There has been the perception of a lull in the war between Russia and Ukraine in the last few weeks. Both sides were taking time to consolidate their gains while no new major offensives were taking place. Then Mariupol fell.
The city had been under siege for weeks. The Ukraine army was unable to liberate the defenders or get them supplies. The stubborn resistance of the besieged Ukrainian soldiers was symbolic of the rest of the conflict.
Although Ukraine is receiving a massive amount of monetary aid and lethal weaponry, they are threatened by a superior Russian force. There have been rumblings of a negotiated peace or ceasefire that would include ceding some land to Putin for the bargain.
Ukraine authorities squelched those rumors this week by publicly stating that there would be no cease-fire or a land for peace deal. This proclamation should be taken with a grain of salt, however. President Zelensky of Ukraine has a habit of saying whatever is necessary to improve negotiation leverage.
When the United States $44 Billion deal hit a roadblock in Congress Zelensky started explicitly stating that he would meet personally with Russian President Vladimir Putin to work out a deal. Immediately a delegation led by Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell made a surprise Ukraine trip to assure Zelensky that the aid was coming. Talk of a face to face between Zelensky and Putin cooled.
The apparent current policy of the United States is to create a protracted Ukraine war that will debilitate the Russian war machine. President Biden and his NATO partners have escalated their response consistently. In the beginning of the conflict aid was limited to defensive weapons and a few billion dollars.
Now, countries are sending offensive weapons, including armor, and tens of billions of dollars. The United States intelligence apparatus and military is providing targeting intelligence for the Ukraine army as well. Even with all of this assistance, it is unlikely that Ukraine can win the war without actual NATO troops on the ground.
Ukraine’s obstinance to a cease-fire may be in Washington D.C.’s best interest but the end result still looks to be a Ukraine defeat. Many more Ukraine soldiers and civilians will die from the current strategy.