As the war in Ukraine reached the 301st day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is visiting the U.S. on his first journey outside the country since the Russian invasion began almost ten months ago.
The Ukrainian leader’s visit to the U.S. comes at a critical point in the war. Ukraine has the strategic initiative and is winning on the ground. However, its military successes hinge on a continuous stream of Western military aid and intelligence. To be sure, without the grit and skill of its troops, Ukraine couldn’t have achieved its miracle. But the Western weapon systems have been key in Kyiv’s impressive defense.
To be able to continue with its counteroffensives and liberate the remainder of its territory—approximately 18 percent of the internationally recognized land, including Crimea and the Donbas—Ukraine has to have more weapon systems from the West. And that is one of the main reasons Zelensky is in the U.S.
Zelensky’s Surprise Visit
The visit of the Ukrainian leader, who only yesterday was on the frontlines in Bakhmut just a couple of miles from the Russian positions, to the U.S. will last only a few hours. Zelensky will meet with President Joe Biden at the White House before convening with national security officials and industry leaders. Finally, the Ukrainian president will conclude his visit with an address to Congress as an official guest of the Speaker of the House.
Zelensky’s visit is scheduled to coincide with another package of U.S. military aid, which will include a MIM-104 Patriot air defense battery and Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits that will turn Ukrainian unguided aircraft munitions into “smart” bombs that can strike with far more accuracy. The Patriot weapon system is aimed at protecting the Ukrainian cities from the Russian missile attacks.
At the opposite side, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with military officers on Wednesday and reiterated Moscow’s commitment to continue to pursue the war and take it to the end.
“We have no limits in terms of financing. The country and the government are providing everything that the army asks for — everything,” Putin said to thousands of Russian military officers.
Moscow is setting the conditions for a war that can last years.
The Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Meanwhile, the Russian military continues to suffer extremely heavy casualties on the ground. On average, the Russian forces are losing around 450 men killed every day. Moscow is bleeding troops left and right, but the Russian commanders don’t seem to be changing their strategic or tactical approach.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 99,740 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 282 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 267 attack and transport helicopters, 3,002 tanks, 1,972 artillery pieces, 5,979 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 412 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,608 vehicles and fuel tanks, 211 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,688 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 178 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 653 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.
December 21, 2022 at 5:10 pm
No, it won’t last years.
Russia can’t afford the blood or treasure that is being expended and by this time next year will have had its forces removed from Ukraine
December 21, 2022 at 5:57 pm
Without the debt foisted upon my toddler without his consent, for a place he must likely will never care about, Ukraine would’ve been conquered long ago. It is the the US military feeding Ukraine its intelligence and providing ammunition, HIMARS, Artillery, and money. Without it Ukraine would not be on the map. Their soldiers don’t make the difference.
My children’s debt load did. I did not consent on their behalf and nor would I have. This war is our fault and is being exploited for the benefit of US corporations and the need for the political class to protect their personal interests. Not democracy which didn’t exist in Ukraine.
The people of Ukraine are being used for fodder and their identity will be erased as their will be no Ukrainians left to rebuild and repopulate that country. Russia will take it no matter what and toothless NATO nor the nihilistic morally depraved UN do.
December 21, 2022 at 6:44 pm
Bahhahahaha…they had 10,000 troops on that border for a decade, why would they stop the fun now?
December 21, 2022 at 6:47 pm
Besides, what’s the rush? America isn’t spending much at all compared to their NATO leftist buddies who instigated this conflict – they’re all in for a serious amount of cash, right? Right?
December 21, 2022 at 7:15 pm
Just pondering why Putin would say this . Tying the US down with Ukraine like it is goes very well for Xi Jinping of China . To see the US use its stock piles up sending them to Ukraine means less help for Taiwan, simple math . China is becoming the decider in their relationship with Russia and the Ukraine War just might be the bait China has needed .
December 21, 2022 at 8:17 pm
Stavros, yet again surprised by self evident truth.
December 21, 2022 at 8:47 pm
Politicians are liars, but in the “fog of war” the only thing that is true, is the “front lines”, and according to them Russia is losing to a country they out gun 3 to 1.
Shameful, they “were” considered the 2nd strongest military after the US, not any more.
December 21, 2022 at 10:26 pm
This is American tax dollars supporting this war. Money taken from US citizens to send to Ukraine. We need to be looking to the Pacific and sending resources there. That is where the big hit for America will be. Xi is thanking Putin for taking our supposed leader’s eye off of the ball.
December 21, 2022 at 10:33 pm
My tax dollars going to thwart neo-Soviet imperialism is about the only ones I can wholeheartedly support since Brandon usurped the presidency. I would much rather spend 6% of the current defense budget to contain Putler & keep my brothers-in-arms out of combat, than waste 2 Trillion on Covid stimulus welfare checks and loans, upwards of a Trillion in student debt forgiveness/vote bribery, etc. The list of D.C. waste and corruption goes on and on.
Let’s just hope that the seditious Neville Chamberlain cucks lose in their bid to enable Putler to broaden the war into Poland & the Baltics. That indeed would also enable the ChiComs in their bid to invade Taiwan…