“We’re here to dig in our spurs,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after convening dozens of nations in Brussels to pledge greater support for Kyiv.
The decision to supply Ukraine with increasingly sophisticated arms such as anti-ship missiles and long-range mobile artillery — capable of destroying significant military assets or striking deep into Russia — reflects a growing willingness in Western capitals to risk unintended escalation with Russia.
The support appears to have emboldened the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, who this week vowed to retake all of Russian-controlled Ukraine, even areas annexed by Moscow long before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion.
But analysts say that despite the surge in outside aid, and strong morale among Ukrainian troops, Kyiv and its backers can hope for little more than a stalemate with Russia’s far bigger, better armed military. Unlike in Moscow’s failed attempt to seize the capital Kyiv, the Donbas battle has played to Russia’s military strengths, allowing it to use standoff artillery strikes to pound Ukrainian positions and gradually expand its reach.
Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO who now heads the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said the battlefield impasse leaves the United States with a stark choice: either continue to help Ukraine…