Ukraine war at tipping point with rapid escalation of conflict

In little more than a month, the war in Ukraine has abruptly turned from a grueling, largely static artillery battle expected to last into the winterto a rapidly escalating multi-level conflict that has challenged the strategies of the United States, Ukraine and Russia.

Russia’s launch of massive attacks on civilian infrastructure on Monday i almost a dozen Ukrainian cities far from the front lines brought shock and outrage. The attacks, which Foreign Minister Antony Blinken described as “wave after wave of missiles” hit “children’s playgrounds and public parks”, left at least 14 dead and nearly 100 injured and cut off electricity and water in large parts of the country.

“By launching missile attacks on civilians sleeping in their homes or rushing towards children going to school, Russia has once again proven that it is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways,” said Ukraine’s UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya on Thursday. opening of a general assembly planned before the attack to promote world condemnation of Moscow.

Russia attacked Kiev and cities across Ukraine after attacks on the Crimean bridge

The attacks were the latest of many head-spinning events – from Ukrainian victories on the ground to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threat – that have changed the nature and tempo of the war in recent weeks, raising questions about whether the United States and its partners may need to move beyond the concept of helping Ukraine defend itself and instead more forcefully facilitate a Ukrainian victory.

So far, the U.S. supply effort has been predominately and process-oriented in the kinds of weapons it delivers and the speed with which it delivers them, so as not to undermine its top priority of avoiding a direct clash between Russia and the West. That strategy is likely to be part of the agenda at Tuesday’s emergency meeting of G7 leaders and a gathering of NATO defense ministers later this week.

US officials continue to express caution about hasty moves. “Turning points in war are usually points of danger,” said a senior Biden administration official, one of several U.S. and Ukrainian officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss policy considerations. “You can’t predict what’s around the corner.”

Russian leaders have cited their own turning point. Viktor Bondarev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, wrote in a Telegram post on Monday that the strikes were the beginning of “a new phase” of what the Kremlin calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, with more “resolute” action coming.

Putin told his security council early on Monday that the attacks were retaliation for what he called Ukrainian “terrorism”, including the explosion over the weekend of the strategic Crimean bridge, a crucial logistics route for Russian occupation forces in southern Ukraine.

The bridge destruction, for which Ukraine has only indirectly claimed responsibility, came after a steady stream of Ukrainian gains that lifted both Kiev and its Western supporters. In a surprise counteroffensive that began in early September, Ukrainian forces recaptured more than 1,000 square kilometers of Russian-held territory in the northeast, followed by other advances in the south.

Putin’s dream bridge explodes in flames

The Ukrainian victories, along with persistent reports of ill-equipped and demoralized Russian soldiers fleeing the onslaught, leaving behind equipment and leaving their dead, brought public criticism of the conduct of the war from within Russia, among other things from some senior Putin advisers. Within days, Putin had called for the military mobilization of up to 300,000 civilians to bolster his failing forces. The humiliation was compounded by a chaotic deployment and the flight of hundreds of thousands of men of military age across neighboring borders.

In what was widely interpreted as a reference to nuclear weapons, Putin threatened to use “all available means” to defend Russian-held territory, even as he moved to annex four Ukrainian regions. “I would like to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction … and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, in order to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all means at our disposal,” said he in September. 21. “This is not a scam.”

The mobilization and nuclear threats, the senior administration official said, were “signs of two things: Putin knows how bad he is. … It was a question mark before.”

“Two, it’s certainly a sign that he’s doubling down. That we’re not close to the end and not close to negotiations. Those realities don’t provide much comfort here,” the official said.

Winter is approaching in Ukraine – and a battle for endurance awaits

Rose Gottemoeller, a former senior State Department official on arms control and non-proliferation issues, and former deputy secretary-general of NATO, said: “The use of nuclear weapons is a dead end. It shows the ultimate failure [Putin’s] politics if he’s somehow driven into that corner,” Gottemoeller said. “It’s the last roll of the dice,” thinking that “one way or another … everyone will panic and all their supporters will force the Ukrainians to sue for peace … I don’t see that happening.”

“I think we have to take these threats very, very seriously,” she said.

With Monday’s strikes inside Ukraine, Putin was clearly trying to regain the initiative, but also to strengthen the image of a unified strategy and leadership. In his Security Council remarks, reported by Russian media, he said the missile strike had been designed and recommended by his “Ministry of Defense in accordance with the plan of the Russian General Staff.” He referred in particular to the role of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, whose absence from the public recent days had led to speculation that he had been fired.

