U.S. parliamentarians during an unannounced visit to Kiev on Sunday stressed that “additional U.S. support is on the way” to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the “very important signals” sent by the United States and its President Joe Biden and his Lend-Lease program to help Ukraine, similar to the program designed by the United States during World War II with the aim of providing military equipment to friendly countries without interfering directly in the conflict.
In a statement issued by the Ukrainian presidency, Zelensky said: “These are important new developments related to military and financial support to Ukraine, in addition to the decision on Lend-Lease, for which we are grateful.”
During this visit, the Speaker of the US House, Nancy Pelosi, met with Zelensky to express US support for Ukraine, Kiev and Washington announced on Sunday.
And the Ukrainian president wrote in a tweet on Sunday morning: “Thank you to the United States for contributing to the protection of our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” attached to a video in which he appears surrounded by armed guards when he calls Pelosi received and a delegation from Congress in front of the presidential residence in Kiev, and then during a meeting with US officials.
Zelensky stressed that “the United States is one of the main supporters of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.”
A statement issued by the U.S. delegation, which was on its way to Kiev to southeastern Poland and Warsaw, said that “our delegation was to Kiev to send a resounding and unequivocal message to the whole world that the United States Ukraine stands. “
The visit came a week after a visit to Kiev by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
During their visit, the two officials announced the gradual return of the US diplomatic presence to Ukraine and additional direct and indirect assistance of more than $ 700 million.
Washington held a meeting in Ramstein, Germany, with the aim of organizing forty countries’ support for Ukraine, while Russian President Vladimir Putin last Wednesday promised to give a “quick and shocking” response in the event of external interference in the conflict.
This international crowd has agreed to an additional $ 33 billion package to support Ukraine.
While Putin said: “We have all the necessary tools for this, and no one else can boast of owning it (…) we will use it if necessary.”
It was a somewhat tacit reference to Russian tactical nuclear weapons that, according to Russian military doctrine, could be used to force an opponent to withdraw.
In response, US President Joe Biden criticized the “irresponsible” threats made by Vladimir Putin, calling them “the desperation that Russia feels in the face of its miserable failure to achieve its main goals”.
A senior Pentagon official confirmed last Friday that Washington “does not believe there is a danger of using nuclear weapons or threatening NATO territory.”
Biden decided to strengthen US support for Ukraine and asked Congress to approve a new $ 33 billion aid package to Kiev, including $ 20 billion for weapons and ammunition, about seven times the amount sent to the country has been since the Russian invasion on 24 February.
The US administration is currently handing over heavy weapons to Kiev, such as artillery, helicopters and drones, after being reluctant to do so, for fear that the conflict would spread to member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
And last Monday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on his return from Kiev: “We want to see Russia too weak to do things like invade Ukraine.”
AFP quotes Professor Emeritus at King’s College London, Lawrence Friedman, as saying that Russian threats “are no longer taken as seriously as before,” adding: “This is an already diminished force.”
These are conclusions echoed by Gideon Rose of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He assured the Foreign Affairs newspaper that “Moscow will not use nuclear weapons during the conflict.”
He added that Vladimir Putin “knows that global retaliation and contempt will follow, in addition to the radiological effects arising from (nuclear weapons) can easily reach Russia.”
Although Biden claims that US forces will not intervene directly in the conflict, Washington has increased its military support to Ukraine by supplying military equipment and publicly training Ukrainian soldiers in US heavy weapons, after doing so discreetly.
The conflict therefore has all the hallmarks of a “proxy war” against Moscow, by the Ukrainians, as Princeton University’s Sam Winter-Levy said in the blog War on the Rocks.
This expert, who also works with the US Military Academy, explained that this type of war, such as the war between Saudi Arabia and Iran by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, is “the worst possible outcome” because it carries the risk of escalation , note that this type of war generally lasts a long time. .
But Winter-Levy believes that this “may be the best possible option” because Westerners “have no choice,” emphasizing that “in the end, the only option worse than a proxy war is a Russian victory in Ukraine. or a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia. “