. »
You have 67.51% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.