counter easy hit

US and G7 allies now expect Ukraine-Russia war to grind on for years


But in the US Congress, opposition is growing to continued funding for support to Ukraine, and several Republican candidates in next year’s presidential elections have called for slashing the commitments.

Biden tells UN General Assembly that US is regaining global leadership role

Elsewhere, Ukraine and its allies have made little progress in winning over major nations of the so-called Global South, with many pushing for peace talks.


“We have to stand up to this naked aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow,” Biden told the UN gathering on Tuesday. The US and its allies and partners, he said, “will continue to stand with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity and their freedom”.

A senior official from one European Group of Seven country said the war may last as long as six or seven more years and that allies need to plan financially to continue support for Kyiv for such a long conflict.

That’s much longer than many officials had expected earlier this year, but slow progress in Ukraine’s counteroffensive in recent months has tempered expectations. A number of officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

“It won’t be easy. It’ll put a lot of pressure on societies, on governments, through different elections in Europe,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in an interview. “But having this midterm strategy of long-term support to Ukraine, it’ll ultimately guide us for having success.”


Still, Ukraine will face increasing challenges with insufficient weapons supplies from the West and increasing manpower losses, a top European official said.

G7 officials discussed the darker outlook at a dinner on the sidelines of the UN meeting Monday night and agreed that the conflict is likely to last for the medium or long term, a senior US State Department official told reporters Tuesday.


Kyiv and its allies remain opposed to negotiations at present, officials said, unwilling to accept any resolution that doesn’t involve a full withdrawal of Russian troops.

A Ukrainian soldier in Andriivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine. Ukraine recaptured the village last Friday. Photo: AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the West won’t have the staying power to continue supporting Kyiv, according to a senior US official.


But a ceasefire deal accepting Russia’s de facto annexation of the 17 per cent of Ukrainian territory it now occupies is unacceptable and the minimum outcome should be the Kremlin’s withdrawal from all lands it conquered since invading the neighbouring state in February last year, the official added.

“The ingredients are not in place for the Ukrainians to make the kind of rapid gains they did last year,” said Dara Massicot, a former Pentagon senior analyst on Russian military capabilities who’s now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “This is a very hard fight for Ukraine.”

The US and its allies have injected tens of billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine to help it repel Russia’s invasion, which is now in its second year, while avoiding direct action that would widen the scope of the conflict.

More mini-Putins are waiting in the wings across Europe

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was confident the US and other allies would continue to support Ukraine, despite rising opposition.


“It would be a tragedy for the Ukrainians if President Putin wins in Ukraine, but it would also be dangerous for us,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Not supporting Ukraine would be “much more costly for the alliance in the long run, because then we would be more vulnerable for Russian or Chinese coercion or military threats,” he said. “So it’s in our security interest to support Ukraine, and therefore I’m confident that the United States will continue.”

The European Union announced over the summer an additional €50 billion (US$53 billion) support package for Ukraine to be delivered through 2027, which doubles total EU commitments. Germany, Ukraine’s second-biggest supporter in the fight after the US, has pledged to provide €5 billion annually through that period.

But in the US, the US$24 billion Biden is seeking in additional support for Ukraine is facing growing opposition in Congress.

Zelensky will meet legislators in Washington this week, including prominent Republicans who’ve questioned the need for more aid.

On Wednesday, Zelensky was excepted to meet Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a prominent leader of the so-called Global South who has so far refused to pick sides.

“Work needs to be done to create space for negotiations,” Lula told the General Assembly.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will also meet Zelensky, said that the “war will have no winners and peace will have no losers”.

“We will step up our efforts to end the war through diplomacy and dialogue on the basis of Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity,” Erdogan said.

Russia gets its chance to address the General Assembly on Saturday.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse


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