Ukraine has a five-month window to demonstrate its superiority and convince the US and Western countries of its counter-attack plan, according to high-ranking Western officials revealed in a report by the Financial Times (FT). These officials emphasize that the West cannot indefinitely provide military aid to Kiev.
The FT report also highlights that the United States is currently in the election preparation stage and needs to substantiate the substantial military support provided to Ukraine by Washington and its allies. “It is crucial for the US to showcase the success of all aid packages to Ukraine,” stated a European official.
Public support for Ukraine in the United States has been waning, and the Biden administration must demonstrate that the tens of billions of dollars allocated to Kiev have made a significant impact on the front lines.
Sources cited by the FT assert that the next five months will be pivotal in determining the outcome of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. An unnamed source noted, “If Ukraine fails to make substantial progress by September, the pressure on Western countries to push for negotiations with Kiev will be immense.”
The sources further caution that Western military assistance for Ukraine is reaching its limits. “The US will no longer have the budget to continue aiding Ukraine, and European arms factories are already operating at full capacity,” disclosed a European official.
Furthermore, it has been reported that the European Union’s foreign and security policy chief, Josep Borrell, has requested an additional 3.5 billion euros ($3.8 billion) to strengthen the funding for supplying weapons to Ukraine. Borrell had previously warned that Kiev’s forces would collapse “within days” without ongoing support from the West.
Diplomatic sources informed Reuters on May 18 that Borrell urged EU member states to allocate more funds to the European Peace Fund (EPF) to sustain aid to Ukraine, as the fund was on the verge of depletion.
The report coincides with Kiev’s plans to launch a large-scale counter-offensive to reclaim Russian-controlled territories in Ukraine.
Established in 2021 to provide military equipment to developing countries, the EPF has primarily focused on supporting Ukraine since Russia initiated its military operation. The EU has allocated 8 billion euros ($8.6 billion) to the EPF.
Operating independently from the EU budget due to the prohibition on direct funding of military operations by the bloc’s 27 members, the EPF was initially endowed with 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) and intended to operate until 2027. However, the funds were rapidly depleted after numerous arms shipments to Ukraine over the past year, prompting the EU to approve another significant spending increase in December 2022.