Explainer-In Third Year of War, Why Ukraine’s Fate Hinges on West

Explainer-In Third Year of War, Why Ukraine's Fate Hinges on West

The conflict in Ukraine has now entered its third year, and its outcome is not solely determined by events on the battlefield. Beyond the front lines, the decisions made in Western capitals and other distant places play a crucial role.

With Ukrainian forces facing challenges such as ammunition shortages and strategic retreats in certain areas, Kyiv’s ability to resist Russia’s invasion heavily relies on support from Western nations, both militarily and politically.

Several key factors may influence the level of Western assistance to Ukraine in the coming year. One significant aspect is a pending bill in the U.S. Congress that includes approximately $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, a substantial portion of which is earmarked for military assistance. The passage of this bill is deemed crucial by Western and Ukrainian officials for bolstering Kyiv’s defenses.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the urgency of the situation, warning that delays in providing support could result in further casualties on the Ukrainian front lines. While the bill passed the U.S. Senate in February, it faces resistance from House Republicans aligned with former President Donald Trump, potentially prolonging the process.

Another critical issue is the supply of ammunition, given the intensification of artillery exchanges between Ukrainian and Russian forces. Analysts suggest that Russia’s artillery capabilities currently outpace Ukraine’s, highlighting the importance of Western assistance in closing this gap.

Furthermore, Ukrainian leaders are advocating for the delivery of advanced weapons systems from Western allies, particularly long-range missiles capable of striking deep into Russian-held territory. However, decisions regarding such arms transfers are subject to political considerations and approval processes, potentially complicating the situation.

The ongoing conflict in the Middle East, particularly the war in Gaza, has diverted some attention and political energy away from Ukraine. Any further escalation in that region could further diminish Western focus on the Ukrainian crisis, making it challenging to rally international support.

Additionally, the upcoming NATO summit in Washington may influence the political landscape surrounding Ukraine, albeit indirectly. While Ukraine and its supporters continue to push for closer ties with the military alliance, resistance from key NATO members, including the United States and Germany, remains a significant hurdle.

The U.S. presidential election also looms large over the situation, with former President Trump’s stance on NATO and Russia contrasting with that of the current administration. President Joe Biden’s decision to seek re-election reflects his belief in his ability to navigate foreign policy challenges, including the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

However, public opinion polls indicate a tight race between Biden and Trump, with various domestic concerns shaping voter perceptions. Trump’s legal troubles could also impact his political prospects, potentially influencing the future direction of U.S. policy towards Ukraine and beyond.