The United States and its Group of Seven allies now expect the war in Ukraine to drag on for years and they are incorporating that possibility into their military and financial planning.
A senior official from a European G-7 country said the war could last up to six or seven more years and that allies need plan financially to continue supporting kyiv during such a long conflict.
That’s much more than many officials expected at the beginning of the year, but the slow progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in recent months has tempered expectations.
The group’s leaders, including President Joe Biden, took this message to the UN General Assembly held this week in New York, seizing the occasion and citing its founding principles as a reason for other nations. support Ukraine.
G-7 officials discussed the darker picture at a dinner on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday night and agreed that the conflict is likely to last in the medium to long term, a senior Department of Defense official US State told reporters on Tuesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that are not public.
Biden reiterated his commitment to Ukraine in his Tuesday speech to the General Assembly. “We must confront this blatant aggression today and deter other potential aggressors tomorrow.“, said. The United States and its allies and partners “will continue to support the brave people of Ukraine in defending their sovereignty, territorial integrity, and freedom.”
The United States and the European Union have pumped tens of billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid into Ukraine to help it repel the Russian invasion, which is now in its second year, while avoiding direct action that would widen the scope of the conflict.
The allies provided weapons and training for the Ukrainian counteroffensive, but kyiv forces have had difficulty breaking through the elaborate Russian defensive lines. Time is of the essence with the prospect of cold and rainy weather in autumn that would complicate military operations.
“The Ukrainians have penetrated several layers of defense. They are not yet 100% penetrated, but they have penetrated several of the layers,” stated the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, General Mark Milley. Milley spoke alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin following the conclusion of a Ukrainian Defense Contact Group meeting in Germany.
Long-term assistance to Ukraine will include energy help and of infrastructureand is expected to bolster the country’s economy to deter Russia in the future, the US official said.
During the summer, the European Union announced an additional $53 billion aid package for Ukraine to be delivered through 2027, doubling the EU’s total commitments. GermanyUkraine’s second-largest supporter in the fight after the United States, has pledged to contribute $5 billion annually during that period.
In state JoinedBiden seeks 24 billion of support dollars to Ukraine for the fiscal year that begins October 1, but opposition to further spending faces growing opposition in Congress.
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky is one of the leaders in New York this week, where he will try to rally nations for the war effort. On Wednesday he will meet with Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a prominent leader of the so-called Global South who has so far refused to take sides.
The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, on Tuesday called the Russian invasion a violation of the United Nations Charter and international law. “Ignoring global treaties and conventions makes us all less safe,” he said. “And the poisoning of global diplomacy obstructs progress across the board.”
(With information from Bloomberg)