A top Ukrainian general’s assessment that the war with Russia is a stalemate is fueling partisan passions as a debate on whether to bolster Kyiv with more weapons roils Congress.
The stunning admission by Gen. Valery Zaluzhnyy, commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, is reverberating on Capitol Hill — where Republicans are arguing his comments are a reason to rethink America’s as-long-as-it-takes support for Kyiv. And that could make Ukraine’s uphill climb against Russia and in the halls of Congress even steeper.
Without a sudden boost in technological superiority, “there will most likely be no deep and beautiful breakthrough” against Russia, Zaluzhnyy told The Economist in an interview posted Wednesday night. The war is at a stalemate, he said, and took the blame for believing Russian President Vladimir Putin would change course after losing roughly 150,000 troops. “In any other country such casualties would have stopped the war.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a skeptic of more aid to Kyiv, said that Zaluzhnyy’s candor blew a major hole in the administration’s Ukraine policy. Their pitch, Hawley contended, is “we need to keep funding Ukraine, in all aspects, not just militarily, we need to provide money for their pensions and all the rest so that it can remain a stalemate.”
“That naturally raises the question: What exactly is our endgame strategy?” he asked. “What’s the plan here? I don’t think they have a plan.”
Zaluzhnyy’s assessment is “consistent with what we’ve been informed,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “There was hope that they would make more gains,” he continued, hoping that Ukraine can hold what it has taken back from Russia with America’s support. Ukraine has only advanced about 10 miles since the counteroffensive started in the summer. [Continue reading…]