Life Style

Will Biden’s help for Ukraine be fast enough and long enough?

Throughout 27 months of war in central Europe, President Biden has consistently resisted pressure from many of his allies to let Ukraine join NATO, believing it was a step that could quickly lead to the military America was brought into direct combat with Russia. a war that he feared could escalate and even become nuclear war.

So on Thursday, he laid out a series of new alternative steps, each designed to demonstrate to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and the Ukrainians that the United States and its allies are not intend to pack up and leave, as they did in Afghanistan, even as Ukraine remained outside NATO for many years.

He signed a 10-year security pact – albeit with vague commitments and an early withdrawal option – with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Mr. Biden described the agreement as a long-term guarantee of continued arms supplies, intelligence support, consulting and technology to win the current war and prevent a new one.

And he said the United States would take the lead in providing about $50 billion in loans to Ukraine to rebuild devastated ports and power plants, buy weapons and close budget gaps. The money will be repaid from interest generated on $300 billion worth of assets that Putin, inexplicably, left in Western financial institutions before the February 2022 invasion.

“Our goal is to strengthen Ukraine’s credible defense and deterrence capabilities over the long term,” Mr. Biden said shortly after he and Mr. Zelensky signed the agreement on the southwest coast of Italy, where the Group 7 industrialized countries hold an annual leadership meeting. conference.

“We will not back down,” he added, warning Putin that “he cannot wait for us.”

Mr. Zelensky warmly thanked Mr. Biden, even though the security treaty and loan were far from what he wanted at this critical moment in the war. Mr. Zelensky makes no secret of the fact that it is difficult to focus on Ukraine’s long-term prospects when he is so worried about short-term survival against Russia’s relentless advances.

But the bigger concern for Ukraine’s increasingly beleaguered leader and for Europe as a whole is that the agreements themselves may not survive the results of the US election and the close election. here in Europe.

The security pact, which is based on similar decades-long commitments to Israel, has no funding source — just a U.S. commitment to work with Congress to secure the tens of billions of dollars needed. That could very well mean another fierce fight on Capitol Hill, where the Republican majority in Congress has for months opposed any further commitment of funding and weapons purchases. before. The grant was approved in April.

But the bigger concern for Mr. Zelensky is that Mr. Biden, with whom his relationship has often been contentious, may be attending his final Group of 7 summit. And buried deep in the fine print of the security agreement they so cleverly signed was this paragraph: “Either Party may terminate this Agreement by providing written notice through diplomatic channels.” will “take effect after 6 months”.

That’s exactly the kind of loophole that former President Donald J. Trump exploited with the Iran nuclear deal he abandoned in 2018. Mr. Trump has made no secret of his disdain for Ukraine or his desire to eliminate the United States. Ky from a giant force. Financial commitment there. Instead, he insisted he could end the war in 24 hours – perhaps by telling Mr Putin he could keep the territory he had already occupied.

“That’s the thing,” said Seth G. Jones, director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a prominent Washington think tank, who recently returned from a visit to Ukraine. is a real deal that captures the moment.” “On the one hand, this is a useful step to establish a long-term relationship with Ukraine. On the other hand, it falls very short of what Ukrainians really want: real NATO membership,” unlike the piece of paper that both men signed with such finesse, which is difficult to revoke.

The $50 billion loan, if disbursed this year, would be more difficult for a future president to collect. And the money came at the right time: Ukraine’s budget situation deteriorated to the point of forcing a sale some state assets.

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, who designed the loan plan that leaves Russia’s principal untouched but uses earned interest, said at an event in New York on Thursday that it proved his Putin sees Ukraine’s allies as “completely united.”

“We intend to provide Ukraine with the resources necessary to wage an effective war against Russia and support its direct budgetary needs, and we will provide a significant amount of resources,” she said. very meaningful force”.

“This is the first round and if necessary there will be more rounds,” Ms. Yellen said. “In a sense, we are asking Russia to help compensate for the damage it has caused.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that all members of the Group of Seven would participate in the loan and that the European Union could contribute up to half the amount, an official statement. Senior European officials said. Washington will make a difference.

But this loan is racing against time and Russia’s ability to destroy.

During the first two years of the war, it was thought that time was on Ukraine’s side – that Putin would back down if the war dragged on too long. Now, no one is sure that that is still true.

Until recent days, the Russians for months appeared to have had momentum – although they have now slowed after Mr Biden, reversing himself, allowed Ukraine to fire US-supplied weapons on its side of the border. Russian border near Kharkiv. Mr. Biden and his aides called this a “common sense” move, denying Mr. Putin the opportunity to attack Ukraine without fear of retaliation.

This reversal also stems from the fear that the Ukrainian leader is running out of options. It was clear that he was short on troops and air defense forces. He may be short of time.

Ukraine’s current precarious situation is significantly different from a few months after the 2022 war, when it seemed the Russian army was collapsing. In 2023, there is hope that a Ukrainian “counteroffensive” will push Moscow’s forces out of the country. It failed.

On Thursday, for all the talk of sticking with the fight “as long as it takes,” there was little discussion, at least within earshot of reporters, of an endgame what reality would look like. The new security agreement refers to a “just and lasting peace” without defining what that means – or what happens if the just peace conflicts with the lasting peace.

Mr. Putin also seems to have a very high tolerance for pain — or at least the pain of his troops.

Senior NATO and Western military officials said on Thursday that an average of more than 1,000 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded each day in May. Ukrainian forces are increasingly stepping up offensive operations as More and more Western military aid is finally reaching the battlefield after months of delay.

Russia’s offensive against the northeastern city of Kharkiv has “peaked” and is not expected to continue in the immediate future, a Western military official said. Ukraine’s attacks on artillery bases inside Russia are starting to slow down their attacks.

However, a senior NATO official, who made the assessment at a news conference, said Russia was expected to “conduct a fairly significant effort” in the coming weeks in a move that could bloody rebuttal to any revived Ukrainian military capabilities. And the official said Russia would like nothing more than to celebrate NATO’s 75th anniversary in Washington next month.

“None of us should be under any illusions that this will be an easy summer,” the official said.

Only after getting through that and the upcoming election will Mr. Biden and Mr. Zelensky be able to think together about what Ukraine’s long-term future will look like. Otherwise, all bets are off, including how long the partnership they agreed to on Thursday will actually last.

Lara Jakes Contributing reports from Brussels, Eric Schmitt from Washington and Steven Erlanger from Bari, Italy.


News 7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button