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Washington Post: US war plans for Ukraine don't foresee retaking lost territory

by Rachel Amran January 27, 2024 8:03 AM 2 min read
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The Biden Administration is reportedly working on a long-term plan for supporting Kyiv that does not anticipate significant territorial gains by the Ukrainian military from Russia in 2024,  the Washington Post reported on Jan. 26, citing unnamed sources. The new plan will seek to de-emphasize winning back territory and instead focus on fending off new Russian advances while strengthening the country's defense and economy.

“It’s pretty clear that it will be difficult for them to try to mount the same kind of major push on all fronts that they tried to do last year,” a senior administration official said.

The hope is now to help Ukraine hold its position on the battlefield, but “put them on a different trajectory to be much stronger by the end of 2024 … and get them on a more sustainable path,” said the senior official, one of several unnamed anonymous sources involved in this story.

The Washington Post reports that this plan is part of an international multilateral effort by nearly three dozen countries to provide long-term security and economic support to Ukraine. Countries in this group are committed to this plan both out of necessity, given the disappointing results of the 2023 counteroffensive, and conviction that a repeat of similar efforts in 2024 would bring the same outcome, as well as a demonstration of enduring resolve against Vladimir Putin.

Each country is preparing a document outlining detailed support strategies for Ukraine spanning up to a decade. The British PM Rishi Sunak unveiled the British plan last week which involved cooperation in the military sphere, maritime security, defense industry, protection of critical infrastructure, and cybersecurity. France is expected to be next.

The United States providing continued support as Ukraine's largest financial and weapons donor is critical for this strategy's success. Although the passage of continued funding for Ukrainian aid still hangs in the balance in Congress, the White House hopes to release its 10-year plan in the coming months.

Reports of Western countries encouraging Ukrainian leadership to negotiate an end to the war by ceding territory to Russia have grown in frequency since August of last year, particularly as Putin allegedly claims to be open to ending the war on the condition that Russia absorbs currently occupied Ukrainian territory.  

Kyiv said categorically that a full Russian withdrawal is a condition for any talks. Ceding territory to Russia also violates both President Volodymyr Zelensky's 1o-point peace formula and the wishes of the vast majority of Ukrainians.

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