Ukraine welcomes US aid, doubts Russia’s defeat

Tamara was three months pregnant when she was forced to hide in the frigid basement of her home in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. 

“We could do nothing but pray when [Russian bomber] aircraft were above us,” she recalled, referring to the commencement of the war in February 2022, which devastated her city and compelled two-thirds of its 300,000 inhabitants to flee

She was present on April 17, when Russian missile strikes in this area claimed the lives of eighteen and injured dozens more. 

“Why is the West unable to comprehend that each day of the delay results in additional fatalities?” she questioned on Saturday in front of a 17th-century church with golden domes, where a memorial service for the victims was about to commence. 

Since October, the US House of Representatives has been mired in debate over military aid from the United States due to opposition from House Republicans allied with former President Donald Trump. She was referring to this situation. 

The House ultimately approved the $61 billion package later on Saturday, to the relief of millions of Ukrainians. 

The measure includes $23 billion to expand future military transfers and replenish stockpiles of American-made weapons. 

An additional $14 billion will be allocated toward the procurement of sophisticated weaponry directly from American military contractors. Additionally, $11 billion will be utilized to finance United States military operations in the region, provide training for the Ukrainian military, and enhance intelligence collaboration between Kyiv and Washington. 

In the $8 billion in non-military aid, salaries for the administration of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be supported, among other initiatives. 

An illustrative “handout”?

A leading military expert from Ukraine stated that the bundle would not alter the course of the conflict. 

The assistance has the potential to “improve the situation” along the 620-mile-long (1,000-kilometer) front line, according to former deputy chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces, Lieutenant General Ihor Romanenko. 

However, he described the aid as “no more than a handout to demonstrate that we have not been forgotten“. 

“They consistently arrive late, apply the brakes out of fear,” he stated. “Everything is being done to catch up [with Russia], but those who act first win wars.” 

The package contains 155mm projectiles for NATO-standard artillery and antitank guided missiles, which may put an end to the desperate “shell hunger” of outgunned Ukrainian forces. 

Additionally, armored vehicles, missiles, and air defense munitions are present. 

Romanenko stated that to advance and win the war rather than merely contain Russian forces, Ukraine requires F-16 fighter aircraft, longer-range missiles with more advanced warheads, and improved air defense capabilities. 

Over the past few months, Ukrainian positions on the eastern front have been inundated with “glide bombs” dropped by Russian aircraft, which has resulted in the capture of the strategic bastion of Avdiivka. 

Wings and guidance systems affixed to the bombs, which contain a half-tonne of explosives, enable them to destroy fortifications and hideouts that were once impregnable. 

“You collect the remains of your comrades-in-arms in a plastic bag after surviving a bombing,” a Ukrainian serviceman stationed in Avdiivka explained. 

Ukraine has consistently demanded that the West furnish it with F-16s, capable of shooting down and relocating Russian bombers. 

In contrast to the pledges of 45 fighters made by other NATO members, Washington has declined to contribute its aircraft. 

In July, however, will Kyiv begin receiving the initial six. 

The Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), an additional vital weapon, was also a subject of reluctance on the part of the White House. It was concerned that Kyiv might employ it to launch strikes deep within Russia. 

Ukraine obtained a shipment of obsolete ATACMS missiles in September and employed them to launch attacks against two military bases situated in regions occupied by Russia. 

Recent ATACMS missiles with a maximum range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) have been supplied to Ukraine in secret, according to a report by Reuters on Wednesday. Ukraine welcomes US aid, doubts Russia's defeat

The armaments struck a military airfield in Crimea, which Russia has annexed, on April 17, destroying or severely damaging three radar stations and four advanced S-400 air defense systems, according to the statement. 

Resupply assistance, but “not for an advance.”

Other analysts concurred that the purpose of the assistance package is to maintain Ukraine in a defensive position, preventing it from regaining occupied territory through a counteroffensive. 

Nikolay Mitrokhin of Bremen University in Germany said that the assistance “is an unexpectedly exact match for the Ukrainian military’s needs, which is primarily short of air defence weaponry of all types and must also replenish its stockpiles of tank destroyers, anti-infantry landmines, and other types of ammunition.” 

“Delivering infantry and other ground troops to the front line is obviously necessary, but not for an advance; otherwise, the United States would have supplied tanks,” he explained. 

Critics who are intimately familiar with the requirements of the Ukrainian military lament the dearth of counteroffensive armaments. 

Oleksandr Antybysh, a volunteer with the Take Back Our History organization in Chernihiv, said, “It is critical that the aid not only helps us contain the enemy on Ukrainian soil, but also resettles [Russia] to the borders that Ukraine occupied in 1991.” 

Ukraine may, nevertheless, befall a considerably more perilous political snare. 

An analyst based in Kyiv stated that by including the Ukraine package in a measure that also provides military aid to Israel and Taiwan, the United States demonstrates to the world that it is on par with China regarding Russia and Iran, the archenemies of Ukraine and Israel. 

“China has been dealt a severe geopolitical slap,” Aleksey Kushch stated. 

The bill was approved before the commencement of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Wednesday visit to Beijing. 

The United States has consistently advocated for China to restrict Russian companies’ ability to transact in yuan and export dual-purpose goods, including machine tools, computer processors, and civilian drones, which are capable of being utilized in the production of arms. 

The pressure may compel Beijing to pursue closer ties with Moscow, which could result in Beijing receiving additional economic benefits from Moscow, which has redirected its hydrocarbon exports eastward in response to sanctions imposed by the West over the Ukraine conflict. 

“With last year’s trade volume between Russia and China reaching $240 billion, the United States’ pressure on Beijing results in greater discounts for oil and gas that China receives from Russia,” Kushch explained.

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