The United States and Ukraine have largely been in lockstep since President Joe Biden’s administration pledged support for “as long as it takes” in resisting Moscow’s relentless invasion.
But more than a year into the war, there are growing differences behind the scenes between Washington and Kyiv on war aims, and potential flashpoints loom on how, and when, the conflict will end.
“The administration doesn’t have a clear policy objective and a clear goal. Is it to drag this thing out, which is precisely what Vladimir Putin wants?” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Is it to just give them enough to survive and not to win? I don’t see a policy for victory right now, and if we don’t have that, then what are we doing?”
Publicly, there has been little separation between Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, an alliance on full display last month when the American president made his covert, dramatic visit to Kyiv. But based on conversations with 10 officials, lawmakers and experts, new points of tension are emerging: The sabotage of a natural gas pipeline on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean; the brutal, draining defense of a strategically unimportant Ukrainian city; and a plan to fight for a region where Russian forces have been entrenched for nearly a decade. [Continue reading…]