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CNN: Western officials are estimating how long Ukraine will last without US aid

A military defeat by summer is the worst-case scenario
Ukrainian soldier with Ihla portable anti-aircraft missile system. Credit: National Guard

Western officials are concerned about the prospect of no decision by the US Congress to fund military aid to Ukraine, fearing that without it and the support of other Western countries, Kyiv can fight on its own for only a few months, CNN reports, citing “multiple American and European officials.”

Jim Sciutto of CNN writes that the stalled Congressional aid package raises concerns over Ukraine’s ability to continue counteroffensives in the east and south. A European diplomat stated, “It is hard to see how that could succeed without continued US support.”

“There is no guarantee of success with us, but they are certain to fail without us,” a senior US military official said.

Officials also fear reduced American assistance may impact allied contributions.

A senior US military official estimated Ukraine could hold out for “months” without aid, with potential defeat by summer 2024 in a worst-case scenario. This outcome would have dire consequences for European security and American interests.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told CNN, “We can’t talk about war fatigue right now because if we do and give in, then Putin wins and that will mean a catastrophe to everybody.”

According to US and Ukrainian officials, Ukrainian forces are already rationing ammunition while facing Russian firepower “five to seven times greater.” A Ukrainian commander said this firepower imbalance has led to more Ukrainian casualties.

Without US resupplies, Ukraine may first exhaust its stock of long-range missiles, then air defenses, artillery, anti-tank and anti-aircraft munitions. These weapons have been vital in naval defense, protecting infrastructure, and stopping Russian ground vehicles and aircraft.

A European diplomat warned, “I don’t think people fully realize what Ukraine’s fall would actually mean. We would see horrible things: ethnic cleansing and total destruction of Ukraine. … And that is why we must carry on.”

The White House’s request for additional funding, which provides for a total of about $61 billion in military and macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, has been stuck in the US Congress for more than two months. This week, the Senate postponed its holiday break to focus on the vote, yet the lower house of Congress went on recess, making it impossible to approve the aid until the new year.

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