Ukraine, for its part, has long combined its great gratitude for Western arms aid with demands for increased delivery of more and more sophisticated supplies. The counteroffensive on the ground brought calls for tanks to move into disputed territory that the US and its allies have been reluctant to send. This week, Kyiv added new urgency sophisticated air defense systems.

A Ukrainian official, referring to a list provided by the Supreme Military Command, said Ukraine’s priority items include the Patriot surface-to-air missile system, MIM-23 Hawk missiles, attack drones and NASAMS (National Advance Surface-to-Air Missile Systems ) as well as Israeli air defense systems.

Ukraine’s pleas found renewed resonance in some quarters of Washington after Monday’s attack, with senior Democrats in particular demanding that Biden move faster to supply Ukraine. “I am appalled by Russia’s depraved and desperate escalation against civilian infrastructure throughout Ukraine — including in Kiev,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (DN.J.) said in a statement. “I pledge to use all means at my disposal to expedite aid to the people of Ukraine and starve Russia’s war machine.”

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former senior CIA and Pentagon official, tweeted that the need for air defense “is urgent given the scale of these attacks. Making these systems available is a defensive — not escalating — step, and our European friends need to step up with us to get the Ukrainians what they need.”

But there were few initial signs that the administration intends to change the relatively lengthy approval process by which it decides what weapons to send to Ukraine and when. The process includes a US analysis, based on their own reporting of conditions on the battlefield, of what Ukraine needs, a senior US defense official said, and “secondly, do we have it there?”

“Third, do they already know how to use it? If not, what is our plan to train them? Fourth, how are they going to maintain the thing? Keep it in the field? Maintain it? Repair it? Spare parts? … If we can’t do these things, who among our allies and partners can do it?” said the defender.

Once those questions are answered, the request and recommendation will be reviewed for comments and concerns from other government departments with a stake in the decision before going to the White House, where President Biden will make a final decision.

Once the decision is made, delivery can be within days for equipment taken from US defense stockpiles, months if extensive training in use and maintenance is required, or years if special items must be manufactured. For example, Biden approved sending the NASAMS air defense system early this summer, and defense officials have said two will be sent in the fall once the systems are ready and training is complete.

Another six NASAMS, announced by the Pentagon in late August, will take years to manufacture. Patriot systems are already in short supply within NATO and usually travel with their own US or NATO operational teams – a commitment the West is unlikely to undertake.

Israel, whose prime minister on Monday condemned Russia for the first time over the missile attacks, has its own complicated relationship with Moscow.

“We certainly understand that we are at a potential turning point here in the war, on many levels,” the senior Biden administration official said. “That mindset is baked in [our] decision making. … Ukraine has certainly done better and been more aggressive lately, and Putin is feeling the heat on the battlefield, at home and abroad. There’s no doubt it’s a different set of conditions.”

“However, we believe that these changes on the battlefield and in Russia have only further validated our decision-making process,” the official said.

Shane Harris and Alex Horton contributed to this report.

Related Posts

Illinois Democrats accuse GOP operative Dan Proft of illegal coordination

The Illinois Democratic Party on Friday filed a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections against Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey’s campaign and the conservative head…

NYC’s Ruth’s Chris Steak House stabbing leaves patron injured, NYPD seeks female attacker

A woman dining at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Manhattan stabbed a male patron in the chest after becoming enraged by his argument with an employee Friday…

Watch: Parrot steals journalist’s earphone live on air

A Chilean reporter was live in the air when a parrot landed on his shoulder and stole his earphone. Nicolas Krumm, a journalist for the Chilevision channel,…

FOX Bet Super 6: Win the $25,000 College Football Pick 6 jackpot in Week 10

FOX Bet Super 6 College Football Pick 6 Challenge gives fans the chance to win $25,000. The first College football Playoff standings (CFP) were announced this week….

Elon Musk begins Twitter overhaul with mass layoffs

Elon Musk begins Twitter overhaul with mass layoffs – CBS News Watch CBS News Thousands of Twitter employees found out via email that they were let go,…

Remains of missing Bay Area woman Alexis Gabe have been found

The partial remains of a Bay Area woman were discovered in a small community east of Sacramento on Thursday, according to authorities. The remains have been confirmed…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *