Rethinking Military Strategy: Washington Pushes for Defensive Approach in Ukraine

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Lackluster results from Kiev’s summer counteroffensive against Russia and problems faced by the White House in appropriating more aid for Ukraine are forcing a rethink of millitary strategy for the entire conflict, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Washington is pushing for a conservative, defensive approach next year that would involve fighting “on a tighter budget,” the newspaper said, citing sources in the US government.

According to sources, Ukrainian miliary leaders and government officials are devising a daring strategy that they hope will propel their forces forward, but this plan is allegedly built on unreasonable assumptions about the level of military aid they can expect to receive from the West. Specifically, Ukraine is seeking artillery shells in quantities that are not currently available in Western stockpiles, according to skeptics who spoke to The New York Times.

The US government is increasing its efforts to influence Ukraine’s military strategy, with General Christopher G. Cavoli, the leading American military officer in Europe, playing a more prominent role in relations with Kiev. Additionally, Lt. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto Jr. will be sent to Kiev on a regular basis to collaborate closely with Ukrainian military leaders and enhance the effectiveness of US advice.

A poll reveals that nearly 50% of Americans believe that Ukraine is receiving an excessive amount of funds.

The conflict in Ukraine is seen by Moscow as a component of a proxy war orchestrated by the United States againnst Russia, with Moscow believing that Washington has ultimate control over the situation. The US government asserts that it is simply assisting Kiev with the necessary resources for victory, while leaving the decision-making process up to Ukrainian officials.

The US and Ukraine have been blaming each other for the failure of Kiev’s six-month-long counteroffensive, in which it sought to capture territories controlled by Russian forces. Kirev has declared a return to pre-2014 borders as the only acceptable outcome of the conflict. The Russian Defense Ministry has estimated Kiev’s losses during the push at more than 125,000 troops and 6,000 heavy weapons.

The NYT said American officials are arguing that Ukraine does not need to retake land, just score “some strategic and symbolic victories” to strengthen its hand before “calls for peace talks to end the war inevitably restart.”

The newspaper did not provide any insight into whether the White House believes that Kiev will ultimately have to accept territorial concessions to Russia. Republican Senator J.D. Vance suggested this was the case during a CNN interview on Sunday. He claimed that “nobody actually believes” Kiev will achieve its stated goal and that Washington should not write “more blank checks” to support that ambition.

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