Without important help from the US military, there is a big risk that Ukraine could eventually lose the war, even if not right away.
President Zelensky is in Washington to ask Congress to approve a $60 billion aid package. It’s been delayed because of a disagreement over US border security. He hopes to convince them to pass it.
On Sunday, the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, said that Ukraine is in serious danger and needs ongoing help from America to survive.
Western authorities told the BBC that they believe the US government will find a solution to the current problem. President Biden may achieve his goals, but people will still have concerns about the position of the US. During a year when a president is chosen, things will be even more unpredictable.
America has given the most military help to Ukraine, not Europe.
Europe is on its way to giving more economic help to Ukraine than the US. The US has a strong military support lead.
The Kiel Institute keeps track of how much support countries give. They say the US has given €44bn of military equipment. Germany, the biggest giver in Europe, has given €18 billion.
The US has been very important in helping Ukraine in its war and has also been the main organizer of that help.
Jack Watling from the Royal United Services Institute says it plainly: “Europe can’t replace what the US was giving. ”
He thinks Europe missed the chance to make more weapons and equipment in the last two years.
“He says there isn’t enough manufacturing capacity because European countries haven’t invested properly. ”
For instance, Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that the European Union won’t be able to give Ukraine one million artillery shells by next March. Actually, it will only send Ukraine less than half of what it said it would. At this time, Ukraine needs at least 2. 4 million artillery shells each year to keep fighting in the war.
Most of the countries in Europe that are part of Nato still don’t spend the 2% of their national income on defense, as they were supposed to do nearly ten years ago.
This week, UK’s Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said that Europe needs to do more. He mentioned that aside from Ukraine, we can’t keep relying on the US to always help Europe.
Russia’s economy during a time of war
Compare how Europe reacted to Russia’s actions.
Russia has already changed its economy to focus on preparing for war. Western officials believe that almost 40% of Russia’s money will be spent on defense and security next year. This is more than what they will spend on health and education combined.
One year ago, Russia got around 40 Shahed attack drones from Iran. Now they think they are making about 300 each month.
By the end of 2022, Russia could only make about 40 big missiles every month. Now it is expected to be earning one hundred, even with sanctions from western countries.
It has increased how many artillery shells it makes, and got more from North Korea when its supply was running out.
However, Russia is still having a hard time replacing the equipment and people it has lost. Western officials think that Russia had around a thousand soldiers getting hurt or killed every day during November, just in their attack on Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine.
Tiredness from fighting in a war
A year ago, people in the West were hopeful because of the early successes of a Ukrainian counter attack. But now, that hope has mostly gone away.
Ukraine’s summer attack did not go as planned. It didn’t achieve its goal of breaking through Russia’s main defenses in the south.
Mr Watling thinks that the war will last a long time and that it will make people tired and change how they think about taking risks.
The Kiel Institute reported that the amount of new aid promised to Ukraine from August to October this year was the lowest it has been since January 2022. Out of 42 countries that give aid, only 20 have promised to give new aid packages during this time – which is almost 90% less than last year.
Most of the people who support Ukraine, at least when they say in public, say they are still determined.
However, some countries are having trouble providing as much military aid as before because they have used up a lot of their own supplies.
We don’t know yet how much help Ukraine will get from the Netherlands in the future, after Geert Wilders’ right-wing party did well in the election. The Dutch have been an important part of the group that said they would give Ukraine F-16 jets.
The effect on future activities.
These questions about future aid supplies won’t have a quick effect on the battlefield.
One person in charge of the western side says it is unlikely that there will be any big progress from either side in the next few months. Russia and Ukraine are focused on defending themselves and using a lot of resources for attacking.
However, Ukraine may have to limit the amount of ammunition they use in the next few months. This could weaken their military forces even more.
Jake Sullivan, who works for the White House, told the New York Times that Ukraine’s ability to defend its airspace could be affected. He said that the US can’t send air defense systems to Ukraine anymore.
That alarm is being given because Russia is expected to start attacking important buildings and systems in Ukraine more often in the next few weeks.
Not being clear about getting help from the US military could cause another problem. Watling just got back from Ukraine, and he says that the uncertainty about aid is already making it hard for Ukraine to make plans.
He says the current problem in the US Congress is making it hard for Ukraine to figure out its next moves in battle and to get more support from the west.