Gunners from 43rd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region, on April 21, 2024.

A $61 billion package of US military aid for Ukraine is being signed off. The aid will provide much-needed support for Ukraine over the summer months.But it still faces massive challenges in its battle against Russia’s invasion. 

Relief swept the front line in Ukraine on Saturday after the US voted to release a long-delayed $61 billion package of military aid to help defend against Russia’s invasion.

“We thought that our partners had forgotten about us,” a Ukrainian intelligence officer with the call sign Bankir, told CNN.

The US House of Representatives approved the aid package, having been held up for months amid opposition from far-right Republicans. It will now be voted on by the US Senate, where it’s widely expected to pass.

But while it’s likely to help kill Russia’s momentum and give Ukraine much-needed support in the coming months, experts are cautioning that it doesn’t ensure victory for Ukraine.

A race against time

Mark Warne, the Senate Intelligence Committee Chair, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that military equipment should be “in transit by the end of the week.”

It’s a race against time for Ukraine. Its military is running low on ammunition and artillery supplies, and struggling to fend off intensifying Russian attacks. Meanwhile, its air defense systems are short of missiles, meaning Russia is increasingly able to target Ukraine’s cities and power plants.

In recent weeks, Ukraine’s leaders have issued increasingly stark warnings that it faces the prospect of defeat to Russia without more money from its allies.

Analysts said the aid bill will bolster Ukraine’s defenses against a possible planned Russian offensive this summer.

US-made missiles have been crucial to Ukraine in targeting Russian supply lines and troop gatherings, while artillery has been vital for defending its positions from attacks.

The aid will allow Ukraine to replenish its supplies of these vitally important weapons, which reports say it had to start rationing on the front line in recent weeks.

Ukraine “will likely be able to blunt the current Russian offensive assuming the resumed US assistance arrives promptly,” said analysts at the US think tank The Institute for the Study of War.

The equipment “will help to slow down the Russian advance, but not stop it”, one senior Ukrainian official told the Financial Times.

Ukraine’s future remains uncertain

Experts have long believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to grind down Ukrainian resistance, exploiting the fact that long-term Western support for Ukraine remains uncertain.

“Please don’t forget that Russia’s annual military budget is more than $100 billion,” noted Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko on X on Saturday evening. “We have won time today, but we have not won the war. We will still need to finish the job.”

Even with the huge injection of money, it’s likely not enough to enable Ukraine to launch a campaign to drive Russian forces back, George Beebe, a former head of the CIA’s Russia analysis unit, told BI recently.

And the long-term future of US aid remains in doubt, with Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, having repeatedly said he opposes funding Ukraine’s war effort.

Ukraine’s European allies haven’t wavered in their commitment to helping Ukraine, but have struggled to produce enough ammunition and equipment to make up for the US aid shortfall this year.

Many believe the best Ukraine can hope for is to use the money to reinforce its current position, continue to inflict losses on Russia, and hope that its allies keep the aid flowing next year.

“Such a large aid package may be the last this year. Moreover, there is a fairly high probability that all subsequent aid packages for Ukraine will be much smaller in size,” a former Ukrainian officer who operates the Frontelligence Insight newsletter said, as cited by The Financial Times.

“The aid provided by the US buys us and the European Union time, about one year.”

For Ukraine to feel confident in winning the war against Russia, it will need more military aid beyond 2024. There’s currently no guarantee it will get it in sufficient amounts.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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