Given Putin’s latest comments on Ukraine’s dependency on US aid, some argue that his main strategy to destroy Ukraine relies on convincing the West to stop funding the country. Given the recent revelations in Washington, could Putin’s plan come to fruition?
Trump’s Proposal End to Ukrainian Conflict
Former President Donald Trump once boasted that he could swiftly resolve the conflict in Ukraine “within 24 hours” if re-elected, however, he is known to strongly oppose Ukraine’s funding.
A Win for Russia if Trump’s Elected?
Trump’s strategy to end the war in Ukraine would most likely involve giving Russia a large slice of the pie, resulting in the destruction of Ukraine.
Putin’s Promises Aren’t What They Seem
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s more cautious forecast of concluding the war in a week if circumstances align favorably, AKA Ukraine giving up their entire country.
Putin’s Unfair Strategy and Predictions for a Resolution
At the annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting, a platform friendly to the Kremlin’s views, Putin presented his perspective on the matter.
“Ukraine Would Crumble”
He asserted that “Ukraine would crumble” if the West withdrew military aid and economic assistance.
Ukraine’s Alleged Reliance on the West
Putin argued that a sudden halt to such aid could bring about the end of Ukraine’s defense capabilities “within a week,” showing that his solution to peace is to destroy Ukraine.
Putin’s Belief in Ukraine’s Vulnerability
Putin’s remarks show that his strategy for Ukraine counts on fractures within the Western alliance supporting Ukraine as the prolonged, brutal war of attrition continues, “By and large, the Ukrainian economy cannot exist without external support,” he said.
Ukraine Has a Week to Live in This Scenario
Putin hypothetically argued that if the West took away Ukraine’s military aid, then they would only have a week to survive, “you will only have a week to live when the ammunition runs out.”
Assessing Putin’s Long-Term Strategy
Putin’s strategy relies on both dysfunction in Washington and strain within the transatlantic alliance.
Fueling Putin’s War of Perception
It also relies on winning a battle of perception — if Ukraine is viewed as a losing cause, the Kremlin believes its patrons will withdraw their support.
Concerns Arising From Recent Developments in Washington
President Joe Biden signed a stopgap bill to avert a government shutdown, yet funding for Ukraine became a casualty in the congressional brinksmanship.
US Government Removes Ukraine’s Unconditional Funding
Although this measure keeps the US government running temporarily until November 17, it allocates no additional funds for Ukraine.
The Vital Role of US Assistance in Sustaining Ukraine
Throughout the conflict, the US has been a vital lifeline for Ukraine, pledging approximately $113 billion, including direct military aid, financial infusions, and humanitarian support.
Uncertainty in US Assistance Due to Political Transition
The recent ousting of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has cast uncertainty over the immediate prospects of a new assistance package. Without a permanent speaker, legislative business in the House remains on hold.
Alternative Options for Sustaining Ukrainian Military Supplies
The administration does have some alternatives. The Pentagon Comptroller has pointed out the possibility of replenishing Ukraine’s diminishing military supplies using the Presidential Drawdown Authority.
Republicans Want US to Take a Step Back
Resistance from far-right Republican lawmakers posed significant doubts about sustained long-term aid to Ukraine, particularly during a substantial counteroffensive.
Republican Presidential Nomination’s Influence on Ukraine Support
The Kremlin is undoubtedly mindful that several GOP candidates expressed skepticism about aiding Ukraine, with Trump leading the pack, known for his unfavorable stance towards Ukraine.
EU’s Role in Supporting Ukraine
European Union members contribute approximately 39% of direct military assistance to Ukraine.
Slovakia Majority Backs Russia
Putin seems to be banking on European weariness towards Ukraine, capitalizing on recent populist victories in EU and NATO member states, such as Slovakia, where anti-Ukraine sentiments prevail.
Ukraine’s Resilience Beyond Geopolitical Calculations
Not everyone shares this view, particularly Ukrainians. Tymofiy Mylovanov, the president of the Kyiv School of Economics, reminded Putin that Ukrainians would fight for survival regardless of Moscow’s designs to isolate his country.
A Glimpse Into the Future
The outcome of Ukraine’s defense is not solely determined by actions on Capitol Hill and despite grim headlines and attacks, Ukraine’s determination to fight remains steadfast, showcasing its resilience beyond US and Western support.
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