Time may be on Russia's side in Ukraine, say Western officials: WSJ
Western officials are becoming more pessimistic as Russia pushes further into Ukraine, with several of them saying Russia has the upper hand.
Various Western officials are now asserting that time might be on Russia's side in the ongoing Ukraine war, diverging completely from their assertions last year, when they were claiming the opposite, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
According to the newspaper, Western governments were convinced last spring that the longer the war went on, the more likely Kiev was to win. The WSJ noted, however, that this confidence was tanking.
The general sentiment current is quite the contrary, as the officials in question now fear that Moscow might be able to "gain the upper hand" in the war, though the WSJ argued that this line of reasoning served as a supporting argument for the West's decision to continue pumping arms into Ukraine.
Concurrently, certain officials do not believe that increasing the flow of arms into Ukraine would be a "realistic" way of expediting the war and reaching its culmination, the newspaper said. Additionally, it is being argued that Ukraine would not be able to carry out offensives in 2023 similar to those in 2022.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg claimed in December that Moscow was preparing to prolong the war in Ukraine and warned that Russia should not be underestimated.
Despite the general sentiment in question, Politico reported earlier in the day that a group of US military officials is quietly lobbying for sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Recently, Kiev has renewed its request for modern fighters. A senior Ukrainian official confirmed Saturday that Ukraine and its Western allies were engaged in "fast-track" talks on possible long-range missiles and military aircraft deliveries.
The campaign for F-16s to Ukraine is gaining momentum in the Pentagon, while Kiev is bracing for a planned offensive this spring, the newspaper said.
A senior Pentagon official told Politico he did not think the US Department of Defense (DoD) was opposed to the idea, noting that there was no final decision on the possible supplies yet. Meanwhile, Ukraine should clearly indicate that F-16 fighter jets are "its top priority," the source said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that the West must provide Kiev with jets and long-range missiles in order to help the fight against Russia.
Zelensky stressed that his country needs jets to be able to repel Russia's forces. "This is a dream. And this is a task," he said.
His statement came directly after the United States and Germany announced that they will send their most advanced main battle tanks to Ukraine, the US-made M1A2 Abrams and the Leopard 2.
Read next: More European countries to join Germany in sending tanks to Ukraine
Meanwhile, a Newsweek report that came out earlier in Tuesday said the United States and NATO could not afford a loss for Ukraine in the war.
the former head of Ukraine’s National Defense and Security, Oleksandr Danylyuk, told Newsweek that Russia made a strategic mistake by launching its military operation against Ukraine, saying it was facing a large "international coalition" that is counting on Ukraine's victory.
The former national security chief expressed Kiev’s constant worry that the West will eventually “get tired”, but until now, they have not reached that point, he added.
"We are always thinking from the perspective that maybe the West will get tired,” he said, adding however that "so far, they're not getting tired, they're actually committing more and more to Ukraine. Russia also expected that the West would get tired, but so far there is no sign of this.”
"The worst case scenario for the West would be to commit support and then end up losing the war. Because of the political commitment of Western leaders, they cannot afford for Ukraine to lose," he added.