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US State Department: 'We do not believe Putin has advantage in the war'

by Olena Goncharova February 22, 2024 5:26 AM 2 min read
U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller speaks to reporters during a press briefing on July 17, 2023. (Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The U.S. does not believe that Russian leader Vladimir Putin has gained the upper hand in the war against Ukraine amid the capture of Avdiivka and the failure of Congress to pass a large-scale aid package for Ukraine.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a press briefing on Feb. 21 that one needs to look "at the shape of this conflict over the past not just two years."

"Yes, you have seen Russia make gains on the battlefield," Miller said. "We saw gains just over this week – this last weekend because Ukraine was not able to properly resupply its troops, in large part because Congress has not taken the action that we think it should to continue to support Ukraine as it fights to defend its territory."

The future of U.S. military aid to Ukraine has become an especially significant issue over recent days with the Ukrainian withdrawal from the heavily-battered city of Avdiivka.

Two days before Ukraine's formal retreat from the city, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the city was at risk of falling to Russian hands, citing Ukraine's critical shortage of artillery shells as a significant contributing factor.

The Senate passed the $95 billion funding request, including assistance for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, earlier this month. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has so far refused to put it to a vote in the House, instead declaring recess until the end of February.

Miller noted that Ukraine has made remarkable advancements on the battlefield, particularly in the Black Sea region, where the troops successfully repelled the Russian fleet and established a new shipping route.

"(Ukraine) has opened up a new shipping corridor that has allowed them to export not just wheat and grain, but also other manufactured goods through the Black Sea, something that was not possible in the early days of the war when Russia had blockaded Ukrainian ports," Miller said, adding that "...we’ll continue to support them to the best of our ability, but we need a partner in Congress to help us."

Once Congress approves a foreign aid bill allocating $60 billion to Kyiv, the United States can promptly initiate the delivery of defense assistance to Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said on Feb. 20.

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