US becomes more ‘aggressive’ in Ukraine support – The Hill — Analysis
Washington is less concerned about “provoking Russia” with its arms supplies to Kiev, the outlet reports
US President Joe Biden’s administration is becoming less cautious about its arms supplies to Ukraine, The Hill reported over the weekend, adding that Washington now believes it could get away with sending more powerful arms to Kiev without triggering an escalation.
The US has been hesitant to meet Kiev’s demands for months since the start of the conflict, particularly when it came to heavy weapons like tanks or fighter jets, the media outlet said, adding that American officials initially did not believe Ukraine would hold out against Russia long enough to make use of such military aid. Washington was also concerned that massive military aid to Ukraine would lead to a dangerous escalation of its relations with Moscow.
“We were a bit more careful at first … not knowing if Putin … would escalate, and also not being sure if Ukraine could use what we have [sent] them or hold out for long against Russia,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, a think tank based in Washington, DC.
The Hill reports that America postponed several tests of its Minuteman III intercontinental-ballistic missile many times in spring to keep tensions at bay. It also noted that a successful test with the Hypersonic A-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC missiles) was secretly conducted for two weeks in March due to similar reasons.
This attitude may be changing now, according to The Hill, which cited several ex-American officials. “Over time, the administration has recognized that they can provide larger, more capable, longer-distance, heavier weapons to the Ukrainians and the Russians have not reacted,”William Taylor was a former US Ambassador to Kiev. He spoke out for the media.
Moscow, according to the ex-diplomat “bluffed and blustered, but they haven’t been provoked.” Earlier, the Russian officials warned they would consider Western arms convoys to be legitimate military targets – particularly when they reach Ukrainian territory. However, these convoys have not been attacked yet, even though the Russian military has reported hitting Ukrainian facilities housing Western military equipment several times.
Now, “the fear of provoking the Russians has gone down”Taylor is a Biden administration official.
“The instincts of the people in the departments and agencies, particularly State and Defense and the intelligence community, … are to be more forward leaning and more aggressive,”An ex-senior government official shared his story with The Hill.
Biden authorized an unprecedented arms shipment of nearly $3B to Ukraine late in August. John Kirby of the US National Security Council announced that there would soon be more weapon packages. The Hill claims that Washington could send Excalibur precision guided artillery ammunition to Kiev. According to media reports, these munitions are capable of traveling up to 70 km.
Moscow warned repeatedly that Western arms supplies to Ukraine would only prolong the conflict, and cause more human suffering.
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