'..the question whether the US administration wants Ukraine to win the war? The answer I see is “no”.'

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'I see this and ask the question whether the US administration wants Ukraine to win the war? The answer I see is “no”.'

'What we have seen repeatedly is that Russian targets in Crimea (Sevastopol, logistics, depots) are extremely vulnerable to western ranged weapons. What the Ukrainians have done with a small number of storm shadow/scalp cruise missiles stands out. And yet, here we are, knowing what Ukraine needs to win the war in Crimea, and the signs are that the Ukrainians dont have the material they need.

They have gained the initiative in the war at sea and around Crimea, the question (as it was last fall after Ukrainian successes in the land war) is whether it will be armed well enough to keep it going.

40 Days Since ATACMS—Where is the Follow up?

Its now been 40 days since the Ukrainians used ATACMS in their devastating attack on the Berdiansk air field, destroying more helicopters in one day than Russia had lost so far in the war.

I remember at the time I could not get too excited, because this very late and limited delivery of ATACMS seemed to me not to portend a major delivery of the weapons to Ukraine. In the weekend update, I even wrote what I thought the bad news would be:

Bad News ATACMS. I still cant get too excited about this because its been 20 months since the Russians launched their full-scale invasion and only a small number of simple ATACMS have arrived. Reports stretch from somewhere between 12 and 20 in the first instance. This is not enough to wage a sustained campaign—indeed its enough to warn the Russians about their potential, but then give the Russians time to make counters. Moreover, it shows that, the Russian escalation bluff remains potent—even when time and time again its shown to be a bluff. Remember when it was said Ukraine could not get ATACMS because Russia would go nuclear—well we see Putin’s own reaction to this first ATACMS attack and its the opposite.

Well, since then there might have been one more attack with ATACMS—and for the last few weeks there has been nothing confirmed.

To be frank, this is a sign that the Biden Administration never wanted to give them in the first place, and is still strictly limiting what they will give Ukraine. What have we seen—fewer than 20 seem to have been launched, and these are the shorter range ATACMS with the less powerful warheads. In the meantime, Russia has been signalled that Ukraine has them, and knowing how the Russians adjust (only once they have been hit), this has given the Russians the chance to save their forces.

I cant think of a worse way to aid Ukraine—in many ways its counterproductive. Russia will gain some benefits from arming Ukraine in this limited and peacemeal fashion. I know Ive been banging the drum about this question for a while—but when I see this and ask the question whether the US administration wants Ukraine to win the war? The answer I see is “no”.

- Prof. Phillips P. O’Brien, Weekend Update #56: 3 areas of the war, November 25, 2023


'Ukraine can win this war if armed properly..' - Prof. Phillips P. O’Brien

'..to have a very clear technical strategy .. this is crucial for Ukraine’s victory.'