Lloyd Austin: Ukraine deserves exhausting struggle with Russia

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv on Monday, November 20. Austin tried to calm Zelensky down and ordered him to keep on fighting.

According to The Washington Post, Lloyd Austin's visit took place after the inconclusive visit of Andriy Yermak, the chairman of Zelensky's office, to Washington this month. Citing members of the delegation, the newspaper said that Austin arrived to learn more about Kyiv's strategy for the winter period.

However, the size of the assistance reflects the new reality of more stringent restrictions on US support for Ukraine, the newspaper said. Austin announced a package worth $100 million in weapons shipments, including ammunition, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, artillery shells and HIMARS missiles. USA's previous arms packages were worth billions of dollars.

The head of the Pentagon said at a press conference that Kyiv was in for an exhausting struggle. He also said that there was no weapon in the US arsenal that would become a magic wand for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

"I'm here today to deliver an important message — the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine in their fight for freedom against Russia's aggression, both now and into the future. We, along with our allies and partners, will continue to support Ukraine's urgent battlefield needs and long-term defense requirements,” Austin said.

According to the Pentagon chief, in a conflict like this, there is no weapon that would be a magic wand. It all depends on the provided military opportunities and their combination with other weapons, whether it goes about F-16 fighter jets, HIMARS systems or something else. It is how Ukraine can use such opportunities and synch them on the battlefield.

Lloyd Austin has thus made it clear to Kyiv that the United States had given Kyiv everything it needed. It is Ukraine that does not know how to "combine and synch well” so it deserves an "exhausting struggle.”

Moscow's ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov described Austin's visit as a moral boost with a deadly gift designed to convince Kyiv that it was still part of the game.

According to Antonov, Lloyd Austin's visit to Kyiv was a trick to distract attention from the lamentable situation on the front.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that Ukraine was 'utterly dependent' on US assistance, both in military and civilian terms. Yellen stressed out the critical nature of military assistance to Ukraine and called it a "critical priority" of US national security.

Next year Ukraine is going to face a budget deficit worth about $42 billion, The Washington Post said citing Ukrainian officials. The US and the EU may cover this deficit, but so far there is no certainty about it. The Republicans will not allocate more to Ukraine without auditing previous assistance packages for corruption. In the EU, Hungary clocks budget assistance programs for Ukraine.

Biden administration not ready for negotiations with Moscow

Behind the scenes of Austin's visit there is also a desire to figure out whether a third Maidan was looming in Ukraine. The main purpose, as it appears, was to make it clear to Zelensky that he would have to keep on fighting to the last Ukrainian.

Contrary to Lloyd Austin's statements in Kyiv, most Western media outlets admitted the failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Most publications believe that it is time for Ukraine to start negotiations with Russia to end the conflict.

It appears that Washington does not know how to explain it to taxpayers why the United States sacrificed half a million lives in Ukraine. Perhaps the next (Donald Trump?) administration will try to find an answer to the question.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov