The Biden Admin Is Shifting Ukraine Strategy Amid Stalled Counteroffensive, Political Uncertainty: REPORT

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The Biden administration is changing its approach toward Ukraine’s war efforts against Russia, Politico reported on Wednesday.

The Biden administration has publicly supported Ukraine’s goal for a military victory against Russia since war first broke out between the two countries in early 2022. But as Ukraine’s counteroffensive has failed to make major gains, the administration is now changing course and encouraging Ukraine to adopt a defensive posture to bolster its hand in negotiations, a White House official told Politico. (RELATED: Ukraine Is Running Out Of Men To Fight Against Russia)

“That’s been our theory of the case throughout – the only way this war ends ultimately is through negotiation,” the anonymous official told Politico. “We want Ukraine to have the strongest hand possible when that comes.”

The official said that the administration continues to support Ukraine’s war effort and is not “discouraging [Kyiv] from launching any new offensive,” also noting that a timetable hasn’t been set for opening peace talks, according to Politico.

Part of the reason no official peace talks have been announced is because the Biden administration could lose political support if it shows signs of conceding to Russia’s war efforts, according to Politico. President Joe Biden has publicly said on several occasions that “Putin” must not be allowed to win the war.

“Those discussions [about peace talks] are starting, but [the Biden administration] can’t back down publicly because of the political risk [to Biden],” a congressional official familiar with the matter told Politico.

Kyiv is proposing to add 500,000 troops to the country’s army as its supply of available troops continues to dwindle. By President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s admission, Ukraine’s counteroffensive efforts failed to meet goals during the summer of 2023; the winter’s harsh conditions will make it even more difficult for Kyiv to fight effectively against Russia.

“As they decide how they’re going to posture themselves in the next two to three months, it’s going to become physically harder to operate and go on the offensive,” the White House official told Politico.

Some Western support for Ukraine’s war is decreasing as the counteroffensive stalls out; Kyiv failed to lock in new military aid from the European Union going into the New Year, and the U.S. Congress is split over whether to include any more funding without certain conditions.

“Time has become a stark disadvantage when it comes to Ukraine’s manpower and industrial capacity, and that’s true even if the West continues its support,” George Beebe, a former CIA analyst and head of strategy for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, told Politico. “The longer this goes on the more we’re going to have to concede up front just to get the Russians to the negotiating table.”

Zelenskyy expressed openness during a December press conference towards negotiations with Russia, but only if Moscow removes its entire military presence from Ukraine, according to Politico. Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to indicate last week that negotiations were on the table if Russia can keep the territory it has seized since the war began.

A White House official told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the Biden administration’s policy “has not changed,” pointing out Biden’s comments in May that “diplomacy” was the only way to end the war.

“We have consistently said that the war will only end through negotiations,” the White House spokesperson said. “However, Putin continues to show no interest in ending this war and continues to order his forces to attack Ukraine, so it is critical that we continue to support Ukraine to ensure they are in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table when that time comes.”

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