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  • Writer's pictureAnton Kuchuhidze

International Press Review dated 5-9 December 2022

The weekly international press review demonstrates the strengthening of the “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine” principle as a fundamental principle on the part of our Western partners. The American establishment also made it clear that they fully respected the decision of the Ukrainian military and political leaders on the use of American weaponry. It includes its use and determining the targets at which the lethal American weapons will be directed. All this is within the competence of Ukraine’s military and political leadership, as pointed out by the National Security Council Spokesman, Mr. Kirby. Such an approach undoubtedly strengthens Ukraine’s capabilities and testifies to our State’s tremendous increase in military and political subjectivity in times of the large-scale rashist invasion of our territory.

A positive aspect is the various news about financing the American military and technical support to Ukraine next year. The numbers are different, but the main thing is that the cost and amount of this support will only grow. The Wall Street Journal published quite powerful material. The editorial published there fully supports expanding Ukraine’s air defence capabilities. Even the article title hints at the fact that Ukraine needs Patriot systems. Its key point is that the American establishment works on determining the powerful air defence systems to transfer to Ukraine. That is, there is no question about whether to transfer them or not. The discussion is about what to transfer and how it will strengthen the Ukrainian air defence capabilities.

Another crucial aspect in terms of the mood within American society is the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation study. The fund made a public opinion survey on the American views to determine whether Americans prefer to support Ukraine further or solve this issue differently. According to 57% of respondents, the USA should continue to support Ukraine.

This week, the American magazine Time named President Zelenskyi as the person of the year, which is crucial for strengthening State’s image and military and political leadership. Boosting the reputation of the Ukrainian President in the Western media helps turn this image into political influence. This influence will only benefit Ukraine because President Zelenskyi will be able to solve numerous military and technical issues on aiding Ukraine addressed at the Ramstein meeting. The number of weapons will only increase for Ukraine’s final victory.

The United States has made clear to Ukraine its concerns about any escalation of the war with Russia, but it respects Ukrainian sovereignty, including decisions about how Kiev uses weapons supplied by Washington, the White House's national security spokesman said.

Kirby added the principle behind the war in Ukraine was one of sovereignty, and "unlike the Russians, we respect Ukrainian sovereignty."

"When we give them a weapons system, it belongs to them. Where they use it, how they use it, how much ammunition they use to use that system, those are Ukrainian decisions, and we respect that," he said.

U.S. lawmakers agreed to provide Ukraine at least $800 million in additional security assistance next year and to boost Taiwan with billions in aid over the next several years, according to an $858 billion defense policy bill unveiled on Tuesday.

The Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, authorizes the additional spending for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, an increase of $500 million over President Joe Biden's request earlier this year.

The U.S. priority is helping Kyiv drive Russian forces out of Ukrainian territory they have seized since the full-scale invasion in February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, leaving to Kyiv a future decision on whether to press the fight on to the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula and eastern Donbas region.

“For us the number one principle is nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” Mr. Blinken told Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Matt Murray at the event. “And that means that fundamentally Ukrainians are making the decisions about where they want to go.”

Ukraine has insisted from the outset of the war that it will recapture all of the territory it has lost to Russia, including parts of the Donbas region controlled by Moscow since 2014 and Crimea, annexed the same year.

Americans fear Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could lead to instability in Europe and even spur China to make a similar assault on Taiwan, but they still support the U.S. providing Kyiv weapons and financial support, according to a national defense survey.

The survey was conducted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. The 2,538 Americans reached by phone and online were polled by Beacon Research between Nov. 9 and Nov. 17, just after the midterm elections.

Overall, 57% of respondents said the U.S. must continue to support Ukraine, while 33% said America should focus on its internal problems and avoid provoking Russia. The U.S. has sent more than $19 billion in military aid to Ukraine this year, which 39% of Americans said was the right amount.

NATO countries are considering using leftover funds from a pot of money previously used to back the Afghan security forces to provide support to Ukraine in the coming weeks, according to five Western officials familiar with the matter.

The money from the Afghanistan trust fund could provide a stopgap — at least in the short term. It could also serve to ease those tensions inside the alliance at a crucial moment in the war — at a time when NATO unity is key.

NATO officials have discussed the possibility of using the Afghanistan funds for Ukraine for more than a month, including during a meeting in Brussels in October, according to one of the Western officials. The fund has been frozen and the alliance has worked to come up with a mechanism for transferring the money back to individual nations or moving it somewhere else, but it is up to each donor nation to decide how to use the money. Some NATO countries are considering using some or all of those funds for Ukraine.

The Russians are frustrated by failures on the battlefield and are lashing out by striking civilian Ukrainian power and water infrastructure. Vladimir Putin is unencumbered by international law and norms and could keep this up all winter. The human suffering—in the cold and dark—will be tremendous.

Ukrainians need more and better options to defend against these murderous attacks. The U.S. has been touting the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) operating in Ukraine. “Their performance so far has been very impressive,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last month, citing a 100% success rate intercepting Russian missiles.

President Macron is expected to press Vladimir Putin in a telephone call to negotiate an end to his invasion of Ukraine but he will make clear that Russian troops must be withdrawn and the country’s sovereignty restored, his aides said.

Macron’s aims in his first conversation with Putin since August have prompted suspicion in Ukraine and its Baltic allies after he said on Saturday that Russia must be offered guarantees over its security, taking into account its fear that “Nato comes right up to its doors”.

In our interview on the way back from Kherson, Zelensky stressed that this year’s invasion is just the latest Russian attempt over the past century to subjugate Ukraine. His intention is to make it the last, even if it takes a lot more time and sacrifice. It is far too early to gauge whether that goal can be reached, Zelensky told me. “Later we will be judged,” he says. “I have not finished this great, important action for our country. Not yet.” —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Simmone Shah.

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