US promises more military aid to Ukraine as political gesture, ‘nothing significant to change battleground situation’

Russia could exploit victories in South, East Ukraine: experts

 Yang Sheng
Apr 25, 2022

The recent trip by US State Secretary Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was the highest-level American visit to Ukraine’s capital since the Russia-Ukraine conflict started in late February, but analysts said on Monday that the visit is just to show political support and may have a very limited impact on the situation in the battlefield.

After a secrecy-shrouded visit to Kiev, Blinken said Russia is failing in its war aims and “Ukraine is succeeding,” according to CBS News. The visiting US senior officials told Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky that the US would provide more than $300 million in military financing and had approved a $165 million sale of ammunition.

Austin said Zelensky’s response to the aid was deep appreciation, and “he has the mindset that they want to win and we have the mindset that we want to help them win.”

However, analysts disagree with the US officials’ judgment, and said Ukraine is not showing signs of winning and keeps bleeding, and the territory under actual control of the Ukrainian government is also shrinking.

All of those US moves including sending diplomats back to Ukraine are generally for political purposes to prove that Washington has confidence in Kiev, but will do nothing significant to completely change the situation. For instance, how to safely transport those supplies, weapons and ammunition to the Ukrainian forces surrounded by or engaging with Russian troops is a big problem, and who are truly benefitting from the US supplies is also a question, analysts said.

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Cui Heng, an expert from the Center for Russian Studies of the East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Monday that “the only winner of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is the US. Blinken considers Ukraine a proxy of the US, so he believes the US’ victory is Ukraine’s victory.”

Increasing military financing and the sale of ammunition by the US to Ukraine is to extend the conflict, not to overturn the situation or end the conflict as soon as possible, and has no constructive effect on the current situation, Cui noted.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, said corruption in the Ukrainian government and military forces are very severe, so support in terms of money and material can’t make a significant change to the ongoing conflict.

“No one can just use money to buy a modernized army. Russia has noticed that the US will only provide weapons or train military personnel outside Ukraine, but won’t intervene in the situation directly,” Song said.

Russia claimed victory on Thursday in a major battle, declaring the port city of Mariupol “liberated,” with hundreds of Ukrainian troops still surrounded by Russian forces inside a giant steel factory.

“This is a war that Russia cannot lose, so Moscow will try everything to set an achievable goal and accomplish the mission,” Song noted. Some Western media said Moscow will set a deadline on May 9, which is Victory Day to celebrate the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany. Song disagrees, and said that setting a deadline is unnecessary for Russia.

Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Monday that Russia has seen through the US that Washington won’t take any significant actions that could overturn the situation, so it dares to launch the second-phase operation to pursue its goal.

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“Port cities including Odessa and Kherson in the south could be targeted, and Russia could make Ukraine a land-locked country if it is able to control these cities,” and then the possibility of another round of peace talks could emerge, Wang said.

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