A report in the New York Times on Dec. 11 sent out the message to Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy as he arrived in the U.S. that Ukraine is to keep fighting “on a tighter budget” with scaled-down prospects and pulled-back defensive positions. The Times’s sources suggest that Kiev has “unrealistic expectations” about future military assistance—for example, Kiev wants artillery shells in quantities that simply do not exist in Western stockpiles, skeptics told the Times.
“American and Ukrainian military leaders are searching for a new strategy that they can begin executing early next year to revive Kiev’s fortunes and flagging support for the country’s war against Russia....” The Times cites unnamed American officials saying that the Russian military, “after its own failed drive to Kiev in 2022, has begun to reverse its fortunes and is rebuilding its might. Moscow now has more troops, ammunition and missiles, and has increased its firepower advantage with a fleet of battlefield drones, many of them supplied by Iran, according to American officials.” So, they are arguing that Ukraine does not need to retake land, just score “some strategic and symbolic victories” to strengthen its hand before “calls for peace talks to end the war inevitably restart.”
Therefore, the “United States is stepping up the face-to-face military advice it provides to Ukraine, dispatching a three-star general to Kiev to spend considerable time on the ground. U.S. and Ukrainian military officers say they hope to work out the details of a new strategy next month in a series of war games scheduled to be held in Wiesbaden, Germany…. The stakes are huge. Without both a new strategy and additional funding, American officials say Ukraine could lose the war.”