Russian efforts to take Bakhmut have stalled. While it’s unclear if this is Russia’s major 2023 offensive or merely a prelude to a larger mobilization, the fighting is intense and grisly. Ukraine is slowing Russian advances while planning its own counteroffensive, likely to begin in the spring when the weather and terrain permit larger-scale action. Kyiv is expecting the arrival of German-made Leopard tanks and other advanced Western arms to aid in a breakthrough and continues to request longer range fires, such as the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and Western fighter planes. While countries like Poland have made quick work of delivering their Leopard tanks in advance of spring, the US and other countries have announced that it might take several months or even a year before their advanced weaponry reaches the battlefield.
How can the West forge a comprehensive strategy that limits delays in providing assistance? How will spring deliveries of advanced Western weapons shape the battlefield? What will the Armed Forces of Ukraine be able to accomplish this spring?
Senior Advisor, Eurasia Center
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Douglas Lute
Former US Ambassador to NATO;
Amb. Steven Pifer
Former US Ambassador to Ukraine;
William J. Perry Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation
Director of Security Programs
Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism;”
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Europe in crisis
War in Ukraine
In February 2022, Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine after a months-long military build-up, threatening the country’s sovereignty and its future. This existential moment for the country follows the 2014 Maidan revolution, a nexus for Ukraine’s Europe-focused foreign policy and reform efforts. The ensuing Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea, aggression in Ukraine’s east, and Kremlin disinformation efforts, cast a shadow over Ukraine’s independence.
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The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting stability, democratic values and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the West to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the East.