The US and Ukrainian military commands are actively working together to seek a fresh a new strategic approach to continuing the war against Russia in 2024, according to reports in The New York Times (NYT), citing officials from both countries.
“The stakes are huge. Without both a new strategy and additional funding, American officials say Ukraine could lose the war,” the publication contends.
US officials warn that unless there's a shift in strategy, 2024 might resemble 1916 - the deadliest year of World War I – during which numerous young lives were lost, and the battle lines barely moved.
Washington advocates for a “hold and build” strategy, urging Ukraine to hold its current positions, fortify its military capability, and focus on building its ability to produce its own weapons during 2024.
This approach, according to US officials, would empower Ukraine to withstand potential future Russian offensives.
The strategy's ultimate goal is to establish a credible deterrent, compelling Russia to consider peace negotiations by the close of 2024 or in 2025.
Conversely, Ukrainian representatives, are more in favor of an offensive strategy involving ground assaults or long-range strikes, according to NYT.
Drawing inspiration from successful deep strikes on Crimea in the previous fall, Ukrainian planners are contemplating tactics that target weapons factories, depots, railway lines crucial for transporting ammunition to achieve symbolic victories that will destabilize Russia.
While a former senior military official from Ukraine refrained from divulging details, he acknowledged the development of a “very bold” new plan.
Both American and Ukrainian officers plan to refine the specifics of their strategy during war games in scheduled to take place in Wiesbaden, Germany, in January.
The call for a revamped strategy is a direct result of the setbacks suffered during the Ukrainian counteroffensive and concerns over waning support from the US Congress.
Ukrainian representatives are uncertain about the sustainability of ongoing US support while at the same time, according to US officials, they harbor unrealistic expectations regarding American aid.
“They are asking for millions of rounds of artillery, for example, from Western stockpiles that do not exist,” American officials said.
American officials are cautioning their Ukrainian counterparts that any support approved by Congress is unlikely to match the scale of assistance provided during the initial two years of the war - which is more than $111 billion.
At the same time US strategists insist that Ukraine shouldn't necessarily aim to reclaim all of the nearly 20 percent of the country it has lost, in order to achieve victory in the war. This stance starkly contrasts with Kyiv's avowed aims which sees the only path to victory being “returning to the borders of 1991.”
“Strengthening their defenses and building up their own abilities to produce more weaponry, could be enough to strengthen Ukraine’s hand when calls for peace talks to end the war inevitably restart,” American officials are quoted as saying by the NYT.
Republican senators last week blocked a White House request for $106 billion in emergency aid primarily intended for Ukraine and Israel.
Conservatives said they would refuse the package for these close foreign allies unless Democrats and the White House also agreed to far-ranging immigration reforms.
At the same time, Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to a $175 million package as being “one of the last” that could be offered to Ukraine with the money that has already been approved by Congress.
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