On Ukraine, is Biden signaling that ‘as long as it takes’ may have an end-date? By Ted Snider

Ukraine is the friend you help out financially . . . then keep helping out far beyond what you intended. From Ted Snider at responsiblestatecraft.org:

There seems to be a lot of talk today about scaling back territorial expectations, and moves toward the negotiating table.

In his State of the Union Addresson February 7, President Biden once again promised Ukraine that “America . . . will stand with you as long as it takes.”

But, privately, one year into the war, the Biden administration appears to be telling Ukraine that “as long as it takes” may be running out.

One week after the State of the Union, The Washington Post quoted a senior administration official as saying that “we will continue to try to impress upon them that we can’t do anything and everything forever.”

The senior official said “continue” because in January CIA Director William Burns met secretly with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and told him, according to a Washington Post account,  that “at some point assistance would be harder to come by.” People familiar with the meeting said Zelensky walked away from the meeting with the impression that he could rely on U.S. assistance through the summer but that he was “less certain about the prospects of Congress passing another multibillion-dollar supplemental assistance package as it did last spring.”

That timeline was reinforced by the Post’s reporting that “Biden and his top aides . . . warn that the political path will get tougher once Ukraine has exhausted the current congressional package, which could happen as early as this summer.”

The senior official redefined the Biden promise, saying “As long as it takes’ pertains to the amount of conflict. It doesn’t pertain to the amount of assistance.” 

The timeline suggests the urgency of the moment. The Post reports that “The critical nature of the next few months has already been conveyed to Kyiv in blunt terms by top Biden officials — including Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer, deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman and Undersecretary of Defense Colin Kahl, all of whom visited Ukraine last month.” The “coming months” will be critical for “Ukraine to retake as much territory as possible . . . before sitting down with Putin at the negotiating table.”

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