Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Russian military strategy in Ukraine is currently focused on outlasting the United States’ will to provide equipment rather than making serious advances, Pentagon leadership says.
Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that he can wait for the United States to stop funding Ukraine before recommitting his forces to the attempted conquest of the nation, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
“In Ukraine, Putin has felt that he could wait us out. That’s part of his strategy. The main part of his strategy,” Mr. Austin told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Oct. 31.
“He feels like the West will get tired of supporting Ukraine and he’ll soon have his way.”
Mr. Austin delivered the comments as Congress sought to scrutinize the Biden administration’s recent $105 billion supplemental funding request, which would allocate some $61 billion to Ukraine’s continued defense.
He said that the fates of both Ukraine and Israel are tied up with that of the United States and that what happens in the War in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas War will have lasting national security consequences for America.
“If we don’t support Ukraine, then Putin wins. But Putin will not stop in Ukraine. We know that. We all know that,” Mr. Austin said.
“It is important to remind ourselves that what happens in Ukraine and what happens in Israel matters not only to Ukraine and Israel, it matters to us. It affects our national security as well.”
Future of US-Ukraine Aid in Question
Ukraine’s continued defense against Russia’s ongoing invasion is heavily dependent on international aid.
The United States has approved more than $113 billion in spending packages in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The majority of security aid has been spent through the Department of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who also testified at Oct. 31’s hearing, said that the supplemental included “urgent resources” required for Ukraine’s continued defense and, with it, the defense of Europe against increased Russian aggression.
That aggression, Mr. Blinken said, could result in a war between the United States and Russia.
“There is no doubt in my mind that if Putin [is allowed] to continue to act with impunity ... not only would he not stop at Ukraine and potentially go to a NATO country next, which would potentially invoke our article five obligations to allies and partners, it would send a message to would-be aggressors everywhere in the world that if he can get away with it so can we.”
It isn’t clear how much more the United States can continue to spend, however. More importantly, it isn’t clear if the United States has the political will to spend what it does have.
To that end, three Republican presidential hopefuls have made divesting from the war a priority on the campaign trail.
Former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have all vowed to cut support from Ukraine and to seek peace with Putin.
Moscow may not therefore need to press hard against Ukraine now, but only wait for a more favorable administration to come to power in the United States.
That could mean big trouble for Ukraine, whose recapture of occupied territory will require international mechanisms years in advance.
Mr. Blinken acknowledged that the prospect of continuing to support Ukraine’s defense was a costly affair, but said that the “world full of conflict” that would follow capitulation in Ukraine would be far more expensive in American blood and treasure.
“We are much better sustaining our effort now, seeing this to success, than having to pay a much higher price later when we have to deal with a world full of aggression,” Mr. Blinken said.