FROM WASHINGTON TO AVDIIVKA: WHAT DOES 2024 HOLD FOR UKRAINE? - Moscow’s war on Ukraine has always been about a lot more than just the fight on the battlefield. Ukraine has been able to prevent Russia’s seizure of Kyiv and Kharkiv and to take back more than 50% of Russian-conquered territory in part because of strong Western military, political and economic support led by the US. The past month has introduced several new factors in this multidimensional struggle. On land, Ukraine’s counteroffensive has only liberated several hundred square kilometers, which has led many commentators to talk about a stalemate. But at sea, Ukraine has driven the Russian Black Sea fleet out of Sevastopol and are sheltering in the eastern Black Sea. And using the shorter-range ATACMS that the US supplied this fall, Ukraine destroyed over 20 Russian helicopters in Berdyansk and Luhansk.
But in Washington, a small group in the Republican House caucus was able to prevent the inclusion of aid to Ukraine in the Continuing Resolution for government spending passed September 30. That was followed by the removal of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House and his replacement by Mike Johnson. While the new Speaker has said that the US must not leave Ukraine in the lurch and that he would put a bill on aid to Ukraine up for a vote, he has also said that aid for Israel must be considered separately. In contrast, President Biden and Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer are pushing for a single aid bill for Ukraine and Israel (and Taiwan).
The Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center hosted a discussion on the current state of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Russian counterstrike at Avdiivka, and the prospects in Washington for Ukraine aid.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 11/16/23