Russia broke the stalemate in Ukraine: former US Secretary of Defense

Robert Gates, former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency and Secretary of Defense, said on Wednesday that the Russian army had broken the stalemate in the Ukrainian war, following Moscow's successful campaign to control the front-line city of Avdiivka.

“It's no longer a stalemate. The Russians have regained momentum,” Gates told Washington Post reporter David Ignatius in an online interview. “All I'm reading is that the Russians are on the offensive along the 600-mile front.”

He noted that Russia had suffered heavy casualties in the war, but with Ukraine now facing an artillery shortage due to weak American support, “the Russians feel that the tide has turned, and although there is much more to be done, the initiative has passed to the United States,” Gates said.

“They have more and more supplies coming in – I read that for every artillery shell that the Ukrainian forces fire, the Russians fire 10,” he added.

Russian officials announced on Monday that their forces had ended their control of the main Ukrainian city of Avdiivka after taking full control of the city's large coke plant. The costly operation represents Russia's first major victory in months, and its most significant gain since seizing nearby Bakhmut last spring.

President Biden has placed the blame for battlefield losses in Ukraine squarely on House Republicans, who have refused to support additional aid to Kiev without major immigration reform.

Gates noted that European NATO allies, “whom we often criticize,” have stepped up their support for Ukraine, but lack the ability to send weapons immediately. He estimated that production timelines would see NATO support arrive on the battlefield in 2025.

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Currently, “the only real military lifeline comes from the United States.” “And as we all know, that means pausing now.”

Aid to Ukraine remains in the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is caught between moderates who support Ukraine and far-right members who oppose it without making significant concessions from Democrats on the border.

Gates specifically criticized Congress for being too slow to approve key battlefield capabilities throughout the war, such as missile systems that allowed strikes against Russian-occupied Crimea, which he called a “no-brainer.”

“Congress will debate for a year or more whether to send Ukrainian tanks, and after a year, they will send tanks,” he said. He added that these weapons could have arrived a year and a half ago, and their delay had restricted Ukraine's capabilities.

Gates said the timing of the current aid package — Biden requested an additional $60 billion, which was part of the bipartisan aid package the Senate approved earlier this month — would be a critical factor in whether Ukraine survives a renewed Russian attack in 2017. 2024.

“One of the main values ​​of the aid package now put forward is that it will provide Ukraine with a significant air defense capability and the means to create a strong defense buffer so as not to lose more territory.” Gates said.

He added that passing the package would send a message to Russia that they “will not succeed in achieving their goals,” and is a necessary step toward a ceasefire, rebuilding Ukraine, and its eventual joining NATO.

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