With the successful House of Representatives vote on Ukraine aid behind us, the Senate and the White House will move quickly to put the $61bn package into law. No doubt the US military has already been pre-positioning ammunition and equipment so it can deliver key elements of aid as soon as possible.

This was a key moment in ways that not everyone has grasped and reveals significant positives. Some 71% of House members voted in favor, reflecting resounding bipartisan US support for Ukraine at both the political and popular levels. Several congresspeople favoring passage highlighted the growing connections between Russia, Iran, and China, a new axis of authoritarians who are actively working together. This is a clear-eyed assessment of the threat facing the free world.  

In addition, former President Trump gave political cover to Speaker Johnson to proceed with this legislation when they met on April 12. This is a clear sign that if elected President again, Trump does not want to inherit a disaster. While he wants peace, he wants peace through strength, not peace through weakness and capitulation.

So much for the good news. The bad news is that the delays and difficulty in passing the aid bill put US national security at risk and should serve as a warning: this process cannot be allowed to drag on.

We must no longer give Ukraine just enough to survive, but not enough to win. A Ukrainian victory is essential to reestablish peace in Europe, to deter Chinese aggression in Asia, and to reinforce Iranian worries about attacking Israel ever again.  Several measures should be taken immediately:

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Kallas said that training Ukraine’s forces on their territory would not be escalatory, adding that “Russia’s propaganda is about being at war with NATO; they don’t need an excuse.”
  • The Biden Administration must clearly and unequivocally back up President Biden’s statement of December 12: “We want to see Ukraine win the war.” America’s objective is a Ukrainian victory. This message needs clear and consistent repetition from the highest levels of the US government and must be backed up with the policy decisions necessary to make this a reality. There must be no equivocation with the President’s words. We must have strategic clarity. Lower-ranking American officials must stop avoiding the words “win,” “victory,” and “Russian defeat.”  
  • Now that funding is assured, the US military should flood Ukraine with massive quantities of arms and ammunition, as quickly as possible. The Russian military is in a very weak condition, with poor equipment, training, morale, and leadership — but it has made gains in recent months due to Ukraine’s lack of ammunition. Russian forces need to feel a bit of “shock and awe” to understand that the battlefield has now changed, and that time is not on their side. We need to begin deterring Russia against further aggression, rather than assuring it that we seek to avoid “escalation.” Rather than worrying about what Putin might do, Putin should worry about what we might do.
  • As part of this, the Biden administration must lift all artificial and self-imposed limits on aid to Ukraine. The US should provide Ukraine with its longest-range ATACM ballistic missiles, which can reach Sevastopol, the Kerch Strait bridge, and Russian logistical concentrations well behind the front lines. It should stop declaring Russian territory as “off-limits” for Ukrainian targeting, and instead urge Ukraine only to hit militarily relevant targets, which is consistent with international law. It should declare already decommissioned aircraft sitting in the Arizona desert as Excess Defense Articles and begin providing A-10 ground attack aircraft, F-16 combat aircraft, and other airframes to Ukraine in order to build a properly scaled Ukrainian air force that can deny Ukrainian airspace to Russian aircraft.

Reprinted with the author’s permission. See the original as published by CEPA here.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

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