With Russia losing out on a land war and going in for carpet bombing Ukraine into submission, the US’s best option appears to be to significantly increase its assistance to the beleaguered nation. While Zelensky has an edge in a land war, Putin has relied on his superior air power to bomb the Ukrainians into submission.
Ukraine has wrestled back the strategically important city of Kherson, but it continues to be at the mercy of Russian artillery and bombings that have destroyed vital installations. Combatants on both sides prepare for a long winter war that threatens to be static.
But the war is slowly moving towards the creation of two separate conflict zones, one on the land that favors Zelensky, and one from the air that would work to Putin’s advantage. The US is pushing for more aid to meet the immediate tactical challenges and help Ukraine and trying to seize the long-term advantage.
Biden Realizes That Diplomacy Will Not Work Against A Resolute Putin
On land, the arrival of a wet, rainy fall followed by the harsh Russian winter will lead to a slowdown of operations. Both Putin and Zelensky will try to rest and recoup, and try to repair equipment. A return to an all-out combat operation seems unlikely until late winter when the ground gets frozen and presents a better opportunity for heavier equipment.
The bombing of power sources by Putin is designed to push Ukraine into submission and has forced Biden and other NATO leaders to change tack in the form and substance of aid that they should give the besieged nation.
While French President Emmanuel Macron has been stressing a diplomatic solution, Biden appears to believe that it will take more than diplomacy to tackle a leader as ruthless and resolute as Putin. Biden has mulled the possibility of investing in the development of Soviet-era ammunition and weapons to bolster Ukraine’s forces and also strengthen its air defense system. Ultimately the war will boil down to a test of NATO resolve even as some members try to wiggle out of a sustained war that will drain all involved.