Nearly ten months after Russia’s 24 February attack, President Biden and his top national security advisors are vowing to continue U.S. support to Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” Indeed, that support has been extensive and broadly endorsed by American public opinion. Since March 2022, Congress has authorized approximately $68 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including some $19 billion committed to mostly short-term military assistance (e.g., weapons and ammunition from U.S. military stocks, support equipment, and training.) In addition, Washington has worked closely with European Allies and Partners to coordinate assistance to Ukraine and impose unprecedented financial and economic sanctions on Russia. However, the Biden Administration reportedly has been reluctant to take certain steps — e.g., providing Ukrainian forces with longer-range artillery systems capable of reaching Russian territory — to reduce the risk of expanding the conflict.
Still, looking ahead, U.S. policymakers might face new challenges. Despite its recent battlefield successes, Ukraine has suffered punishing Russian attacks on vital infrastructure and other civilian targets, and further escalation by Moscow is possible. While transatlantic solidarity has been impressive so far, many European economies are more vulnerable, directly or indirectly, to the effects of sanctions on Russia — a cause of some resentment toward the United States. Meanwhile, some (mainly Republican) politicians and “influencers” have called for reducing or halting aid to Ukraine, arguing that U.S. strategic interests are not at stake in the war. And while the Biden Administration insists that it will not pressure Kyiv on when and how to negotiate with Moscow, some non-government experts are suggesting, in effect, that Washington should do so.
This episode of Transatlantic Currents will discuss the current and possible future contours of U.S. policy regarding the Russian war on Ukraine and the implications for U.S.-European relations.