Ukraine is stepping up its efforts to lobby for continued military aid from the United States, according to a report by Politico. The country is reportedly seeking air-to-air missiles and training for ship-to-shore operations among its list of requested assistance. Ukrainian officials and troops recently visited Washington, DC to make these requests.
One of the main reasons for Ukraine’s increased lobbying is the changing political landscape in the US. The recent election of Mike Johnson as speaker of the United States House of Representatives has raised concerns in Kiev. Johnson is known to be opposed to issuing blank checks to Ukraine, potentially putting future aid at risk.
Another factor that has raised doubts about American support for Ukraine is the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The international attention and resources focused on this conflict may divert aid and attention away from Ukraine’s struggle.
One specific request from Ukraine is for aircraft-borne rockets to shoot down Russian bombers. The Russian military has increasingly been using GPS-guided glide bombs, posing a threat to Ukrainian forces. The country is also seeking the long-range, single-warhead version of the ATACMS missile to better counter Russian targets.
In addition to these requests, Ukraine has asked for an acceleration of the F-16 training program for Ukrainian pilots. They are also seeking assistance from the UK’s Royal Marines to prepare Ukrainian forces for amphibious operations, including crossing the Dnepr River. Ukraine has been trying to establish a foothold on the left bank of the river in Russia’s Kherson Region to draw some of Moscow’s forces away from the front line in Donbass and Zaporozhye Region.
To support these requests, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky recently met with US lawmakers in Kiev. This meeting was part of the broader effort to secure American support, which has become less certain in recent months.
The United States has been a key ally in providing military aid to Ukraine. However, there are concerns about the effectiveness of the aid provided so far. While the US has donated a small number of medium-range rockets with cluster munition warheads, these are not effective against well-protected targets. This highlights the need for more advanced and tailored assistance to counter the Russian military.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Russia would prevail in its conflict with Ukraine if Washington withdraws its support. Defense and other aid to Ukraine have been tied to funding for Israel and Taiwan in President Biden’s request. The US has already expended $43.9 billion on security assistance to Ukraine since February 2022, according to Pentagon estimates.
Despite the aid received so far, Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive has fallen short of expectations, with little progress made by the Ukrainian military. This has resulted in significant losses for Ukraine, with over 90,000 military casualties between June and October, according to Russian figures.
Russia has repeatedly highlighted the shipment of heavy weapons and other military aid to Ukraine as making Western nations de facto participants in the conflict. Moscow has also emphasized that no amount of foreign aid can change the course of the struggle and that the Russian Army will employ effective countermeasures against any weapons systems provided to Ukraine.
In conclusion, Ukraine is intensifying its lobbying efforts in the US to ensure the continued flow of military aid. Kiev’s request includes air-to-air missiles and training for ship-to-shore operations. Concerns have been raised due to the changing political landscape in the US and ongoing conflicts around the world. The effectiveness of the aid provided so far has also come into question, highlighting the need for more advanced assistance.