The Ukrainian conflict

There is no end in sight in the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine. The Biden administration has made clear that they are staying until the end and the goal is still to bring Ukraine into NATO and the overall western alliance, including the European Union. From the total $175 billion in U.S. spending to Ukraine that Congress has approved since 2022, $107 billion worth of aid goes to the government of Ukraine, notorious for being one of the most corrupt in the world. Weapons and equipment are provided through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, Presidential Drawdown Authority, and Foreign Military Financing Program. This funding also includes money for other forms of defense spending and nondefense needs, mainly economic support.

The Biden administration has repeatedly escalated the conflict by sending more money and more advanced military equipment to Ukraine. This week, Biden gave Ukraine the go-ahead to use U.S.-provided weapons to hit targets in Russian territory. The president directed his team to ensure that Ukraine can use U.S. supplied weapons for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkiv region and beyond into Russia. The U.S. government noted that Ukraine will not be allowed to use long-range U.S. weapons to hit military targets deep inside Russian territory. The U.S.-supplied Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), for example, can make strikes at a range of 200 miles.

The announcement from the Biden administration marks a shift and an escalation in long-standing U.S. policy, which prevented Ukraine from using American firepower to hit Russian troops and military installations on Russian soil. The restriction was put in place by the Biden administration’s fear that American weapons killing Russians in Russia would lead to an escalation. Now is the time that Biden decided to escalate the conflict after all. The change in policy comes as Russian troops have made advances on Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

The northeastern Ukrainian city sits just 30 miles south of Russia’s border and has recently seen some of the most intense fighting of the 27-month-long conflict. Recently, Russia has touted its military advancements in the region. Since then, the U.S. has announced some additional $675 million in military aid for Ukraine, in the form of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and ammunition such as Howitzer artillery rounds, high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARMs) and other pieces of offensive and defensive equipment and ammunition.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan recently acknowledged that Ukraine will need even more funding to launch a counteroffensive in 2025 and keep the fighting going. The U.S. goal is to bring Ukraine to the west, but also to weaken Russia. It is unlikely that Ukraine would win in the end, but to keep the conflict going is good for the U.S. as it helps its military-industrial complex to grow revenue. Biden’s goal of weakening Russia has forced Ukraine to pay a terrible price. Is there a chance to bring peace to Ukraine despite the U.S. escalations and Biden’s NATO obsession?

It is likely that peace could happen if Russia is allowed to keep the regions it has taken control of and to keep Crimea. Ukraine can join the EU, but not NATO. After all, Russia has overtaken large swaths of the Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine, such as Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. However, it is unclear if the west and Ukraine want peace as Biden is escalating the conflict, Macron mentioned that NATO has not ruled out sending troops to Ukraine and UK foreign secretary Cameron saying Ukraine has the right to fire western missiles at Russian territory. It does not sound like there is a plan for peace, rather talks of escalation. There might be too many positives for the west as they are expanding their military revenues, trying new military strategies and equipment, making Russia weaker and potentially gaining a new NATO member. It is time for a change in the U.S.-led proxy war in Ukraine and to find a path towards a peace agreement.  

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