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U.S. Shores Up Ukraine Aid as Energy Crisis in Europe Looms

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By pledging billions of dollars in long-term military aid to Ukraine, the Biden administration is trying to prove that US support in the war will outlast Russia’s resolve.

It has been relatively painless for President Biden to rally America’s lawmakers and the public on that aid, with billions calling for more urgent aid. But he also needs to keep Europe as Russia’s invasion has driven up energy prices, creating what could be the continent’s worst economic crisis in a generation.

US officials insist there are no cracks in the NATO alliance. Members of the NATO alliance have agreed, to varying degrees, to assist Ukraine in defending its homeland. Ukraine’s recent battlefield successes, from the rout of Russian forces in the northeast to the isolation of Russian forces in the south, will also help cement resolve in Europe, American officials say. .

But soaring energy prices in Europe and the prospect of frigid homes in the looming cold season are causing anxiety. Russia recently heightened these concerns when state-owned energy company Gazprom announced it would not resume the flow of natural gas to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

Putin believes the gas shortage will weaken European support for Ukraine, according to military and diplomatic analysts.

Secretary of State Antony J. Brinken said Russia had “weaponized energy” against Europeans.

“Putin is betting that these actions will undermine the will of countries that support Ukraine,” he said at NATO headquarters in Belgium earlier this month. “He bets that the Kremlin can bully other countries into submission.”

Mr. Blinken’s visit to NATO and the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, came at a time when Ukrainian forces were making major advances in northeast Ukraine.

An executive order signed by President Putin last month, which raised the country’s target number of active-duty military personnel by about 137,000 to 1.15 million, said Putin said Russia could still win the war of attrition. is another sign of what he believed.

“He’s giving signals that he’s trying to root this thing out,” a senior defense official said in an interview. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly.

Biden, meanwhile, seems determined to show that NATO’s commitments are unwavering. On Wednesday, he is expected to focus on Ukraine in his address to the United Nations General Assembly. The country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is scheduled to address parliament by video on the same day.

Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney said, “Our support for the Ukrainian nation has set an example for the world,” adding that support for Ukraine among U.S. allies remains strong. “From my point of view, it is uncertain how it will last after the winter when heating prices will break through the roofs of people in Europe. I have.”

The new aid brings the US pledge to Kyiv to about $15 billion since its invasion of Russia in February.

“Vladimir Putin seems to believe that Russia can win the long war. It surpasses Ukrainians in the will to fight and the will of the international community to continue to support Ukraine,” said Deputy Defense Minister Colin Colin. Karl said at a press conference. last month. He called the belief “another Russian miscalculation.”

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During his visit to Kyiv, Brinken said the US and its allies must strive to “maintain Ukraine’s brave defenders for the long term.”

“It means a continuous and determined flow of competence,” he said.

Most of that flow comes from America.

However, European material support for Ukraine has faded.Total new commitments of military and financial aid from the six largest European countries Decline in May, plummeting in Juneaccording to an analysis by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

In July, the last month for which data were available, none of the UK, Germany, Poland, France, Italy or Spain made any significant new commitments.

“I was especially surprised that aid from the European powers was basically nil,” he said. Christoph Trebechedirector of the Institute of International Finance and Macroeconomics and head of the team conducting the analysis.

Trevesh said European countries are still distributing aid announced last month, some of which is being secretly sent. However, he added, new data suggested that material assistance to Ukraine, especially the transfer of military equipment, may be in short supply.

“All this points to funding a stalemate rather than funding a Ukrainian counterattack,” Trebesh said. “It seems more important, both militarily and financially, to maintain the status quo than to really allow Ukraine to do something significant.”

Analysts say Germany in particular is falling short, despite previous rhetoric.

Marcus KaimA senior fellow for international security at the German Institute for International Security Affairs said he and other analysts were initially “completely surprised” by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s pledge to significantly increase military spending. Support Ukraine ‘as long as necessary’ and finally eliminate national dependence About Russian energy.

But policy changes since then have been less dramatic, he said.

Critics say the German government has not done enough to help Ukraine. Especially deadlocked is Germany’s refusal to send. Leopard 2 main battle tank to Ukraine. Mr. Scholz and his minister The German military’s arsenal is too depleted to send heavier equipment, and Germany does not want to be the first country to send modern Western tanks to Ukraine.

Germany has announced a €100 billion ($113 billion) increase in defense spending this year. Still, it will fall short of NATO’s goal of having each member country spend at least 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) each year on its own defense. According to the German Economic Research Institute, A think tank based in Cologne.

Jeffrey Lasky, Former Senior U.S. Diplomat and President American Modern German Institutesaid Germany and other European nations were in a stronger position to continue to oppose Russia this winter.

“If you look at public opinion, you can see what I call the readiness of the German people to make further steps and sacrifices in favor of Ukraine and to achieve the strategic goal of preserving Europe. a political order.”

christian mailing Research Director of the German Council on Foreign Relationshe also said he was optimistic that Europe would continue to present a united front against Russia, but added that public disagreements on the issue would continue.

“It’s going to be loud and sometimes dirty,” Mailing said, comparing it to policy debates at the height of the pandemic and Europe’s debt crisis.

But he added, “We discuss all these things publicly because that’s what democracies do.”

Emily Cochrane contributed to the report.

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