Ukraine ‘can and will prevail’ in war with Russia, White House says

The White House maintains that “Ukraine can and will prevail” against Russia, given the necessary boost in military equipment from the United States and other Western powers.

“As we look ahead to the rest of 2024, our view is that Ukraine retains key advantages in this fight,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Wednesday. “Ukraine can and will prevail. And that will be thanks to the bravery of its people but also the support of its friends.”

That bullish assessment contrasts sharply with the recent dismay about Ukrainian prospects in the absence of additional U.S. military assistance, to say nothing of Sullivan’s reputation as being “afraid of winning” in earlier phases of the war.

Yet the senior White House hand touted the signing of a long-awaited bill to authorize additional aid to Ukraine as a testament to a degree of bipartisan support that he predicted will wear down Russia’s warfighting machine over time. 

“There are fundamental, structural drivers that favor Ukraine,” Sullivan said. “And, part of that is about what the U.S. industrial base can produce. Part of it is about what the Europeans have stepped up to do in really significant ways over the course of the last six months. … Part of that is about the Ukrainian capacity itself.”

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan calls on a reporter during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, April 24, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A bipartisan group of 79 senators voted Tuesday night in favor of the supplemental defense spending bill, which contained about $60 billion related to support for Ukraine. Of that figure, $23.2 billion will fund the manufacture of new U.S. weapons and ammunition for “replenishment” of what President Joe Biden has sent to Ukraine in previous aid shipments, while another $13.8 billion will be allocated for Ukraine to purchase weapons from U.S. companies through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

“Regardless of the funding mechanism, whether replenishment … or for USAI, this money flows into the United States’s [defense industrial base],” analysts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote recently while arguing that the legislation would help the U.S. “scale up and sustain production across a range of capabilities” needed to counter Russia and China.

Sullivan cited that expanding production capacity to explain why Biden decided to transfer long-range missiles to Ukraine after years of resisting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request. 

“We now have a significant number of ATACMs coming off the production line and entering U.S. stocks,” he said. “And as a result, we can move forward with providing ATACMs while also sustaining the readiness of the U.S. armed forces.”

Russia’s top diplomat in Washington gave a back-handed acknowledgment of the link between the aid for Ukraine and the U.S. defense industrial base but insisted that it would not change the outcome of the war.

“For the benefit of its greedy and insatiable military-industrial complex, the U.S. administration sacrifices lives of common people,” Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said Wednesday, per a TASS translation. “The American aid won’t save Zelensky. New weapons will be destroyed, and the special military operation goals will be achieved.”


Sullivan, for his part, maintained that “the calculus of the Russians or the critics of Ukraine who say ‘time is on Russia’s side’” is flawed. 

“They’ve got it wrong,” he said. “We believe that the structural dynamics of this conflict favor the country defending its own territory. We believe that occupation and invasion saps the will and vitality of a nation over time. And, as long as Ukraine gets the tools that it needs to defend itself, it can do so effectively, and it can win.”

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